Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Independence Day

Something's been happening over the last six months, though it can be argued that it's been happening for a few years. Where I once had a draft of ideas I was excited about sharing, not knowing what I should post first from a long list of possibilities, I seem to have lost the inspiration. Not the desire, just the inspiration.

This is absolutely not another one of those, "I've had it, I'm taking a break" posts.

This is about something else.

Why the hell am I more excited by discovering that Pink Floyd's "Animals" is a much better record than I ever remembered and less excited by the new Tom Petty produced record by The Shelters. And what might make this more interesting is that, I really like The Shelters record and yet, I just don't have the urge to go back in for a third or fourth spin. So I find myself sitting at the keyboard, deciding to gush over "Animals," but stopping myself when I think, "Really? Do readers really give a crap about this record 40 years later?" Then I start writing about The Shelters, but stop after I type, "This is like a really good Tom Petty record," thinking, "Yeah, that's all it is. Next!"

So, I write nothing and find, I don't mind.

I cannot do homework. I don't want a list of new bands to search on Spotify, so I can sample a minute or so of each song from 10 different records, trying to find "the one." It's rare, these days, that I would, even if I did. Know what I'm saying?

I read a lot. Mojo and Uncut used to be bibles, but now if 150 records are reviewed, 148 of them get 4 and 5 stars, and only 3 or 4 of them deserve it and then those 3 or 4 end up being The Shelters, which is great, kind of.

I think what I am writing now, I've written before, so I am trying to keep this from being another rant on the state of music or the "good old days," because it is really not what I am feeling. Honest.

What I am feeling is not wanting to feel like I need to do something. I don't like feeling I should like Courtney Barnett or Leon Bridges anymore than feeling like I need to see fireworks on Independence Day. It's more about wanting to feel comfortable and content writing about how great The Lovin' Spoonful are, again, or simply writing nothing. Or doing nothing. Nothing is okay.

(Is anyone still reading?)

That being said, I woke up blank again. Well, not completely. I listened to The Beatles "Help" yesterday and decided it is the only Beatles record I prefer in stereo over mono. I also listened to Iggy Pop's "The Idiot" and thought I'd write something about how David Bowie should have produced more artists during his career. I've been listening to a lot of classic jazz records, like "Saxophone Colossus" from Sonny Rollins and Coltrane's "Giant Steps" and thought about all those trips to New Orleans and seeing some of best live jazz out there. But all I could say about all of that, you just read.

Maybe I need a real smack. Or a trip to Lourdes.

Whatever it is, I just wanted to say hello. I want to write and I want to share music. I want to have great discussions. But I'm feeling less willing to work at it. It's a lot more fun not pretending.


Terri H. said...

The beauty is: you take a break, the music will still be there (and tired cliches like that will be more tolerable when you come back) xoxT

Charlie Messing said...

Right on, Sal. To be sincere, you can't publish regularly, you publish when something "big" happens. You're okay, I agree, and as Dylan said on the radio, "There's a lot more old music than there is new music"! Be well.

Anonymous said...

"Animals" - I've always thought of that as the line in the sand for Floyd fans. For me, each song has an interesting kernel that gets drawn out too long, and the metaphors get a little heavy-handed.

write whenever, whatever you want. the reason we come here is that we're interested in your perspective on both the old and the new stuff.

buzzbabyjesus said...

Inspiration ebbs and flows. Your post fit my mood today.
I think I like "Animals" a little more than "The Wall", which bores me to death, and "The Final Elbow" or whatever it's called which actually made me mad.
Maybe I'll give it another try. Some other time.
I force myself to download something "interesting" nearly every day, but it's been a couple weeks since I actually listened to one of them.

I'm working on a pretty cool weekend mix, though.

mauijim said...

Sal talk about anything, you always have an intersting take on said subject.
Animals holds a special place with my wife and I cause we listened to it via cassette
in the car the summer of 77 going between Chicago and school downstate. Still do when we make roadtrips to visit our children. Now by cd or Ipod. Dont think its streaming yet.

Anonymous said...

Hello all…no, please remain seated,
Interesting thoughts. Both on music and on how we fans of music sometimes experience it. For awhile now, trying to follow popular music has been like trying to drink from a fire hose. There’s just a ridiculous amount of it out there…too much to be able to follow. Nowadays, it’s more satisfying to me to go deep rather than go broad. So, if writing about Animals rather than the Shelters pleases your brain…have at it.

In that spirit…some random meditations about my favorite art form:

Do you ever come across a re-working of a song you’ve heard a thousand times that just….delights you? Try this from Tommy James & the Shondells. He has re-vamped I Think We’re Alone Now into the greatest acoustic song Roy Orbison never recorded:


Here‘s an old favorite of mine… a You Tube re-working of a Tom Waits song (Innocent When You Dream) by a couple of amateurs. Watch until the very end….I want to adopt these two.


