Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Ode to Eno

I was turned onto Eno in a bit of a dubious way, via the dangerous-sounding Baby's on Fire. When I listen to that song now, all the yuck is gone out of its initial association, and I hear both the future and the past in it. It's from '73, but it doesn't sound dated, and I still believe it is one of the most bitchin' guitar solos around. I never get tired of listening to it. The craftsmanship Paul H. speaks of, the attention to detail in this album is what makes me love it so.

This week and a half, I purposely did not sing along to the album, played it to and from work each day, and tried to listen to it like I was hearing it for the first time. I noticed all the little bits he puts in the songs that make them interesting. I must have played it 30 times this week, and I would play it 30 again. Who do I hear? David Bowie, Velvet Underground. I wish I could tell you minutely what I love about each song, but I don't have the words for what he's got going on: The vocal tone, and lyrics of Driving Me Backwards combined with whatever the hell he's doing to the guitar is indescribable, and it slays me. The boop-boop guitar thing he brings in at the end of Baby's on Fire. The monk-like (Iggy-pop) sounding vocal of Dead Finks. The pinging, poppy guitar in Some of Them are Old. The warm jet guitar sound that opens Here Come the Warm Jets. Wow.

When I listen to this album, I hear a short film soundtrack. I love how one song floats into the next, as if they're all connected. When Paul L. says it's perfectly chaotic, I think that's a great description. Like jazz, although it sometimes feels like the track is going off in 40 different directions, at some point, each time, he pulls the song tightly together in the end so it all swells together like a whirlpool of perfection. Mark says he did it on purpose; it was his challenge. It's magic. Yes, perfectly chaotic.

Although there's something I love about every track on here, my favorite part of the album is the trifecta of the last three songs: Dead Finks; Some of Them are Old; Here Come the Warm Jets. Dead Finks is like a relief from the intensity of the previous tracks, an easing toward the end, but not just yet. Some of Them are Old - I feel it slipping away, the beauty and simple throwing about of the guitar strumming - I die. And finally, Warm Jets, the song which no other song can follow. This is where I love how the drum comes in through the background, a little behind, and as it gets louder, it catches up a bit, until it's in full bloom and the whole thing soars together; it's all in tune and drive-y, and the lyric and the voices and there's angels and light and bang! Then it fades out and when it ends, you may as well just turn off your stereo, because it's the perfect last song.

Eno may say he threw this album together, but then I guess that makes him even more of a genius. It treats me good. Just like an armchair.

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