Friday, February 06, 2009

Rediscovering the Wonders of Music

Danny Alexander writes from Overland Park, KS:

I stopped off at Target on my way home from work and bought Working on A Dream on the day it came out. I put it in, and "Outlaw Pete" lasted almost exactly the length of my ride home. It was a singular experience in my listening life. I didn't follow the lyric, aside from the refrains, but the music moved me close to tears at that first point where it grows quiet, and then the music swelled again, and I had that feeling I have watching an epic western, that I didn't know where it was going to go, but I was just glad to be along for the ride. I don't remember all the particulars of the sound swelling in my car, but at that point, where I turn off 95th Street onto Connell and wound through a neighborhood to 91st, I felt like I felt as a teenager-- when music told me of limitless possibilities, when I knew the feel of the key to the universe in that old parked car. But this was a different universe, and a different car.

From 91st, I took another jog through a neighborhood on a street called Knox until I reach 89th, where I live. The music was drawing to a close, and I'd moved close to tears twice more. What I knew, pulling into my spot, was that I wasn't ready to go on to the next song yet. I thought of that moment in "This Magic Moment," when you talk about exchanging glances, lifting the needle and starting the record again.

Fortunately, I didn't have to move on, or I had an excuse not to. I came in the house and showed the CD to my wife Lauren, and we went up to our room and put it on the beatbox. It reminded me how good music is when it's played by the side of your bed, filling up your room with worlds worth dreaming about. We wound up cuddling, and just listening. Lauren was beginning to doze by "The Last Carnival." but she was also surprised, in a good way, that it had flown by so quickly. Lauren also said she appreciated Bruce writing "Queen of the Supermarket" for her, longtime checkout girl that she is.

I haven't had this kind of reaction to a record in so long that I think I'd begun to think music couldn't do that for me anymore. It figures Bruce could prove that wrong. But even though I had a sense I was going to like this record more than anything since The Rising, I didn't expect this, this feeling of Christmas morning coupled with a starry night on section roads.

I suspect that's the happiness that critics keep noting. (I haven't read the reviews so much as comments about them, although I did read that lame Spin thing.) There's a joy here, but it's nothing so simple as a man being content. It makes me think of Sonny finding that brand new piano in his hands in James Baldwin's "Sonny's Blues." The joy I hear is a man (and a whole crew I'd guess) who's rediscovering the wonders of music. I feel certain he had to go there to take me there so completely, so quickly. As I've said many times, I'm a slow listener. It's very rare I'm affected in any way approaching this so quickly. I'm a happy man tonight, and that's not a simple thing at all; just precious.

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

<< Home