Sunday, May 27, 2007

Mr Tambourine Man by The Byrds

We’re in a car, and I’m sitting in the back seat. I’m maybe five or six years old, and I stare out of the window at the blue sky, a sky that hints at a far-off coldness on this, the warmest of summer days.

We are driving, in this car, my family.

Where we are going doesn’t matter to me, because what’s got my attention and won’t let go is the music: clear like the blue sky, glassy and sunbeat. Like bells are ringing out across the dull, low housing estates that lap in at either side of the road like a long-polluted sea.

I later find out that the song I’m hearing is Mr Tambourine Man by the Byrds, and that the song is written by Bob Dylan. But I don’t know this now (I didn’t know this then).

I will later think that this, and other music I heard spooling by on the cassette deck of my father’s car, is showing me the way towards a future I don’t yet know and is based on a template of a past which I’m not sure really existed outside of a few songs I heard as a child, songs that will probably stay with me forever.

The year is 1965, the place is someplace in California. When I think about it, its skies are always blue.

And here, in this memory, the main objects of a nagging obsession are put in place: the decade (the 1960s); the car, which is both freedom and constraint (we can travel wherever we want, but we can’t talk to the people that we pass on the street); the place (an America I won’t even see for many years to come) and the music.

This is the music that will come to play on my mind and spin on my stereo in the years to come: Dylan and the Byrds will be joined by others. And connected to all of this some vague notion of the Sixties, of West Coast living and of a freedom which hints that the best is, always, yet to come.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

All The Tired Horses, by Bob Dylan

Driving to the hospital. Hours and hours awake. No sleep till next week, if that. Strange cold breeze in the middle of may. A cigarette hanging from his mouth. The routine of the last weeks has been exhausting. All night at the hospital, then school early in the morning, then two hours of sleep, then hospital again. 95 km per hour heading south. The hospital. The smell of the nurses, their patronizing smiles. Cloudy forecast, almost black. Sleet begins to fall down. All the tired horses in the sun, how'm I supposed to get any ridin' done? The moment of closest intimacy with his brother has happened during those three minutes and the sudden stop because of sudden traffic. The hospital lies ahead. Sleet has now turned into heavy rain. His brother only says: "Pass me a cigarette".

(happy birthday, Bob!)

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

I'm still in love with you boy, by Sean Paul

en esos días me encontré sin casa
después de pelear con todos y conmigo misma

las puertas de tu casa
fueron las únicas que quedaron abiertas
para mí

te conocí besando al chico de rizos dorados
que me había hipnotizado
por más de diez minutos

estaba sentado, esperando a alguien
y yo no sabía a quién

corrió hacia ti y te abrazó
y te besó
--ay, cómo te besó

eras más alta que él
pero era claro que ya
eran uno del otro

días después noté tu presencia en el salón de clases
--entendí por qué no hablabas nunca con nadie

en la esquina de la prepa me paré a esperar a mi mamá
y de pronto vi aparecer una combi amarilla llena de chicos de pelo largo y barba

se abrió la puerta
y corriste a meterte en ella

en el verano
te fuiste muy lejos
y yo me quedé con rizos dorados
tomando cerveza por las tardes

me pediste que lo cuidara,
y así lo hice

yo pensaba que era una mala amiga,
ya sabes,
después de todo nací en esta familia católica).

en el jardín tu mamá haciendo collares
y su novio tallando barquitos de madera
con la guetto blaster siempre tocando reggae

yo sentada en la hamaca
inmovilizada por el humo

tu y Laura hacían ejercicio y yo las miraba

sin novio sin trabajo y sin casa

I’m still in love with you boy

me pasaba las horas sin saber qué hacer ni a dónde ir

You don’t know how to love me
(I don’t know how to love you)

Not even how to kiss me
(I don’t know how to kiss you).

