Thursday, November 8, 2012

My Idea of Patriotism

I noodled around with this post yesterday, but it appears I never put it up.  Little late post ...


Yesterday, leaving the polling place, it seemed of course dead appropriate to me to listen to an Englishman, so I cruised on Bowie and enjoyed my commute.  He finished off my drive with "Heroes" - a song I've always found pretty powerful, but which seemed appropriate to the culmination of a wearing campaign season. 

Today, once I shifted away from NPR, I hit the radio instead of the CD player, and was treated to ...  "Too Sexy for My Shirt" which was a giggle.  Even more of a laugh, the "we play anything" station segued from Shirt into Tom Petty - hilarious enough given almost any track, but again, somehow pleasing and appropriately, the song they chose to play was "American Girl". 

I liked Petty fine when I was younger - he never set my teeth on edge the way Springsteen *STILL* does, nor got worn out by the DJs like Stevie Nicks and Led Zeppelin did.  I was enough of a little white Southern girl (still am ...) to go for the rock they fed us - Bad Company (yes, I'm aware they're not exactly Georgia boys; tell it to every pink-necked boy I grew up with), even Charlie Daniels, I can admit that.  Petty, though, has aged very well indeed, and he appears to be a pretty smart cookie, as simple as a song like "American Girl" may seem in its way.  Simplicity, as it turns out - particularly with music of a certain flavor - is genius, and "American Girl" still curls up in a VERY comfortable place indeed in my aging mind.  Petty doesn't feel stale - where, as much as I like it, "Shooting Star" feels of-its-time in a very different way.  BC take me back.  Petty just is.  American Girl may not sound modern - and his early 90s work in particular is less flexible - but take a listen to "Breakdown" and it doesn't drag you to a particular place (unless you have a personal association to link that song to a memory of your own) necessarily.  He doesn't sound more 70s than 80s than now, his music has a tensile twang that, no matter when you hear it, you can take or leave.  It's likeable - or it's not.  But it's not laden with bellbottoms or skinny ties or mullets or election-memories, circa 2000.  (Sorry, Fleetwood Mac, but y'all tied yourselves to Clinton in '93, and ever since, there've been branding issues with politics and music.  Happy end-of-your career, Kid Rock ...) 

We've come to the part of the year where it's still dawn and dim when I drive in to work, and dark when I go home.  Music can be more fun on a breezy golden day, with a sunroof - but music in the intimacy of cold and dark, all alone in the car with the news of the day quieting the noisy tires, music can really make me laugh (you all KNOW I was thinking of the President when Right Said Fred was playing when I changed channels - right?  I'm not one of those women with a crush, but he's by far the only president I can imagine who *could* laughingly listen to that song in front of all of us, and maybe bust a little move or two), and music can make me just feel good.  Thanks, Tom.  You're not half bad, says this American ... Broad.


Mojourner said...

Good post. I especially appreciate anything that kicks Kid Rock on his way down.

The Petty song playing up here in WA after the election was "Last Dance with Mary Jane." Or is that "first dance," or "I can finally dance with mary jane in public." Or maybe just "Danza Ultimo con Marijuana." Whichever it was, it was Kim Basinger's finest role.

DLM said...

Hah - I had definitely not thought about that song as an election topper, but nice giggle. And yes, that was deBasingherself's best role wasn't it?