Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Presidential and Musical Love Quandries

Richard Cohen has a good op-ed piece in the Wash Post this morning about Bill Clinton, which is neat because he's been on my mind lately. I watched part of his interview with Brian Williams the other night on MSNBC and it was almost jarring to see someone so seamlessly intelligent hold forth with such eloquence and mastery of complex issues, thoughts, events and realities. GO BILL! But with Bill there is always a quandary, something we diehard liberal psychotics repress because we don't want to face it, but GOD he's a fucking phony sometimes. Here's where he lost me, specifically: when he said that he and Hillary had never discussed her plans to run for the White House in 2008. That, ladies and germs, is impossible. Go back in time to Bobby Kennedy, who also ran for the senate in New York for one single, solitary reason: to one day run for president. It is practically Greek in its preordainment. Sing muse. So there ya go. But no matter what, to look at that man, in all his brilliance, whether his tenure has been burnished into a snack-sized digestible legacy or not, is to behold a truly beautiful mind. Nice hands too.

Sean Daly, the Wash Post music critic, has a grudging "good" review of Coldplay's new album "X & Y" today. Oh goodness, Coldplay has so many things to set the pretentiorati agog. There is a certain strata of man-cool who will never, ever, admit that they are a great band. But they are. Sean Daly has a friend who compares them to the Moody Blues. Wrong. My friend says they are not Echo and the Bunnymen for this age. That's OK. I don't want Echo and the Bunnymen back. That was then, this is now. Besides, I liked the Cure better then, still do. But let's not get locked into a music coolness pissing contest. People bandy about band names like they are coolness talismen--a coded way of communicating how "in" we are and what level of cool hip inner pretentious swagger we possess. Let's make it interesting. Let's talk about the deep dark secret music we would never, ever want anyone to know we like. For me, my two biggest embarrassments are George Michael and--brace yourself, no I'm serious--Lionel Richie. TAKE A DEEP BREATH. Of those two absolutely ruinous admissions, I like George Michael more--the music only, not the butt. Lionel Richie is one of the most heinously vile, unattractive, wretched, smarmy......well, you know what he is. But I am here to say, in the privacy of my car when a Slimy Lionel song comes on, I don't change the station.

On to music I readily admit liking. Someone once said to me, "I've never really liked the Rolling Stones." I don't know what that means, like I literally can't process something like that. Because if you don't like the Rolling Stones, you don't like sex. Or you don't understand sex. Or something. Right now I am worshipping at the altar of Jeff Buckley. He is singing Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah." Jeff Buckley did something profound to me. He changed my DNA. Because the first time I heard him singing this song, I was never the same again. I went on a daylong Google odyssey, beginning with his breathtaking picture. I fell in love with him instantly, then found out he was dead and went into a freak rapture, then read interviews with his mother, who kept a snot filled Kleenex of his. And you know what? I was jealous she had that damn Kleenex because that is how weird Jeff Buckley can make you, and his whole story--of drowning, being carried off like a gorgeous myth, along the muddy banks of the mighty Mississippi. Carried away in some weird delta undertow. His song, "Dream Brother" sounds like the Cocteau Twins (another fave). And guess what? The Cocteau Twins loved him. Before they ever met him they had coincedentally covered one of his father's songs. His father was another bright, prematurely extinguished, light, Tim Buckley. The Cocteau Twins covered his "Song to the Siren" for This Mortal Coil's "It'll End in Tears" album. Odd that Jeff Buckley was carried off in the water to his end like a god drifting helplessly toward an irresistible musical summons, like the words to his father's lovely song, "On the floating, shapeless oceans/I did all my best to smile/til your singing eyes and fingers/drew me loving into your eyes/And you sang 'Sail to me, sail to me; Let me enfold you'."


Cynicism is another word for reality

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