Cantiones sacrae

‘In your status line, list 10 albums that have stayed with you in some way. Don’t take more than a few minutes and don’t think too hard – they don’t have to be the “right” or “great” works, just the ones that have touched you. Tag 10 friends, including me, so I’ll be able to see your list!’

So i wrote Best of Foreigner, Best of Styx, Best of Foreigner and Styx, Journey: a tribute to Foreigner and Styx, Boston: the Guitar Solos, Best of Toto, Best of Kansas, Best of Toto When Not in Kansas Anymore, A Lot of Shitty Bob Dylan Songs No One Talks About, and Brian Wilson’s Trout Mask Sandbox.

“Right” or “Great”. That is the written equivalent of the kind of guy who says they don’t have to be the “right” or “great” works and makes little finger quotes when he says right or great. Personally, I hate quotation marks. I almost never use them. It really bothers me when I have to use them. There is no such thing as quotation marks in spoken language, hence our meme author here and his finger quotes. Or “finger quotes”. Finger “quotes”. I hate quotation marks.

I also hate ten best lists, and I really hated this touchy feely ten albums that have stayed with you in some way list. People are so soft and sensitive anymore. Music has become a plush toy. Even crazy ass music. People will llist Black Flag, The Dead Kennedys, Albert Ayler, James Taylor, Paul Simon, where once Black Flag hated James Taylor and vice versa and Albert Ayler probably made Paul Simon’s remaining hair hurt.  Music revolutions crazy and violent and scary are just numbers on a best ten list, next to the very things they were rebelling against. The internet emasculates everything.

Did I mention I hate referring to rock albums as “works”? I do. Mainly because most of the works are crap. “Crap”. But for some reason people have to think of their favorite rock’n’roll records as works now. Significant, Art. Another Sergeant Pepper. Not that Sergeant Pepper has aged well. A Day in the Life has, but a lot of the rest of it seems slighter every passing year. And the years do pass, and eventually no one will listen to Sergeant Pepper at all. Except for A Day In the Life. Works tend to fade away like that. Jazz history is littered with works that were once “right” and “great”. All kinds of music have their lost works. One generation’s classic for all time is another’s something grandpa use to listen to. I have an old vinyl copy of Heinrich Schütz’s Cantiones sacrae that he wrote at the height of the Thirty Years War and is perhaps the most beautiful music I have ever heard. My great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandfather (or even his father) might have heard it at a mass somewhere. I suppose if I had to pick a “right” or “great” work that would be well up near the top of the list. It’s aged well, at least the version by some obscure central European combo I have on this old Nonesuch LP. I stumbled on to it by chance in Eastside Records in Los Feliz years ago. It cost me a quarter or so. I play it late at night when our neighborhood is so hushed and you can sit on the couch and listen and be transported and all seems quite different. Odd how something so exquisite could have been written at a time when Germany was being almost annihilated by the destruction and murder and rapine of the Thirty Years War. Or maybe not so odd. Maybe that is the environment that creates works right and great. I wouldn’t know, life now is quite gentle and I just babble away in this blog changing absolutely nothing.

But I digress. And none of that above had anything to do with why I repeated my smartass album list here. I didn’t even repeat it here because I think it is especially funny. I listed it so some nerdy Beach Boy fan will google Trout Mask Sandbox. And you know some will.  Anytime you fuck with a Brian Wilson fan, it’s a funny thing. I’m not sure why, it just is.

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