Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Late for the Sky

A while back Mary Alice and I exchanged a list of songs that fit some unique form of favorites---either songs we wished we could sing or songs for the soundtrack of our life. That sort of thing. MA is 100x more aware of new music and all trends than I am. Among the many reasons I'm grateful for her friendship are the songs she has introduced to me.

Lfts1_2 I remember driving around LA with her when she first played Dar Williams' "When I Was a Boy" for me. Sometimes I need to hear a song many times before it can find its way into my thick skull. And then there are those songs, like "When I Was a Boy" or "Mercy Now" or "Reason Why" that just have immediate impact. And MA has a gift for finding them.

I knew most of the songs on MA's list, but she also listed "Late for the Sky" by Jackson Browne, which I didn't recognize. I ended up downloading it and fell in love with it. Became obsessed with it. So many good lines, lines of hope and even more of despair and disillusionment:

“How long have I been sleeping? / How long have I been drifting alone through the night?”

The one cure I've found for my peculiar form of OCD: Google. I googled Late for the Sky. I expected to find only lyrics or downloads. Instead I found Paste, and an article on Jackson Browne from 2003 that captured exactly what was haunting me about Late for the Sky. I had never heard of Paste Magazine (no big surprise there---it started in 2002, the year Aidan was born and I lost touch with the world), but twice it's made the Chicago Tribune's list of the best magazines. It's tagline: Signs of Life in Music, Film & Culture. And each issue comes with a sampler CPaste_magazineD or DVD of short films, etc.

And, inspired no doubt by Radiohead's latest experiment, for the next two weeks, Paste is letting subscribers pay what they want for a year's subscription. Now that I've just discovered them, I hope that doesn't put them out of business.

Finally, while searching Late for the Sky, I found this excerpt from Bruce Springsteen's speech at Jackson Browne's induction to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. If, like me, you only associate Jackson Browne with tunes like "Somebody's Baby", listen to the entire Late for the Sky album. I love how Springsteen describes it here:

"Listen to the chord changes of 'Rock Me On the Water' and 'Before the Deluge,' it's gospel through and through. Now I always thought that... our job here on earth, the way we regain our divinity, our sacredness, and our general good-standing is by reconstructing love and creating love out of the broken pieces that we've been given. That's all we have of human promise. That's the way we prove ourselves in the eyes of God and facilitate our own redemption. Now, to me Jackson Browne's work was always the sound of that reconstruction."

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