Friday, November 29, 2013

Open to persuasion

I started thinking the other day about songs that have grabbed me immediately, either because of something about the music, or something about the lyrics.  And I thought of Joan Armatrading's "Love and Affection" (which you can see and hear here, find the lyrics here, and buy the album here).  It begins:

I am not in love
But I'm open to persuasion...

What a beautiful opening and a beautiful sentiment.  I don't think, really, there's any need to say anything more.


Friday, November 22, 2013

After posting about Jackson Browne's "Running on Empty"

I thought immediately of Tim Hardin's great song, "Reason to Believe," because of the echo in "Running on Empty" of the lyrics. This is not a song about a happy or even hopeful relationship:
If I listened long enough to you
I'd find a way to believe that it's all true
Knowing that you lied straight faced while I cried
Still I look to find a reason to believe

But I think we've all been there at one time of another.  I think I first heard in on the radio in late 1965 or early 1966, and I bought the album (Tim Hardin 1) in the summer of 1966.  One of the (unsurprising) reasons that the song has remained in my memory is that someone had more-or-less done that to me.  I learned something from it, maybe not the right lesson, and one I eventually un-learned.  I told myself I'd never care that much about anyone ever again (easy to say when you're 18), but (of course, and I am awfully glad) I did, and more than once.

Someone like you makes it hard to live
Without somebody else
Someone like you makes it easy to give
Never thinking of myself

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

For Neil Young on his birthday

Neil Young turns 68 today, so it seems appropriate to remember him, and one song in particular, "After the Gold Rush":

I was lyin' in a burned out basement
With the full moon in my eye
I was hopin' for a replacement
When the sun burst through the sky
There was a band playin' in my head
And I felt like getting high
Thinkin' about what a friend had said, I was hopin' it was a lie
Thinkin' about what a friend had said, I was hopin' it was a lie.

Happy Birthday, Neil.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Time for another song

This one is, in many ways, very personal, beginning with some of the lyrics:

In sixty-five I was seventeen and running up 101...
I don't know where I'm running now, I'm just running on...

In sixty-nine I was twenty-one and I called the road my own...
I don't know when that road turned into the road I'm on

 Well, in 1965, I was 17...and in 1969, I was 21, in Indiana, not California, but I also didn't know.

Looking out at the road rushing under my wheels,
I don't know how to tell you all just how crazy it is this feels.
I look around for the friends that I used to turn to to pull me through
Looking into their eyes I see they're running too

And there have been times like that as well, when all I could see in my friends' eyes is that they were as lost as I.

Gotta do what you can just to keep your love alive ;
Trying not to confuse it with what you do to survive

Trying to keep my life--the people I care about, loved--separate from the day-to-day has often been a struggle (as, I think, it is for all of us). 

Everyone I know, everywhere I go,
People need some reason to believe...
I don't know about anyone but me

And belief is something that I have trouble with (I once wrote a haiku about belief:
Here's what I believe:
Belief is a luxury
I cannot afford.)
But it would be nice, once in a while, to be able to believe.

"Running on Empty," from the album of the same name, by Jackson Browne.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

This one's performed by Judy Collins

It's hard for me to get my mind around the fact that this album by Judy Collins, Who Knows Where the Time Goes,  was released in 1968.  This is another incredible set of music, beginning with "Hello, Hooray," with two Leonard Cohen songs ("The Story of Isaac" and "Bird on a Wire"), and much more.  But it's the title track (performed live at the link), written by Sandy Denny, a haunting ballad mostly about loss ("...Sad, deserted shore, your fickle friends are leaving...") that stays with me.  Collins sings it beautifully (this is right up there with my favorite things she's done, although her performance of "Send in the Clowns" always gives me chills).  (Lyrics here.)  And it's not entirely about loss, it's about strength, and love, and hope as well...