Rush Tom Sawyer 45 played at 33

A buddy posted a video of a Rush Tom Sawyer 45 played at 33 and made a Melvins joke. Perhaps some of you don’t get the reference. Don’t worry about it. It’s not important. But I have to admit that a couple times over the years I’ve realized that I’d been listening to a track at the wrong speed. Had been listening to it a lot sometimes. Maybe even every day. Usually because it didn’t say 45 or 33 anywhere on the label so I guessed and it sounded alright. Sounded great even. Then I’d notice something funny in the cymbals. Cymbals always give it away. Sped up or slowed down, a cymbal will not sound like a cymbal. It’ll sound like some weird metallic thing the drummer hit by mistake. So I’d switch it to the correct speed and the cymbal sounded like a cymbal. Indeed, all the instruments sounded like instruments, sounded so much like real instruments now that the tune wasn’t all that special anymore. Just another tune. Or maybe just another tune that would have been much better played faster or played slower. But when I went back to the wrong speed all I’d hear is that goddamn cymbal sounding so otherworldly and wrong. Fifty times I might have listened to that record and never noticed the distortion in the cymbals. Now that’s all there is, a drummer hitting some weird metallic thing by mistake. So I’d start listening to it at the right speed all the time and it wouldn’t sound as good and after a while I stopped listening to it at all. The song had been ruined. Bitterness resulted. You can only take so much bitterness before you give up and become a jazz critic.

photo by Kymberly Janisch


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