Hi. Hope everybody’s okay. I want to join Holden in wishing everybody a truly blessed Bloomsday. Seems like as good a day as I’m likely to find to resume my quaint electronic scribblings. You may consider this a Relaunch, if you like—the Genesis of Good Lieutenant 2.0.
Hadn’t done a whole lot of this sort of thing lately. Maybe you’d noticed. I guess you presumably know me, if you’re reading this, so you know that I’m a decent writer but a wildly erratic one. And it seems as if I haven’t written anything that I wasn’t literally forced to write for some months now. I won’t say that I ever had any kind of method or system for any part of my life, let alone for writing, but whatever working compromise I had in place pretty much evaporated after last fall or so. I was making it up pretty much day to day, and this site was the least of my worries.
But I’m on to the next thing, now. No more Undergraduate Studies. (Vast relief.) No more Toledo. (Bittersweet.) Playing music again, reading the occasional novel. (Astounding.) It would be great if I could get some sort of full time job before I have to start paying loans back, but otherwise I have very little to fear or fret over, and I’m calming back down and backing away from my frenetic, chaotic school persona. Trying to reclaim the state of mind where writing stuff like this can be the purest kind of fun.
Anyway, I think I’m going to retool, like a sitcom adding a friendly robot and a cute kid. There’ll be a (much) more regular posting schedule, so it might actually be worth your time to check back here. I’m honestly going to shoot for every day, or at least five times a week or so. And I’ll still write whatever pops into my damned fool head, but as we corporate types like to say, I’m going to focus on my core competency. Which seems to me to be the music writing, though maybe you secretly think my musical taste sucks. (Thank you for sparing my feelings. I am delicate.) I’m always listening to something that I have deeply compelling opinions about, or think that I do. But it wasn’t just laziness that kept me away from sharing them—I’d just get scared by the size of the projects I kept thinking up, and go play video games instead. So I’m going to start with the small things, with the details wherein I’m told the devil is found, with the basic fundamental atoms of the musical universe that I’m stuck in. With the songs, basically.
I pledge to write about a different song every post. I’ll let iTunes select them at random, though I may exercise some kind of executive veto. Since I have about thirteen thousand of them in this lovely little machine, that should last us a while. And I’ll just set out writing in whatever direction the day’s song points me. That could be almost as many directions as I have songs. There are songs in this computer that I love, that are sacred texts to me, that I can subject to note-by-note close reading, and there are songs that I may have never heard before. Of course, there are plenty of songs here that I don’t even particularly like, which might present the most interesting challenges. Why are they here? Did I like them once, or never? What’s my relationship with them? Every one of these tiny little digital texts has intersected with my life in one way or another, and flipping through them in no particular order might leave us with some kind of Autobiography by Record Collection. (Which is all very Nick Hornby, of course. But there’s a reason guys like me read that book. He is Us.)
Right now I’m hearing “Tonight the Sky” from April, the new Sun Kil Moon record. It’s a terrific song, one of the best examples of Mark Kozelek’s Epic Midwestern Sentimentalism; "Tonight the Sky" totally earns its ten minutes and twenty-one seconds of throbbing and droning guitar. But that can’t be my Song of the Day. That would be cheating. Now I’m going to pick one at random, or let the computer pick it for me.
Deep Breath. Here it is.
Song of the Day, Inaugural Edition
“These Days Nothing But Sunshine”
Sigh of relief. I was so worried that the first one would be lame, and make me feel embarrassed about the whole thing. But this is good. I love the Clientele. Frail, literary, melancholic, extremely British. All their records seem to have been recorded on rainy days, which makes it funny that we’ve got the one with sunshine in the title. And it’s a lovely tune, one of the better ones on the somewhat poppier God Save the Clientele. I can’t find the lyric printed anywhere on the Internets, which is unusual, but I guess they aren’t exactly scaling giddy heights of fame. But it seems like a gentle song, a reassuring one, like its title. What stands out the most, really, is the shimmering pedal steel, which the album notes tell me is played by one Pete Finney. Who isn’t actually a member of the Clientele, ironically. But some quick research tells me that he’s apparently a Nashville veteran, appearing on albums by Patty Loveless, Allison Moorer, and somebody named Lonesome Bob. But he’s got one foot in Indie World, too, as we see—he’s on the new Bonnie “Prince” Billy record! I should get that album. Damn. I was at the record store today.
I did buy My Morning Jacket, though, and the new documentary about The National, which is exciting. Even more exciting, it comes with a 12 song bonus disc. So I’ll no doubt have some notes on those in the next week or so. But for now I’ve just decided to be glad to be back.