Thursday, September 10, 2009

Time Has The Final Word


Remember the good old 1980's
When life was so uncomplicated?

Ever received a message from a rock album? It's happened to me lately, starting with Billy Joel and most recently and significantly coming from Electric Light Orchestra. Messages from music that I loved way back when, appreciated now for very different reasons.

Starting with the song "Surprises", listened to after a many years' absence, it seemed to address me in the present time, with these specially tailored lines:

You were so young and naive
I know it's hard to believe
But now it shouldn't surprise you at all


How did Billy Joel know what to tell me in 2009 when writing that song in the late eighties? Undoubtedely, there are hidden profundities to be discovered in Mr Joel's entire catalog, but this is sufficient for me. Still, it hit me at an odd angle.

ELO's album Time came into my possession a month ago, and it isn't merely a song now but an entire collection that is speaking to me in the moment. As a kid it was a funky sci-fi musical concept, with cool keyboards and electrovox (precursors, as it turns out, to English electronica) conveying the futureshock of a man dreaming of the next century. Revisiting it as a version of that very man, the experience is slightly unnerving.

Not that it stops me from listening. Good pop is a fine way to unwind after work, especially with the mad couple of weeks I've clawed my way through this month.

When Jeff Lynne addresses the "21st Century Man" it cuts to the quick, with lyrics like,

One day you're a hero
Next day you're a clown
There's nothing that is in between
Now you're a 21st century man


Likely it is my subjective connection from childhood that paints poignancy on this music. What's nice is that though there is a weird bridging from the early eighties to the present, I can still find things to appreciate in the writing and arrangement.

Here is one of my favorite selections, "Rain is Falling":

1 comment:

Stepterix said...

This is the first album that I ever asked for as a kid. As opposed to albums that were bought for me without my input. I still listen to it occasionally for a good dose of nostalgia.