I’m still in love with you boy.

me dolía
hacer lo que se supone que una mujer no debe hacer

Well I'm a hustler and a player but you know I'm not a stayer
that's the dutty, dutty love

irme de ti
sin decirte por qué
o a qué hora fué

Though you make me holla
Though you make me sweat
I can't get your tenderness
Still I can't get you out my mind
What is it about you baby

Monday, May 14, 2007

God Save the Queen, as performed by Motorhead

One of my earliest loves was Motörhead's music. It was true: it was louder than anything else. In retrospect, there's nothing more innocent and listener-friendly than their riffs; but it cannot be denied that their place in pop culture is more than guaranteed as undoubtedly essencial. Like Queen, The Who, Iron Maiden, the Beatles, the Sex Pistols or the Smiths, Motörhead's music is quintaessentially British by denying all the moral and aesthetic standards that the imperial status quo would have wanted to establish and have the masses follow. Everything in them is cool because they are fundamentally uncool. Now most tabloid celebrities wear aviator Ray Ban's: nonetheless, their place as a basic piece of the underground musical counterculture is secured. For some time I was a bit embarrassed to accept I had a metal past. But I have come to the point when I don't care about stereotypes anymore and I can appreciate again influential pieces of the scrambled and juxtaposed emotional landscape of my past. Come on, be proud of who you once were and sing along...

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Long Time Coming, by The Delays

¿Tienes algo de los Delays?

Me preguntas justo en el momento en que no te veo: tu voz me hace voltear en el segundo exacto en que cae tu cabello rojo como una cascada.

¿Qué?, respondo, sólo por inercia inútil.

Que si tienes algo de los Delays...

Y ahora claramente puedo ver cómo el cabello rojo empapa tu sonrisa: un mundo expuesto que abre su puerta como un poema inconcluso.Tu rostro es un haz de rojo incomprensible.

-Claro. Tengo dos discos de ellos. Si quieres, te los traigo mañana.

-Vale. Gracias.

Así de súbito ocurre una visión que no me acerca a nada o simplemente es mi vida que sólo pasa recogiendo gestos para definir el silencio de la madrugada.

The Delays: Long Time Coming

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Punkrocker, by the Teddybears

There are songs that you just have to play again and again. It's as if someone knew the aural story of your life and suddenly came up with the perfect formula that expresses through sound your current state of mind. The Swedish trio the Teddybears have a grindcore past, and equally appreciate metal than reggae, hip hop, electronica or punk. The result is one of the catchiest, sexiest outfits in modern pop music, an experiment that (as in the first video below) proves that respect can be shown to forefathers (asking Iggy Pop to sing their most popular single to date) while also interrogating/frustrating common expectations by collaborating with different singers and MCs from different scenes (as in the second video below, where a female reggae MC does an amazing, hellyeah performance covering up for Iggy Pop of all people). This Phil Spector-baptized band have produced with Punkrocker a song that seems to be possessed by the best of all universes. There is, unavoidably, a sweet melancholy in the arrangements and electronics here, but the energy it sweats will make any dancefloor's ceiling cry with tears of ecstatic teenage angst & passion.

It's only because of songs like this that sometimes I wish I had a car (a black convertible Mustang 74, or a blue Barracuda 67-69, of course), just to crank the volume up and drive fast straight into the horizon, never to come back. Hell yeah.

Punkrocker official video, featuring Iggy Pop.

Punkrocker live in Studio B, Brooklyn, March 2 2007.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

HH:MM:SS, por La Buena Vida

Te he mentido mil veces desde que nos conocemos. Lo hago todo el tiempo, pues no sé que decir. Cada respuesta que busco llega dos segundos muy tarde y ya he dicho alguna otra, algo que tal vez te haga pensar que estoy cuerdo o que le hago caso al mundo cuando lo que quiero es desaparecer. Te veo a los ojos y a veces siento que no crees ni una palabra de lo que digo, entonces escapo detrás del silencio. Y no es que no te quiera ver, es que no puedo verme yo a los ojos y hace años que no sé como soy, nunca me gustó salir a la calle sin saber quién soy.