As we move into the middle of May the songs are freighted with the nostalgic sense that, now that the world has awakened, it’s time to get busy. Not that the songs are specifically about that, but these are what the world was listening to, more or less.
This project has prompted me to put together a timeline of where I have lived, gone to school, worked, and the people and events associated with each. Nostalgia mining, as Proust demonstrated, can be a great source of creative inspiration. And also ennui and existential dread.
1977: John Miles, “Slowdown”
This is another of those songs which, even if you have never heard it, you have heard it in some form or another. I can’t say if I heard it when it was first on the radio, but I know I heard it at some point in the years before I graduated from high school. And it kind of slaps.
Mr. Miles passed away this past December, at the age of 72.
1982: Genesis, “Man on the Corner”
Phil Collins and this era of Genesis were huge in my life back in the 1980s. I first heard of them at about the same time that music videos took over the pop world thanks to the original iteration of MTV. Abacab is an amazing album and “Man on the Corner” is a very specific vibe (in the parlance of our times) for a skinny, mouthy, geeky bookworm recently moved to an isolated farm in a small, insulated and insular farming community. Self-pity is not a great place to wallow, but it can bring its own form of empowerment.
1987: Peter Wolf, “Come as you Are”
I remember listening to this song on the bus into school at the end of my senior year at Springport, but I don’t think I had ever seen the video until now. Peter Wolf, formerly of the J. Geils Band, puts together a fantastic song, and a super-fun video. I imagine he had to sit down for a few days once the video was complete.
1992: Cause & Effect, “You Think You Know Her”
I don’t specifically remember hearing this song before, but it is familiar enough that I must have, though it does have that particular Synthpop sound which can cause some confusion when trying to sort out memories from (o god…) thirty years ago. This week in 1992 I would have been moving from a tiny apartment at Campus West to a HUGE apartment at Ramblewood, anticipating and dreading my last (and sixth) year of university studies, and I think just starting my brief career as a line cook and prep cook at Jose Babushka’s Polish/Mexican restaurant in Kentwood. Such were the early nineties.
1997: Kenny Lattimore, “For You”
This is a repeat from last week. Lattimore has a beautiful voice, and this is a beautiful song.