here are three songs, each inspired by three different moments from the past week. you get three b/c all i've got is fragments : nothing will reach resolution. or, rather, they all reach the same resolution and, by God, it's a path that even i'm tired of treading by now.
talking heads - "and she was" (from the little creatures lp, available for purchase here.)
i went into new york the other day for the first time in months. on the path train ride over, "and she was" came on, and it was still on when i ascended out of the benighted underground (subway station; not new jersey). i played it over & over and new york was wonderful and it never seemed less like a place i'd spend the rest of my life and i was content w/ that.
b/c who needs new york when such wonders as the girl in "and she was" can emerge from the murky suburbs? she seems to grow & grow, w/o the knowledge that such an ignoble & arid background shouldn't produce someone of her stature, lit & fig--other senses too, probably. lucky the boy who spots her early on and never manages to lose sight of her as she grows & grows.
the synesthete in me loves this song; it was a perfect song for a perfect moment. it's brilliant greens & yellows, always moving. (the picture, for those wondering, isn't yer sharp, plasma, hd image; it's more like a cellphone cam w/ low resolution--but it's more about the object itself than the fidelity of the capture.) it's not unlike the cover to little creatures but it burns as hot as the sun on a cloudless day. stop me if you heard this before, but it's really prelapsarian & maidenly in its newness, like the grass of eden, the perfect bed for the love shared by adam & eve, a "perpetual fountain of domestic sweets."
kirsty maccoll - "days" (from the best of kirsty maccoll lp, import available for purchase here.)
bittersweet, this. let me say these two things first : 1) no, there is no domestically available kirsty maccoll compilation. 2) yes, the "album description" on that page misspells her name.
it's hard to believe that it's been over five years since kirsty maccoll died. days pass so quickly--and then they don't. what are the days for? larkin says : "days are where we live." days are what were given to kirsty by her beau--which reminds me that "and she was," too, is in the past tense. where did kirsty's fellow go? what happened to the girl in the heads song?
and where is kirsty now? a question for doctors & priests says larkin. not remembered well, sadly, if those first two points i made are any clue. she seems to many to be just the girl who sang on those records by the smiths and the pogues. how could such a voice not only be forgotten but silenced? the word "robust" comes to mind. she's a woman who could tell shane mcgowan what's what; she seemed like a woman who could stare down death and say, "keep on moving." (despite similarities in appearance, shane and death are not the same person. and no ever has to wonder what death is up to.)
one thinks of his own misfortunes, for all the days for which he's thankful, but listening to this song again reminds one, i.e. me, to be happy that he has days still to be both given and received.
neil young - "pardon my heart" (from the zuma lp, available for purchase here.)
the reason i could be so sanguine the other day talking about people returning is that a friend, who i hadn't talked to for two years and most recently for three months, did return to say hello. not the person i hoped for--i'm sorry, dear--not the person lurking about the margins, giving me pause. but a person whose friendship i value deeply, whom i can talk to about a lot of things, especially music. she loves neil young and so i meant to post this for her.
this was the song i was speaking of during the rainy spell, which continues on unabated. it's backporch sunset soft, a wonderful song from just about the only album neil did in the 70's that has yet to be "rediscovered." i think sufjan stevens covers it--maybe it's devendra banhart, but i hope not. i don't think he's capable of putting this across; but then i don't think he's capable of much apart from matching his bindi w/ his anklet.
really, i know the title sounds like the putative b-side to kirk van houten's "can i borrow a feeling?" and in others hands the result might be a disaster. but neil keeps a loose grip on the reins, overcome at times by the accusations of the backing vocalists. near song's end, he's earned the right to sing, "pardon my heart if I showed that I cared" b/c he also sings of a broken relationship, in which "one isn't giving and one pretends to receive." you trust that someone who keeps that close of a watch on the dysfunction of the human heart knows the value of emotional directness and is far beyond concern over sounding trite. and, really, what's more trite than "i love you"? and yet what are the words one, i.e. all of us, most longs to hear?