The Corner

Rock For Life

The English novelist Nick Hornby has a

long-winded but enjoyable

op-ed in today’s

Times, complaining that too little of today’s pop music conveys the ragged

joy of being alive. I think he’s right about that, which is why I gave up on

rock music years ago, for the most part. It just didn’t feed my soul

anymore, not like pre-1960s jazz and sundry folk music does (I’m thinking of

Cuban music, which I discovered while living in south Florida, and which to

me is just about the most joyful and life-giving sound on the planet).

However, I still play some of my old rock albums, because they convey to me

the giddy, propulsive pleasures of being young and alive. I’m dating myself,

of course, but I think of the first four or five REM albums as the

soundtrack to my youth, and I could listen to “The Sidewinder Sleeps

Tonight” from the “Automatic for the People” album over and over and over.

More recently, I’ve found driving alone on the freeway, as fast as I think I

can get away with, and listening to Fountains of Wayne’s power-pop

masterpiece “Welcome Interstate Managers” — especially the cut “Little Red

Light” — provides for pure transcendence.

Any fellow codgers here find anything joyful or life-giving about

contemporary music? Who do you listen to to find it?


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