hello! i love you! it has been forever.
we didn’t die yet and nobody ever made us grow up. what we did do is graduate from college, move to california, move to ohio, learn all sorts of things, have all sorts of conflicting feelings on neon, get long hair, chop it all off (x2), acquire a beautiful doggie (now we’re very much gittin’ along, thank you kindly), and sell our hearts not only to that wide yawpy expanse of american root-sy rock’n’roll-sy analog, but to that brave new thing: THE SYNTH.
here’s a story: i grew up hearing lots about the synthesizer. my mother was once in love with a gentleman who played the synth. his name was something like gary beedlecheese (would i shit you?), and my grandpa jack didn’t like him because he was catholic. (or maybe because he played the synth)? anyhow, my lil’ mama loved ol’ gary the synth man dearly — his musicianship had a special mystique all its own, which was, as you can imagine, DOUBLY, NAY, EVEN TRIPLY AMPLIFIED by what scientists and doctors might call The Lure of the Early Synth. anyway, gary broke her heart, or they otherwise parted ways, so my mama never much liked synthesizers. (she also woke up levitating once, no joke, in hawai’i, but this is a story for another genre.)
ANYHOW. you know what they say about baldness, horse-farming and passions: these things skip a generation and are expensive to feed! so here we are, in 2015. it would be dangerous and impossible to try to get this here blog up-to-date on the musical journeys we’ve taken since we began (born out of a fiery love for gram parsons which became ACTUAL FIERY LOVE, see, kids, what the rock and the roll can do for you?), but suffice it to say that yours truly has fallen into mad love for the synth pop. it started in 2011, when i was interning at an amazing little quaker high-school way out there in the high foothills of the sierra nevadas, and DJ’ing midnights at KVMR-FM, doin’ a little show on the 20s and 30srpm era and the craze for rural vernacular musics. in the spring, i started teaching a class on the history of american popular music to my little experimental seminar of two, and i quickly realized: CHILD. YOU CANNOT LIVE WILF CARTER AND BUDDY HOLLY FOREVER. culture, indeed, marches on beyond 1959!
(woe unto me. i had, truly, not known.)
anyhow, long story short: somehow i managed not to ramble on forever and ended up with a few extra weeks of class — which was supposed to end, y’know, right after the rise of real-deal (what’s that you say!) rock’n’roll. i wrote to jeff, and said HI JEFF I LOVE YOU and also HEY CAN YOU TELL ME THE HISTORY OF PUNK. with his amazing primer, i started staying on at the station after the end of my 4am shift, and spending the sunrise hours perusing the KVMR stacks in search of audible gold.
somewhere along the way, i started picking up things i’d never heard of. one of those things happened to be left of the dial — an incredible three-volume comp of early 80s new wave and synth pop that LITERALLY BLEW MY MIND. i have vivid memories of driving over the bay bridge to see my darling bestie in oakland, transfixed by the church or this-one-weird-song-called-“Enola-Gay”-pretty-sure-it-is-ACTUALLY-about-the-bombing-holy-shit-but-also-a-love-song-also-SYNTHS.
and that was it for me.
when i fell for Orchestral Manoeuvers in the Dark, i fell hard. i didn’t like the 80s. i didn’t like weird croony-breaky front-and-center male vocals. i certainly didn’t think — me, toting around my broke-ass banjo named grayhound abilene from columbus to the west coast — that i would like synths. but, a year later, i’d moved to columbus to work in an ice cream factory (kind of) and had two impeccably dressed wedding-cake groom statues in my office named PAUL and ANDY. the ways of love are mysterious.
these, by no means, are my favorite OMD songs, and the paean could go on and on. (one of these days, if i can get over my worship, i’ll send something in to ROOKIE, the best place, hands-down, for human beings feeling feelings and loving this crazy life on the whole internets). but, for now, since i’m skerrrrred to get back into this here blogging, i’m going to keep it simple, and just post BEAUTIFUL THINGS THAT’VE SEIZED MY SPIRIT and try to do it each day of the week.
today’s songs are OMD’s JOAN(S) OF ARC — both “Joan of Arc” and “Joan of Arc (Maid of Orleans)”, the first two songs on the B-side of Architecture in Morality, pretty much (SPOILER ALERT!!!) the best album of all timez of the world. these two are subtle. i’m featuring them first, because my real-deal favorites on this album usually take up all of my love and lust and wordcount; but i have one of those nifty Crosley “Stack-O-Matic” records, so today, i didn’t even have the option of gushing over the A-side: the B-side came down first, and i re-realized the simple splendor and beauty and just ferocious emotional soundscape also can i say, weirdness! of these two songs.
they’re both andy songs. (OMD has andy songs, and paul songs. they’re very different. andy songs are like — john and paul all rolled into one; paul’s more of a george + ringo. usually i’m a paul sort of gal — his have this ethereal, wistful quality that somehow gets me even deeper than andy’s ferocious driving melodic hooks; but today i’m paul, because these songs get at the best of both worlds.
without further ado, for your melting-wintry splendor:
1. “Joan of Arc” (Architecture & Morality, 1981)
CAN WE JUST TALK ABOUT THE PART WHERE HE SAYS HE WANTS TO
BONE JOAN OF ARC AND THEN SHE BECOMES AN ALIEN. PLEASE. thank you.
2. “Joan of Arc (Maid of Orleans)” (Architecture & Morality, 1981)
here’s to you, gary beedlecheese! someone still loves you somewhere.
all love, from these many years,