Thursday, October 27, 2005

What I'm Listening To

"American Jukebox Fables," Ellis Paul. Our wonderful local NPR station brought him to play free in the riverside park this summer, and we bought the CD.

I keep hitting 3 on the little stereo remote over and over so I can obsessively listen to this catchy chorus:

"If you want to run/I'll pack my suitcase/
And if you want to stay,/I'll make a front door key/
and if you need space/To fly free,/
take all the sky you need"

I liked it better before I checked the liner notes and understood that a woman was speaking, because although it is very nice to give your partner of any sex some space, I'm more impressed when a man does it for a woman. Others have written this song before, notably Todd Rundgren, perhaps the underrated musical genius of the 20th century; but good themes bear repetition.

On the same album I'm liking the very catchy and upbeat (unusual for me to obsessively repeat an upbeat song)* "Alice's Champagne Palace," despite this incredibly cheesy rhyme:

"Alice will pour you a cold one,/You go ahead and ask her,/if you're running away to Alaska."

It actually makes you start to feel that it would be fun to run away to Alaska and work in a cannery...unless, of course, you had three children a marriage and a whole life on the East Coast. Yeah. Also, and this seems so unfair, even when I was footloose and fancy free, for a woman (and especially a woman from a family like mine) something like running away to Alaska never seems to be on the list of options. Anyway, to redeem itself the song also has this great line:

"I guess sometimes you gotta go/to the end of the earth/just to turn yourself around."

And sometimes you just have to get the youngest kid off to school. :)

*Edited to say: actually not so unusual, thinking about it. About two years ago I was obsessively repeating "I Don't Know What It Is" and "14th Street" from Rufus Wainwright's "Want One." They are still awesome. Too bad "Want Two" pretty much stank. I really prefer my music's sexual content to be sufficiently veiled that I can play it in front of my children. Is that wrong?

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