Sunday, November 24, 2013


Lately I've been listening to a lot of Belle and Sebastian and Morrissey. It's been an exercise in self-consciousness of sorts. I remember in college I posed with a copy of Bob Dylan's "Blood in the Tracks" for a photo, my roommate told me I was self-deluded. He was right in a way. The stories Dylan spins on the album couldn't be further from my own privileged, sheltered life. No, what really hits closer to home are B&S and, perhaps to a lesser degree, Morrissey.

Listening to Morrissey led me to seeking out a Timi Yuro album. There's a fantastic duet of Morrissey and Siouxsie Sioux singing "Interlude", which was originally sung by Yuro in the 60s. I found a copy of the Timi Yuro album yesterday ($1.95 what a bargain!). It's got to be one of the spookiest foreboding love songs ever recorded. No wonder Morrissey and Siouxsie chose to cover it.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Why I Hold on to Records

A few years ago I picked up Vic Chesnutt's North Star Deserter after listening to an interview with Chesnutt on Fresh Air. I listened to it once and shelved it. I just didn't get it. Last night I pulled it off the shelf and listened to it again a second time. My reaction was completely different this time around. I found the album deeply moving, powerful, and darkly humorous.

The history of music is littered with tragic stories of misfits, lost souls, and ill-fated characters. Even in this context, Chestnutt's life is particularly tragic. After a car accident left him paralyzed as a teenager, he tried to make the best of it as creative artist. He turned to poetry and music, but in the end he gave into the sad fate of life by taking his life. His struggles are plainly expressed in his songs. Sometimes you get it. Sometimes you don't.

Take this song for example. At times it strikes me as simply bad. At other times, it's deeply moving. I count a number of Chesnutt's songs as among those mercurial songs that seem to reflect the state of your soul.