Sunday, May 24, 2009

5 Albums on a Sunday

I had stopped listening to music. Can't say why, but my life lacked a soundtrack for a few years. I remember when the music returned. It's crazy really. I was at a church camp-out and a teen brought me their discman and let me listen to what she was listening to. It was the Wallflowers, One Head Light. Not the greatest song ever, but I liked it plenty. I was intrigued and then found out this was Jakob Dylan's, Bob's son. Music was back. So, in addition to Bringing Down the Horse, by the Wallflowers, here are some other benchmark albums along the way.

Dulcinea--Toad the Wet Sprocket. Let me remind you, these are not my favorite cd's, but turning point cd's. My brother bought this for me for Xmas one year.They'd been around awhile and I had no idea who they were. How could something like that happen? It made me hungry for new music. I like Todd Phillips, their lead singer, a lot. And I loved this cd. So, I'm always surfing now for the one I've overlooked or is just emerging. Carbon Leaf, Rocco Delucca, Gomez, Nick Cave, The Shins. I'm willing to try new stuff, expand my horizons. Music is adventure again. I wasn't going to wait anymore for what was popular or out there. I was going to find stuff.

Sarah McLachlan--Surfacing. I went through a female singer/songwriter phase. Sarah, Sheryl Crow, Shawn Colvin, Aimee Mann, Liz Phair, Lucinda Williams, and later Brandi Carlile. Surfacing is just a beautiful cd. I found Sarah pre ipod days and I had a little boombox in my study with three a three cd shuffler. Sarah was always one of those in those days. Great lyrics and a stuning voice.

Jet--Get Born. But after the sirens, I needed some guitars. And I found Jet. Throwback. Rock and roll. Male hormones. I wanted to be in a garage band again. This is cleaning the house music or when I'm alone and crank it music. One of the most amazing experiences of my life was the first time I skied with my ipod to Jet. The snow was perfect and the adrenaline rush was amazing. I know that at nearly 50, I probably would feel out of place at a Jet concert, but who cares.

U2--All That You Can't Leave Behind. I liked U2 and was somewhat familiar with their story line. Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For is one of my favorite songs ever. But this cd was magic for me. I like every song, and knew I loved the cd on the first listen, not a common occurence for me. I began teaching a college course on Christianity in Culture and I made my students watch the Elevation tour dvd at my house, lyrics sheet in hands. There are people who know a lot more about U2 than I do, but I became known around campus as a U2 guru of sorts and had lots of opportunities to make presentations featuring U2. One of the highlights of my life was meeting The Edge outside the Starbucks in Malibu.

Bob Dylan--Time Out of Mind. Everyone feels like they ought to be a Dylan fan. But I had just missed it. I liked Dylan songs more than I liked actually listening to Dylan. But I had been buying some music I had missed and felt like I would love, notably all things Neil Young. So, in that spirit I bought Time Out of Mind. It was amazing. Love Sick, Till I Fell in Love With You, Cold Irons Bound, Make You Feel My Love. I loved the guitars, Dylan's gawd-awful rasping vocals, the lyrics. Loved it all, couldn't stop listening. And I've been a little obsessed since. There's this great line in a West Wing episode from an intern of Josh Lyman (sorry, if you don't know West Wing) who wonders what it is about guys Josh's age and their devotion to Bob Dylan. I have no idea. But there's a playful, ironic, gritty, despairing hopefulness that just seems to capture midlife I guess. There's still love, but there aren't any illusions left. I've been playing catch up ever since. And one of the great nights of my life was seeing Dylan in Dallas last February.

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