Friday, January 12, 2007

The Wire and David Baerwald


This is Lindsay's look du jour---her Snow White night gown, a "pack-pack", something to read as she watches Hairspray for the hundreth time and pretending she's on her way to school. She's wacky.

Anna has lost her second and third teeth this week--second of front lower, first front upper---consecutive days. Too bad she owed her Dad all the tooth fairy money for a Hot Wheels purchase last weekend. She didn't mind too much...

The Wire to be syndicated on BET
Rob and I have just finished, with great sadness, viewing the third season of The Wire. I began watching it on my own when the first seasaon aired; for some reason Rob didn't get into it and I found it a little too intense to watch on my own. I have a huge guilty affinity for gangster themes of any sort; HBO's Homicide series was a major weekly event in our early courtship and marriage---Rob would sometimes say that his best friend was Det. Frank Pembleton. Let's just say all these things rolled up against our early early romance in Baltimore has led us now to this huge infatuation with The Wire.

I don't mean to gush, but let me tell you all the things this show gets right:
authenticity of locale---I can take you to those places in B'more and people will walk, sound and look like what you see in the series---its frighteningly documentary-like, actually.
Complicated and provocative plot-lines---this series doesn't hand you everything and will engage your brain. The issues presented are tough, inner city ones and will make you question the way we do business in our governmental programs, confront social disparities.
Tragically flawed good guys---makes for heartbreaking "relationships" with the characters.
Great music and guest stars--

I'm just saying, if you can handle some cursing, some confusion, some naked butts and allow yourself to be transported.... catch it on BET (beginning soon, from the first season) when it premieres there or rent the DVD's.

In general, Rob and I rarely watch real time television together---of course he's got his ESPN thing---but I really enjoy these evenings after the kids go to bed and we can watch several episodes of our current favorite shows on TiVo or DVD. If an exciting plot development occurs at the end of the hour, we don't have to wait the torturous week... now, if HBO will just get on with it and release the fourth season of The Wire on DVD...

And speaking of gangsters and HBO, let's not overlook the fact that A&E is going to begin running The Sopranos from the very first episode tomorrow evening---OOPS, make that January 10.



David Baerwald: Bedtime Stories

In 1990 (or so), a fellow grad student was burbling with excitement about the impending release of this album; I respected her opinion, liked what she said and was in need of some musical relief from the books. I bought it without a clue, really, of what I was going to find. I don't want to belabor the fact that in grad school I had seriously little money---buying a cd was something I did once every couple of months. This was a big deal.


I've mentioned Baerwald once before here but never followed through on posting something more. I'll be plain: I LOVE THIS ALBUM. In my mind there are two albums I know of that are honest, truthful, musical accounts of the darker side of love. DB's Bedtime Stories and Springsteen's Tunnel of Love....both huge favorites of mine. At the time of this purchase, I had recently ended a torturous, long love affair with an ill-chosen man(child) and was perhaps beginning to fall for someone amazing who was----alas---in love with someone else. Of course that didn't stop him from toying with me a bit, or me from plunging headlong....


I'd like to spend some time on this album because it brings together so many things: honest accounts of love's failures, good music, great singing, breathtaking language for the lyrics. Today we have "Colette"...

got stopped by a cop for oblivious driving

my hands were on the wheel but my mind was in hiding

it was rattling around with those crazy thingsthat you said

how you were born to be alone

I know as well as you what put those crazythings in your head

I'm just so tired of being alone and

I don't care about a thing but the way your hairc urls around your throat

and hangs like my questions

colette hold up your head

look me in the eye and deny every word you've said

colettee--come back to bed

remember that we are in love---colette

I don't want to talk

all I want to do is be with you

whatever you say

I'll pretend I agree with you

you should know by nowI would never interfere

I would never interferewith this chance you've been given

but there's a wall up between us

a wall we built

there's a wall up between us

I'm climbing it

and I don't care about a thing

but the way your lips try to resist

then respond when we kiss

colette--hold up your head

look me in the eyeand deny every word you've said

colette come back to bed

remember that we are in love


I don't know what to say about these lyrics---they have such desperation, such longing, brutal intimacy into the thoughts of a man trying not to lose his love... DB's voice brings much to the impact of the lyrics as well in addition to the rather tense relationship of musical voices and key of the tune...and do you notice how long it takes the subtle, but certainly palpable, dissonance to resolve---how the violins come in and stir up the senses like so much desperation? Seriously artful. More than a groove, more than a poem set to a predictable and pleasant rhythm.


Because I'd like to post and talk about several tracks from this album, I don't think I should leave the audio files up for very long to avoid claims of unlawful distribution but I hope you enjoy it. I suppose that I am now doing with this post what I've wanted to do all along---begin to unravel the mysteries of why certain music has such appeal for me and others not so much. A few things are abundantly clear--and from this sample from my library I will attribute my love of it to the literary quality of the lyrics, the aching honesty and the male voice over guitar melody. Always big favorites for me. I hope you enjoy it. Isn't interesting, then, that it wasn't until some months ago that I went looking for more of DB's work? This one album---it has captivated me entirely---for sixteen years! A final note for background, prior to this release, DB had released "Welcome to the Boomtown" as half of David and David; some five years later he was a major player in Sheryl Crow's debut "Tuesday Night Music Club" handing in writing, guitar and production credits. Most interesting (to me, its my blog!), is that he is primary author for "Strong Enough" from that album which is probably one of my all-time favorite songs. More on that after Baerwald.

1 comment:

Lori said...

The Wire is one of my absolute faves :)

LBH