22. Live – Throwing Copper
Live. I like Live a lot. I got into them about the time everyone else did, shortly after Throwing Copper was released, and I, Alone, Selling the Drama, and All Over You were being played on the radio, and the I, Alone video was getting some airplay on MTV’s 120 minutes (which, back in the day, was really a good show. sigh [insert comment about MTV completely sucking here]). In typical fashion, I listened to this album endlessly, and quickly associated most of the songs with people, events, situations, etc… Beth and I listened to the album quite a bit when we were all down in Louisiana on a spring break serve project, and she mentioned liking the song Iris, so naturally I associated that song with her. So when that all ended, I stopped listening to the album completely, and it sat for about a year. Eventually Live came out with another album (Secret Samadhi), and I decided to give the old album another listen, and I realized that I still really, really liked it. For the first time, I started really paying attention to the lyrics as well, and started to realize many of them weren’t at all saying what I believed they were saying the first time I listened to the album, and others I just didn’t understand at all. After doing a lot more listening, and some research, I started to get a handle on where things were coming from. Turns out the the lead singer, Ed Kowalcyzk, has some fairly funky ideas about life, death, religion, the universe, and everything. While I tend not to agree with quite a bit of what he’s saying (Live can be almost militantly anti-Christian at times), I found (and still find) it fascinating to listen to him put into words these ideas that obviously mean so much to him. He’s got a great voice, which helps, obviously, but there’s more to it [on this album especially]. There’s an emotion and energy in each song that really forces you to take notice… You’re not just sitting back and listening to Jimmy Buffet warble about cheeseburgers with this album. I’ve mentioned before that I like songs where the lyrics are good poetry in and of themselves (rather than just simplistic poppy choruses and hollow verses. I like lyrics that I would find interesting to read apart from the music. This album has that going for it as well. There is frequent use of colorful metaphors. One my favorites is the line “Pale blue colored iris presents the circle” in Lightning Crashes. The song is about the circle of life and death, as a child is born and a mother dies. This circle of life is seen in the unending circle of the iris. I guess some people would find that lame, but it struck me as being clever.
I’m also a big fan of songs where there are two things being sung at the same time. (i.e. you have at least 2 people singing, but they’re singing different words, but the whole thing flows together quite nicely).. I’m sure there’s a musical term for it […googling…failure. Seeking help… failure. Anyone know that?] Anyway, the song Pillar of Davidson has that going on at the end of it, and I think it sounds excellent. [then there’s always the trick of trying to sing both parts of it while driving in your car…] Polyphony! Thanks Christa!
The other big thing I liked about this album was that I learned to play most of the songs on the album quite quickly. (I believe that the hardest part was learning how to drop the tuning a half step.) When I can play along to the music, I tended to listen to it a lot more, and I’d listen a lot more closely.
Favorite songs: I, Alone, Pillar of Davidson, Horse, Lightning Crashes, Selling the Drama, All Over You.
when all that’s left to do
is reflect on what’s been done
this is where sadness breaths
— Dam at Otter Creek
We are by and large the same
warm bodies, I sense
are not machines that can only make money
— Pillar of Davidson
I tried to think of something deep to say
but my well is dripping dry today