Tuesday, January 02, 2007

it's all part of my rock'n'roll fantasy

Please accept my humble apologies that I have not been posting songs regularly over the past few weeks. Between laptop meltdowns, illness-related meltdowns, and spotty internet connectivity, it simply was not in the cards. And even though I feel like I should have some profound song to start off the new year, because it is a new year, after all, I am afraid that I am posting the exact opposite of that.

Well, perhaps I should not say that. I do not know. Amadou & Mariam's Senegal Fast Food may well be very deep. Of course, I wouldn't know, because I fail to comprehend a word of it. This is usually the reason that world music falls out of favor with me. I can handle a lot of Spanish music because I can make out phrases here and there, and somehow that serves to connect me to a song. And I can handle some Portuguese music, because I pick up a word or two here and there, plus, when a Gilberto is involved, it's like listening to the sound of a yard of silk falling over a table. But for the most part, I stay away from world music because I have trouble staying with a song if I cannot understand the lyrics.

But then something like Senegal Fast Food comes along and it turns out that I am full of crap. As usual. Really, by now, this should come as no surprise. But that's the thing about music like this. It has to be immediate. It has to immediately draw you in, and mesmerize you.

A Moroccan acquaintance of mine was playing the album in the background during a raucous dinner, and I did not hear it well, but she mentioned the band several times as we were finishing a bottle of wine. That's usually telling. I know how I get when I hear something like that- I am nudging everyone into listening to it. "Have you heard of them?" I'll ask, but I'm not really asking- I'm saying, "Dude, you need to listen to this." Only, I am not quite confident enough in my musical taste to say that, so I'll just push a song or artist (cough, Regina Spektor, cough), until people roll their eyes at me.

All of that said, let me stop to say something completely inappropriate. I sort of amuse myself with my freedom fries behavior when it comes to the French. The French scare me. Once, I went to Montreal, and I spent the whole time feeling inferior because I could not muster a word of the language, and every cashier seemed thoroughly annoyed with me for it. When people pronounce words correctly at a French restaurant, my stomach turns and I feel they're being pretentious (even though they're not, given that they're simply pronouncing the words correctly, most of the time). Hemingway mentioned something about the French once, about how he liked them, because you simply had to have a good deal of money to have them treat you well. And that made me sour towards the French even more.

But I think I need to get over the Francophobia, people. In the spirit of a new year, I need to wash myself of this insecurity regarding the French. Sure, they are cooler, and thinner, and far more refined than me. Sure, they smoke a lot and pronounce words that my mouth seems incapable of pronouncing. But, really, is that any reason to avoid them? They don't mean to seem so pretentious, do they?

I have to get over it, most of all, because there's some good music out there that has quite a bit of French in it. And Amadou & Mariam are a stellar example. Granted, their album is not strictly French, it's West African. It's really quite world. As proof, Manu Chao is heavily involved. But, this song reminded me, in a strange way of MC Solaar's La belle et le bad boy, in that just a few opening bars into the song, I was engaged. Senegal Fast Food seems like it should be on the soundtrack of some ultra-cool movie. It's weird when a song is a music video waiting to happen- but that usually indicates a richness. And there's a whole lot of finery in this song.


Anyway. Let me tell you something else. This is the first time I have said something so utterly brash and optimistic, but this is going to be one tremendous, stupendous, spectacular year. Oh, I am quite certain there will be moments of falling flat on my face, and moments of fuming rage, and moments of wtf, why is this happening to me, but something happened in 2006, something that prevents me from ever sinking below a certain depth again. That sort of buoy.

My Eeyore-ian ways would normally cause me to remark, it can only get worse after this. But no, b*tches, no. The rock can never roll all the way to the bottom of the hill again. I still cannot believe how much has happened, and how much lies ahead. If I go really far back in my history, as I did over the past week, it becomes overwhelming and heartstopping. Yes, there is more to want and a long, long way still to go, but I actually don't think I know how to be really sad or brooding right now. I think I even might have tried on New Year's Eve, to be introspective and all if only about some bullsh*t, but it totally did not take. And my, oh my, that's a new one for me.

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