Saturday, April 29, 2006

The Beauty Is In The Choice

So the car stereo has been on the fritz for a few weeks now. As much as I love to fill my days and nights with music, this is quite close to unbearable. It is especially unbearable on a night like last night when I did some shopping at Kroger on my way home from work and found myself with a song from their in-store music system stuck in my head for the rest of the trip home. The theme song from Ghostbusters just shouldn't be right with me for each country mile left at the end of another day of arrested development and drudgery.

That said, with the car stereo on the fritz, it means that much more to me to be able to listen to whatever I want when I get home. Usually, I listen to WRVU for some great indie music or I scan around Rhapsody and just bounce around there for a bit. But tonight is a special challenge for Chez Bez. Tonight I have to choose among three artists I've been waiting all day to listen to.

1. I've blogged about Geoff Baker a good bit lately. And thanks to the beauty of blogs and email, he has graciously sent me a few of his CDs. My wife called me this afternoon to say that they arrived today. And now I am looking at the now opened package and reading the liner notes and remembering a time when the words were typed out so much larger on the LPs that filled my room as a young teen. (With digital downloads, does anyone even read liner notes anymore?)

2. While at work recently, I met Jason Harvey. Jason is a rocker who grew up in Memphis and seems on the verge of making a huge impact on radio and through live performances. I've heard a bit of his stuff and like it a lot. My 15 month old daughter and I were listening to snippets from his website last night and while I haven't commited to a favorite song yet, she definitely liked "Unconditional" the most. It's got a really funky beat that she took to immediately. Happiness really is watching a toddler get down to the music.

3. For a bit I was wondering which of the above artists to treat my ears to tonight. And then on my dinner break, I read in the NY Times that Neil Young just released a new album, "Living With War" available to listen to in its entirety on his website for free. As Prince did with Lovesexy in 1988, Neil Young has released this so that you cannot just listen to different tracks alone from the others. It is to be heard as a whole so that "people will have to absorb the whole thing. To understand the songs, you need to understand where the whole album's coming from."

I guess this one wins tonight. As excited as I was to hear either Geoff or Jason, Neil Young gets the edge over most everybody for me. I'm listening to it as I type this (still on the first song right now), and it sounds great. I hear a lot of Ragged Glory in the rough guitar sound. This release is political and it is strong. It was written and performed only three weeks ago and now it's available to all of our ears.

Give yourself some time and give it a listen. And really let it soak in. Some things require our full attention, and this Neil Young release is most certainly one of those things. Until this Tuesday's Pearl Jam release, I think it'll be hard for me to listen to much of anything other than "Living With War." It's that good.

(Edit to add: While surfing around this morning, I saw that one of my favorite bloggers is also talking about "Living With War." Click here to read her take on it.)

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