The Lumineers were supposed to be a one hit wonder.
I was in a race to make it to the dentist’s office in Beverly Hills. I was running late and the construction on Olympic was gonna make me later, always trust the map app, ALWAYS, as long as it’s not Apple’s, which told me it was gonna take 19 minutes when Google said 26 and was right, but…
Howard is on vacation. In a world with no center we all look to something to cling to. And for millions it’s Howard Stern, we feel we’re part of a community, we know all the players. But when Howard’s gone…
That’s when I listen to music on the satellite.
And now with Mike Marrone gone from the service I decided to work my way up the dial from the Pulse to the Blend to… And I understood the pop tracks but they did not resonate, I felt I was on a fact-gathering mission, looking at the world through a plate glass window, I could hear the music but I could not feel it.
So I pushed up to the Spectrum and that’s where I heard “Angela.”
I was at the intersection of Santa Monica and Wilshire and a woman in leather pants was crossing the street. Inside I laughed, I wondered who she was trying to impress at two in the afternoon. And then I thought back to the days of yore, before the internet, when you’d drive to the city to feel the pulse, to find out what was going on, to experience life. But that’s all been replaced by the internet. Now we all play in the virtual world, that’s where we make and exhibit our bona fides, even if we inflate them. Strange the march of progress, everyone keeps saying it’s got to be stopped but it’s so much easier to play these days, and that’s a good thing, but the landscape has gotten so much more vast, and there are now zillions of famous people, not only the ones you might stumble upon in BH.
Now, although we are experiencing a return to winter in SoCal, it’s still clear and sunny. And with the a/c on, yes, you still need it when the temp’s in the fifties, your car is a greenhouse, you’re in your own cocoon, listening to the music, and this is when I feel best, alone, yet together.
And the funny thing about the Spectrum is the songs they play are both old and new, sometimes recognizable, sometimes not. And I’m thinking back to the days of when I knew every song on the radio, but no one does anymore, if they tell you they do they’re lying.
And I heard a Kings Of Leon song that stuck in my head. I changed the channel for a minute when a classic rocker came on, and then I heard “Angela.”
It was the vibe, the intimacy, the life. The drum machines, the plastic sound of the Pulse and Blend were gone. It was like stumbling from a skyscraper to a saloon, you could feel the wood, the atmosphere brought you right in. My mood changed, I started to smile, I felt great, I felt like someone got me.
But no one gets this. You won’t see “Angela” in the Spotify Top 50, but all the AAA acolytes will tell me it was a “hit” nearly two years ago. But that’s like saying you’re big in Fresno. How are the rest of us supposed to find this stuff, especially if the act is not interviewed on Stern.
When you left this town, with your windows down
You know that feeling, with the radio cranked, not a care in the world, you’re leaving the troubles behind.
The strangers in this town
They raise you up just to cut you down
Oh Angela, it’s a long time coming
I’ve lived in the country, it’s not for me, it’s one of the things I lament about internet culture, everybody knows your business and is in it, they’ve got an opinion on who you are, you’re labeled, you’ve sacrificed your anonymity. That’s the conundrum, we want to be known and we want to be anonymous. That’s why I live in the city, it’s why I don’t post on social media, I don’t want to hear from every person I ever knew, I don’t want to stalk old girlfriends, it’s hard enough to erase their memory from my brain.
But I’m known by some, who will criticize me and my views. I’m too late to “Angela,” it doesn’t have enough changes, it’s too white. It’s hard to shake off the feedback, to play, but I’m trying to.
And what I’m trying to say is just when I find the music world incomprehensible I stumble upon something like “Angela.” I’d like to tell you I found more just like it on the Spectrum, but that would be untrue. Excellence juts out from the landscape like a phoenix. You know it when you hear it. Art is not quantifiable. It’s not about charts, but a feeling in the individual, it’s about changing people, making them feel understood and part of something bigger, connected to the performer.
I love the reference to the Volvo, I love personalization, the blander the lyrics the less interested I am.
And I wish music like this could be heard by more. It’s certainly so much more meaningful than that which is chasing trends. “Angela” is not breaking ground, but it’s timeless. Like the best music, it references what came before, but it’s totally unique.
Angela, on my knees, I belong, I believe
Actually I’m sitting, here at my MacBook Pro. Long after midnight. When I should be winding down. But listening to “Angela” is the only time I’ve felt great all day. And when I pulled it up on my phone just now I had to tell you.
Home at last.