I’ve been thinking about music that would be appropriate for the times we’re in. My first thought was one of my all time favorites, “Life During Wartime” by David Byrne and the Talking Heads. That song is a permanent earwig for me – I can hear it over and over and enjoy the shit out of it. Some of the lyrics are eerily relevant today. From the middle of the song:
“Heard about Houston? Heard about Detroit?
Heard about Pittsburgh, P. A.?
You oughta know not to stand by the window
Somebody see you up there
I got some groceries, some peanut butter,
To last a couple of days
But I ain’t got no speakers, ain’t got no headphones,
Ain’t got no records to play
Why stay in college? Why go to night school?
Gonna be different this time
Can’t write a letter, can’t send no postcard,
I ain’t got time for that now”
All sung in David’s Byrne’s unmistakable manic pitchiness over a razor-sharp driving beat.
And then Jackson Browne dropped a new single today – “A Little Soon to Say” – that fits this time perfectly, all the way through. Here’s a little bit of it.
“I want to see you holding out your light
I want to see you find your way
Beyond the sirens in the broken night
Beyond the sickness of our day
And after all we’ve come to live with
I want to know if you’re OK
I have to think it’s gonna be all right,
It’s just a little soon to say”
It brought tears to my eyes, partly just because of the song, and partly because of the news. Jackson Browne has COVID-19, and I sure hope he gets through it intact at age 71.
Jackson Browne is pretty much my spirit animal. I’ve listened to him constantly since I was seventeen years old. I’ve seen him live in every decade since then, and in the most recent decade Kathryn and I have seen him live in a couple of the best concert events ever. Front row at the beautiful Chateau Ste. Michelle outdoor venue in Woodinville, WA (featured picture above, 2009 with a crummy camera and an shaky/inebriated photographer). And front row in the tiny, tiny venue at Tim Robbin’s Actors Gang theater in Los Angeles (2017, picture below.)
We took no pictures of JB from that seat because he asked us not to. But here’s a bootleg video
taken from a guy behind us of the last song in the set. You have to wait about 45vseconds for the guy to point the phone at the stage. You can also see the back of yours truly’s shiny head right in front of JB.
I’ll never forget those shows.
So here’s to JB. May he get healthy, keep making music and keep improving the world. We need all of that we can get.