Monday, May 24, 1999

Le Copa de la Vida

One of the more noticeable accomplishments of my current employer during its recently completed session was to repeal automobile emissions testing in the state. The program will end March 1, next year. Thus last week as I got my car with the badly dented fender tested it was with that heavy heart of knowing that this would be the last time around. My car passed with shining cleanliness, but I'm beginning to wonder if the fumes from the exhaust aren't causing problems for the car's occupants. Evidence of this can be detected by the fact that I actually truly like that Ricky Martin song. Perhaps it's not the fumes, perhaps it has to do with my broad acceptance of almost all music, but one never knows.

It takes a small man to be so stubborn as to refuse to admit he can be wrong every now and then. And for those of you who have seen me up close and personally, you probably quickly realized that I can be no smaller a man. Thus pride isn't an issue when it comes to me admitting that I have made another mistake. One of the benefits of being in a constant state of transition is that you are allowed to change your mind every other minute. Disregard anything you might have read last week. This week the decision has been made that the greatest CD of the millennium is the Cranberries' Bury the Hatchet. If music is about sounds and sounds are about causing pleasant sensations, than this CD has to be rated very highly. I've been listening to it endlessly for the past week and it has grown on me like some strange rash. Where my initial reaction was one of a lot of cringing (or more so than usual not that anyone might have noticed) now I'm quite content to bob my head throughout the thirteen songs. I bought some batteries for the CD player I have at work, the one that was brought back from Mexico by my favorite Taeboing Melrose Place watchin' fan, and in a few days I wore the batteries down merely through constant playing of Bury the Hatchet.

I bought Bury the Hatchet the same day I bought Tom Waits' Mule Variations. I'll be the first to say that Waits' new work is superior musically, artistically and in every other standard you can measure music by. Still I have a feeling that years from now Mule Variations will come in a distant second in counting the number of times the two CDs are played in my house.

Two songs in particular have caught my fancy on Bury the Hatchet. The first, Just My Imagination, sounds like a long lost 10,000 Maniacs song. It's the second song in two years about imagination that has worked itself inside of me so tightly that quite literally has popped my belly button (which unlike one of my favorite people in the world, is not pierced). Along with my favorite song from last year, Brian Wilson's Your Imagination, the Cranberries have written a catchy little ditty that hopefully will help combat the fate that was so thoroughly spelled out in The World According to Garp. The lesson Garp painfully discovered was that as you get older your memories replace your imagination. I for one hope that isn't the case even if it seems to be sadly so. Just My Imagination is a song about remembering yesterday with a bit of creative license, but at the same time being able to look at the treasures of today with wide eyed clarity.

"There was a time I used to pray. I have always kept my faith in love. It's the greatest thing from the man above. The game I used to play. I've always put my cards upon the table. Let it never be said that I'd be unstable."

The second song which has worked its magic on me is, Saving Grace, a simple little love song. The minimal lyrics serve as a sort of prayer. "It could happen today. You're just a little thing my saving grace." It's not only a song about how anything is possible if you keep your mind open, but also how life's seemingly small moments, like the slight touch of a hand, can be one's saving grace. Dolores O'Riordon sings the song in a near whisper and the whole thing is dreamy and sweet. It is one of those songs that I heard just at the right time (and just in time) as it has a particular special meaning to me with the current events in my life.

The mistake in my original judgment of the CD was to look for a grandiose meaning. What the CD instead delivers is a simple message about redemption. Often times the most meaningful things are right in front of your nose and you can miss them if you look too far beyond.

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