Monday, June 14, 2010
Sandinista: The Little Album That Couldn't
It's that time again. Time to visit my old friend, "Sandinista." We haven't gotten along for years and I'm not sure why I think we'll get along now.
What do you do when your favorite artists haven't amassed enough of a catalogue to keep you satisfied in their absence? I can only listen to "The Clash" and "London Calling" so many times. "Give 'Em Enough Rope" is solid, but too weak to build a relationship on. "Combat Rock" is nice, but we're more acquaintances than friends. What do you do when you need more? This happens occasionally with my favorite artists. Sometimes, there just ain't no more.
I usually go back to the album that didn't do it for me first time around. It often sounds fresh, like a new release, since I never gave it much thought on the first pass. Or in the case of The Clash's "Sandinista," the 21st pass.
I've tried time and time again to listen to certain records by favorite artists that left me cold the first time around, just to see if I was missing something. It's rare when I don't come up feeling the same way. I still haven't given up on Joe Jackson's "Blaze Of Glory" and David Bowie's "Young Americans," though all these years later, I still don't like them. I did see the light, thanks to the persistence of some of you, and now really enjoy McCartney's "Chaos & Creation In the Backyard," a record I absolutely hated on first listen. That was worth my time. Thank you. The patience paid off.
"Sandinista" seems to be the record I've given the most chances. It has so much to offer...right?
The way we watch "The Godfather" or "It's A Wonderful Life" or some other epic on Christmas Day, I seem to have that one day each year when I pull out this 3 LP monster of mostly still unfamiliar tunes, just hoping that this time around will be the pass to kick my ass. And every year, about 15-20 minutes in, I find myself drifting. I say "unfamiliar," because it seems that no matter how many times I try, I can still only remember the five or six "hits."
The record is dense, and seems to slug along. Like a lesser John Cassavetes movie, "Sandinista" deserves your time and respect because of those involved, but it really needed someone to say, "Ok, cut, DAMNIT, CUT!"
I'm interested in hearing your thoughts on this record. If you'd like to defend it, tell me why, so I can finally enjoy it, too.
I'd also love to hear your choices of records that you wish you liked more because you think you're supposed to. Dylan's "Time Out Of Mind" anyone?