The Music Meme: Day 3

Day 3: A song that makes you laugh

"Longer Than You've Been Alive" by the Old 97's

There are plenty of novelty songs that have put me in stitches, if only briefly, but it's harder to find a song that can consistently keep me laughing even years after first hearing it.

This one qualifies. It's a first-person narrative by Rhett Miller, whose lyrical gifts tend toward the absurd and amusing in many cases, but in this case it's a beautifully self-referential tale of life in a rock band, and it's hilarious. It's also sloppy, raucous, inspiring, thought-provoking, thoroughly profane, and painfully honest:

Love that comes easy's a fake or a fluke--
Love is a marathon: sometimes you puke.

When I first heard the 97's I wasn't that impressed, but I dutifully accompanied Kelly to a show in Charlottesville and suddenly I realized what their records too often obscured: the rhythm section. I don't know if it was just production muddle in the studio or what, but until I saw them onstage, I had no idea how good drummer Philip Peeples and bassist Murry Hammond are. I thank the sound man at the Jefferson, who had the kick drum loud enough that I could feel it in my sternum, for showing me the light.

This song from 2014, happily, leaves no doubt that this is a rock band, with plenty of thunder from Philip & Murry, while electric guitarist Ken Bethea wails and twangs and growls and screeches in perfect sync with Miller's observations about travel, motels, drugs, alcohol, and career opportunities. It's a beautiful piece of work, kicking off an album (Most Messed Up) that explores much of the song's territory in more detail, and I for one am always ready to laugh, curse, and play it one more time.

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This page contains a single entry by Peter Cashwell published on August 8, 2017 11:24 AM.

The Music Meme: Day 2 was the previous entry in this blog.

The Music Meme: Day 4 is the next entry in this blog.

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