And on a different musical path…the Astor Piazzola composition, Oblivion, gets a classical guitar duo treatment. Sublime….


BTW…I love Courtney Barnett.

Noam Sane said...

I music-blogged a couple of times, but never for too long. It's a lot of work to do it well. I'll keep checking in. You know that sooner or later something is going to pop into your mind and you're just going to have to write about it.

If nothing else, Animals is a remarkable sounding record, dark and angry and snarling like the beasts it features.

Not long ago the little family-ish business I work for was taken over by a monster corporation. At my first "performance review" I was tag-teamed by my boss, his boss, and some anonymous HR prick on speakerphone. I found out I wasn't a "team player" (translation: ass kisser) and was given 30 days to shape up or scram. The phrases "broken by trained personnel" and "fitted with collar and chain" came to mind immediately. It was traumatic, but having that record in my brain (I no longer have to listen to it, it's all up there) was kind of reassuring, in that it reminded me that this has gone on forever, and yup, they WERE a bunch of buttlicking corporate assholes who would eventually wind up buried in the shit they shovel.

Gilmour's guitar on that record, though...jeezus.

Anonymous said...

Sal, you write about what you feel. That's what keeps me and I'm sure countless others reading what you write. Randy

Anonymous said...

Rich D, thanks for this...

"Here‘s an old favorite of mine… a You Tube re-working of a Tom Waits song (Innocent When You Dream) by a couple of amateurs. Watch until the very end…. I want to adopt these two."

It certainly put a smile on my face.

Sal! Burning Wood is my first internet stop every day. Thank you for everything, and everything to come.

Heather Taylor said...

Keep being you, Sal. And I love all the writers. Like Rich said, this is my first stop every morning. Keep doing this.
That said, pass on Leon Bridges and listen to Charles Bradley. He's the real deal. And Animals is criminally neglected from Floyd's catalogue.
And say goodbye, it's Independence Day. Yup. And Sandy, down on the boardwalk, too.

big bad wolf said...


I mean this is the best way---you're getting older. Me too, and the two things I have noticed the most about the last three or four years is that I have less need to say and am more inclined to dig deeper and evaluate what i already know or think i know. i'm not closed off; i am less an active participant or disputant, and more a ruminator and passer-through. it's kind of nice. write when you will. it's always good to read what you say.

Anonymous said...

#realtalk....you and them and why this is not a blog but the blog...I still check Boogie Woogie Flu once a week and I'll still check here everyday the way I do like some of you too...real places, whatever "real" means whatever "places" means.

this space/place often brings to mind my two favorite (st.) Patti lines: I don't fuck much with the past but I fuck plenty with the future (uttered, natch, as she was reworking Gloria into whatever the hell she reworked it into) and proceed with abandon. And sure you're getting older (lucky us, we all are) but you know the middle is where things pick up and the river is really running....

sorry for the rambling, thanks for your thoughts and other folk's here.

la lucha sigue

dogbreath said...

I've always suspected that writing a blog must be hard work sometimes & it never ceases to amaze how you maintain such a high standard of writing - even if I don't always agree with (or, sometimes, understand) what you've written. A certain amount of recycling of topics is inevitable, but even recycling can be more than pertinent when, after time passes, it's viewed from a different perspective by both the writer and the reader. If I had a pound (or, heaven help us, a euro) for every time you've caused me to revisit or reappraise an album or artist, then I wouldn't be wasting my time writing to the likes of you! As for "Animals", loved it from day one, from the sleeve to the ambient animal noises (I live just a short jog away from several fields full of sheep, so maybe that's why). Anyhow, cheers to the best blog out there....

Michael Giltz said...

It's like Rolling Stone magazine and Mojo et al. They used to always be covering the latest and the newest. Then eventually they are doing the 27th cover on the Beatles and Bruce and Led Zep. I'm sure it's a combo of getting older and maintaining standards. A lot of acts we might have get worked up about int eh 1960s didn't stand the test of time. Lots of composers, some worthy, but eventually you focus o Beethoven and Bach and Brahms and Mozart et al. I'm sure everyone who visits here would MUCH rather read you discussing Pink Floyd's Animals than ginning up some fake enthusiasm for a new band.

vckreuiter said...

As an admitted music dweeb/geezer, I regularly search for something new (or, in some instances, "old") rather than listen to the Same Old Thing.

So -- I understand the pull of the old and the lure of the new. [PBS series "Frontline" should do an investigation into why this (apparent) dilemma is as natural as sunrise/sunset.]

I enjoy your writing and understand the ramifications of "mood" on musical taste. In my case, I'm no longer surprised when yesterday's bland tunes somehow engage and charm me today.

Perhaps that's what keeps me returning to music as a source of genuine pleasure