Monday, November 02, 2009

Things I don't understand #73...

...If the Old 97's would teach me how to write songs.

Welcome to Music Monday! My path to becoming an Old 97's fan was a bit of a circuitous one. Because they are a Dallas band and I grew up near there, I had heard of them when I went off to college. But because they were what would have been considered an indie band, I had never really come across their music. Until one fateful day in Abilene when scouring the used CD bins at Hastings I came across Wreck Your Life for $3. Done. I then promptly put it in my CD player, listened to it once, and...didn't really think about it much after that. Weird.

But then about four years later, in another used CD store, I stumbled upon the album you see above. After giving it about a 10 second listen at the store,Too Far to Care was mine and I was Old 97's (too gay?). I thought the entire thing was one of the best records I had ever heard (still do). I then went back and listened to Wreck Your Life and realized what an idiot I had been and just missed it the first time around.

What I had missed was some great turns of phrase in the lyrics. Lines like:
I've got my wife, the other women, and the whiskey killing me.
The first two make it so that I see red. The third one makes it so that I can't see.

The way she tossed 'em back
I would've had a heart attack.
But as it is I let her drive my car.

We can't forget
Every other day is a kick in the shins
Every other day it's like the day just wins
But you make it all right, you make it OK
You make me sorta glad that I waited till today

And probably my favorite
If that phone don't ring one more time,
I'm gonna lose what's left of my mind.
You made a big impression for a girl of your size,
Now I can't get by without you and your big brown eyes.

I mean, come on, even Phil Jackson quotes them. They my be one of the few bands that I can quote, to some degree of accuracy, almost every song in their catalog. Anyhoo, they released a new album this year. Blame It On Gravity was good. Probably their best album in a while, but there was one song that made me jealous. It was so good that it made me wish that I had written it. It's a fairly simple country song sung not by their lead singer but by bassist Murry Hammond(which would seem to indicate he wrote that particular ditty). But despite all the clever wordplay and rollicking tunes that fill their catalog, I think this might be the best song they ever wrote. Maybe the perfect country song. Oh, it's called "Color Of A Lonely Heart Is Blue". So give it a listen and tell me why I'm wrong and my jealousy is misplaced. (I'm not and it isn't.)

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