The last two months I have listened to two albums, almost exclusively. I listen to them every day. I know them inside and out. Ben Folds/Nick Hornby’s Lonely avenue and Dana Falconberry’s the lowering night. Oh my God I love these albums. I have listened with the lyrics in front of me. I have listened in my car. I have listened in headphones. I have listened laying on my bed in the dark. I have backed a track up a few seconds, dozens of times to hear something that I did not hear the first few times, like the dog bark forty-seven seconds in to Dana’s song “the dream”, which is track three. I love the dog bark.
I had faded away from Ben Folds for a while. I was feeling like his albums were becoming hit or miss, mostly miss. I still continued to pay attention to his albums coming out, but mostly just listening a time or two to see if or when I would change my mind. Nothing much grabbed me for a while, but I knew I would give another listen to them later down the line to see if I connected with them later.
Right place, right time. It happened with Wilco as well as many other bands or albums. I bought the first few Wilco albums when they came out hoping to like them. I did not. I stopped paying a attention for a while. Then a friend snuck Sky Blue Sky onto my mp3 player and I stumbled onto it while on a bike ride and fell in love with it. Then I went back to albums prior and could not figure out why I had dismissed those albums earlier in life. Right place, right time. It’s important. Sometimes we are just not in tune with certain vibes at certain times or maybe we just haven’t had similar life experiences at the same time as a particular artist and can’t fully get it until we do.
The Ben Folds Nick Hornby album came at right place, right time. It came out six years ago, but I never got to it until recently. Maybe I wouldn’t have thought much of it when it came out, but now? My God I love it. Right now it is just refreshing to hear songs with out of the ordinary storytelling, like a song about Levi Johnston, the boy who knocked up Sarah Palin’s daughter during her campaign to be VP. A song about Doc Pomus, who wrote hit songs from the fifties to the eighties. A song about having a crush on the poet, Saskia Hamilton.
A few months ago Dana Falconberry came to the studio to lay some vocals down on my new album. After the recording session we talked about the love of songwriting. What made us fall in love with it and how we sometimes struggled to stay in love with it. She brought up that she had just recorded an album in her bedroom with a laptop like she did when she first started. A few weeks later she posted it online.
It could have easily missed me among the never-ending stream of content that happens online. Our conversation made me really excited to hear it. I downloaded it and gave it a listen. It killed me from the first note. I fell in love with it instantly. I cannot stop listening to it.
When I was a kid, I was obsessed with songs. I would swing on my swingset and sing songs word for word. I would do this for hours and hours. To the point it worried my mother. Sometimes she would wake up to get a drink in the middle of the night and I would be out on my swing in the backyard, just singing. She just let it happen, mostly out of guilt. She, like me struggled with unwarranted guilt.
Now the swing has changed to a car and cigars. I drive hundreds of extra miles a month around my city, just listening to music. I sing, I cry, I soak in the lyrics. I am very happy songs still move me. It’s a Sunday. I have some driving to do.