480. sitting

“Every generation has its pluses and minuses. Born in 1959 means you pretty much missed the 1960s entirely, except from an outside-looking-in little kid’s perspective. Turn eleven in 1970 and you’ve got the Beatles breaking up, Bob Dylan going into hiding, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin all dead within three months. On the other hand, turn thirteen in 1972 and you had the likes of Cat Stevens riding high not just in charts but also in terms of serious artistic cred. Here was a guy laying it all out for you, direct from his cosmic soul — the nebulous and paradoxical truth about this, that, life in general. All just a maze of doors which opened from the side I was on. I still believe that. I still keep opening doors.” (Philip Random)

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529. Cuyahoga

“I gave up trying to figure out what Michael Stipe was on about very early on. The first few REM albums, he was mumbling, which made it easy. But then, come Life’s Rich Pageant, he was suddenly enunciating, you could now decipher words – they just weren’t adding up. Except maybe Cuyahoga. Because I’d read about the Cuyahoga as a little kid. The river that was so polluted with man made chemicals and whatever that it actually caught fire, Cleveland, Ohio, 1969. That’s the kind of fact that’s all too meaningful.” (Philip Random)

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549. the meaning

Stupidtramp as some eventually came to call them were actually pretty darned good until they started selling bucketloads of records. Fact is, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t love them for a while in the mid-70s, Crisis What Crisis? in particular – a solid forty plus minutes of thoughtful, innovative, ambitious pop … and beyond. The Meaning gets the nod here, because it’s damned important. Meaning, that is. Assuming there is one.” (Philip Random)

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605. just like Tom Thumb’s blues

“The people I feel sorry for are the ones who try to make definitive sense of a Bob Dylan lyric, particularly the stuff from his pre-motorcycle-crash-peak-amphetamine (and whatever else) period. I mean, take the first two lines of Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues. When you’re lost in the rain in Juarez and it’s Eastertime too – And your gravity fails And negativity don’t pull you through. You can go anywhere from there. Or nowhere. Which is the whole point, of course. Maybe. What I mean is, I first heard it when I was maybe fourteen, three decades ago now, and I’m sure I’ve heard it hundreds of times since, but I still couldn’t tell you what any of it’s actually about. Not a single line. And I don’t care. It takes me regardless, maybe nowhere at all. And if you don’t get the appeal in all that, then there’s someone you need to meet. His name is Mr. Jones.” (Philip Random)

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