Monday, June 18, 2007

The horror, the horror

There comes a time when the running must stop, when one must confront the very thing from which one flees. To drain the poison, to exorcise the demon. Otherwise, that which you've tried to erase will always be there at the threshold of consciousness, leering and gibbering like a maniac.

All of which is by way of saying that The Travelling Wilburys albums have been re-released. Well, I'm not afraid any more. I'm going to look my demon square in the face and say "You can't beat me, Lord Baal!" And at that point, my psychic wounds will heal and I will be accepted with love into a balmy sunlit world of joy and grace.

Forgive the saturnalia of sarcasm, but the Wilburys first album also happens to be the first album I really loved, with the possible exception of Cloud Nine by George Harrison. In a time before U2, or The Cure, or any number of later obsessions, I listened to Volume 1 hundreds of times. It struck me as the very acme of what music could do.

"Handle Me With Care". Yes! Handle me with care - such prescience! Handle me with care, lest I crumple beneath the combined weight of your breezy youthless genius. "Tweeter and the Monkey-Man". It turns out that Bob Dylan had recorded plenty of albums and songs before this, and that some of these were, and still are, thought to be good. Am I ashamed to admit that "Tweeter" was the first Bob Dylan song I ever loved? Yes; but there it is.

On the other hand, I've no intention of re-listening to either record. What if the healing rays of musical hope turn out to be mere overpolished session rock, with all the fragrant charm of an o'er-brimming chamberpot? No, I'll just have to stay repressed, to keep that little scaley demon fellow fed and watered and hopefully becalmed. Otherwise, I’m likely to find myself posting on the genius of George Michael's "Jesus to a Child".

That way damnation lies.

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