Utopian Turtletop. Monsieur Croche's Bête Noire. Contact: turtletop [at] hotmail [dot] com

Thursday, April 15, 2004


Driving to work this morning I heard on the modern country station a catchy rockin’ number called “Young” by someone I’d never heard of named Kenny Chesney. Rock beat, loud ‘80s rock drums, distorted rock lead guitar -- these things indicate “rock.” What made it “country” was the singing -- Kenny Chesney sings with a southern accent, and you could hear the words, loud & clear, front & center. The chorus spoke to me:

We were wanna-be rebels who didn’t have a clue
With our rock-and-roll T-shirts and our typically bad attitudes
Have no excuses for what we had done
We were brave, we were crazy, we were mostly young

Fuckin’-A I’m glad I survived the stupid things me & my friends did as teen-agers. Driving 85 in a 35 MPH zone. Driving 100 on country highways. Exciting, delusionally immortal, stupid. We were brave, we were stupid, we were male, we were mostly young. Kenny Chesney puts it more nicely.

Later in the day some smooth-jazzy piano surprised me coming out of the alt-rock alt-country college station. It disoriented me. Then I noticed the nice (& fashionable) hip-hoppy electronic dance beat, and then a lovely child’s voice singing a simple wordless riff, repeated in a loop like they do nowadays. Really nice music. Followed by some less memorable though still very nice slightly-dancy mellow background atmospheric music. The second group was the French duo called Air, whom I’d heard of but never heard. The first, more interesting group was called Lemon Yellow, I think.

Still later the Oldies station played one of my favorite Petula Clark songs, “I Know a Place.” That explosively joyous chorus. A de facto youth manifesto. “A cellarful of noise.”

Where the music is fine and the lights are low. I know a place where we can go.

Jay Sherman-Godfrey heard some tasty music on the radio this morning too:

Mac's back in school after the Easter break, so in the car again in the AM searching for songs to uplift the day.

After listening to the ever-present awful news of Bush's Folly, switched to the reliable oldies station, CBS-FM. They had a topical promo for today, tax day. IRS, not the internal revenue service, but the "Incredible Records of the Sixties (and Seventies)!" After this buoyant, goofy moment, up fade the opening, party-atmosphere seconds of Marvin Gaye's What's Going On? Not the morning pep I was looking for, but a poignant and no less topical listen. Pulling up to the school, we sat in the stopped car and listened all the way through.

Marvin's question, and his plea, unanswered.

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