Saturday, September 30, 2006

Brooklyn Roads (1968) – Neil Diamond

There comes a day when one’s childhood seems to have transpired during an entirely different lifetime, a day when one is free to re-construct monuments from the shards of what at the time were perceived shortcomings. Neil Diamond pensively captures this moment of resolution in “Brooklyn Roads,” a rapt recollection of days spent struggling to find academic bearings in the midst of an overwhelming imagination that caused him to flounder at school. He recalls the scents and sounds of apartment life, the comfort of his father’s beard, the fantasies he would indulge to escape his life of mediocrity. Throughout, a somber brume of French horns, strings and melodica underscores the ebb of auld lang syne—as when one, upon awakening from a nap, gasps in the acute realization that death is certain, and the past, irretrievable. The mind reaches back to rummage for what the heart craves, perhaps finding vicarious consolation in the belief that Home still redeems the fanciful reveries of youth.

  • Listen to "Brooklyn Roads" and purchase from iTunes Music Store.
  • See also "Shilo" (1968) – Neil Diamond.
  • Wednesday, September 13, 2006

    A Thugz Mansion In Heaven’s Ghetto: Tupac Shakur—10 Years Gone

    While it is fun to speculate as to whether or not he is really dead, today—September 13, 2006—marks the 10th anniversary of Tupac Amaru Shakur’s death.

    Although for practically that entire decade I could have cared less about Tupac—believing his music said nothing to me about my life (to borrow from Morrissey)—I recently came to realize that his lyrics reflect a poetic truth about the human condition. In his music, conflicting emotions, values and beliefs collide in a fusion of rage, bravado, and compassion, yet flow out in terms that not only the mind understands, but the heart embraces. He was blessed with a distinctive voice, a prolific pen, an uncanny ear for rhythmic wiles, a perspicuous lyrical style that seamlessly blurred the line between reality and fiction, and profound insight into the interplay between his own desires, fears, joys, pain, anxieties, strife, triumphs, and failures, as well as those he could see in his community and society in general. Plus, the beatz is bangin’.

    Despite his thug persona, Tupac’s oeuvre evinces an irrepressible artist’s sensitivity as much as it does a ruffian’s weary worldview, allowing others to understand his ambitionz az a ridah. We picture you rollin’, ‘Pac.

  • See also "If I Die 2Nite" (1996) — 2Pac.