Thursday, October 27, 2005

Boise State's "Arbiter": Advanced?

This is from a guy who writes for Boise State's "independent student newspaper," the Arbiter:

As I write this, it’s about 1:20 in the morning. There aren’t enough hours between now and when I’ll have to get up for work, and I’m wondering what to write about when a line from an old Velvet Underground song comes to me. The song, for the terminally curious, is “Rock and Roll,” what the disk jockeys used to call an oldie but a goodie.

I queue up the song in iTunes to give it a listen. There’s Lou Reed out front, nearly forty years younger and way less ironic, leading one of the legendary bands of rock. What strikes me about the song, listening to it for the first time in years, is how joyful it is. When Lou sings, “Her life was saved by rock and roll,” I get the impression that he feels his was, too. It’s an upbeat song, not just in tempo but in message, and I wonder why I don’t hear that kind of sentiment anymore.

It’s a complex idea, salvation. Most of the time, when I hear someone talking about their life being saved, they mean it in a very literal sense. Someone got them into rehab just in time, kept them from driving into a pileup on the interstate, pulled them from an undertow. You know, the stuff of heroism.

...I think what draws me to the song is not just the idea of salvation, but finding joy in it. There’s something better than simply continuing to live, it says; you can just dance to the rock and roll station, and it was (and is) all right. Simple, direct, without a trace of hip self-awareness. I don’t think Lou Reed could sing “Rock and Roll” that way today; I’d bet it would come out self-mocking or a little sad.

When I hear that song or a precious handful of others, though, I can pick up that joy that Lou was singing about way back when (well, the late-60s, anyway). I can bypass the things in my life that aren’t particularly joyful and for a few musical moments, recharge my hope for the day. Three minutes and change – at the right moment _– and I remember joy. How wonderful is that?

It’s no longer fashionable to say this (if it ever was), but in a way, I think rock and roll saved my life, too, and keeps doing it.
While I can't agree with the part about the current Lou Reed--if he were to sing "Rock and Roll" today, it would not be self-mocking or sad, but it would certainly be Advanced, which is sometimes mistaken for being out of touch or pathetic--this is a nice little sentiment. A key element Advancement is having a genuine affection for rock and roll, so it's nice to see that younger people (I assume the writer is younger) have it too. By the way, blue turf is Overt.

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