Friday, August 14, 2009

Popularity Contest

Do you ever find yourself going back to the same album or song on your iPod on a seemingly regular basis? You know, those that aren't necessarily your favorites, but ones that you're mysteriously drawn to as if satisfying some primal urge? On my walk to work today, it occurred to me that for the past year, I've listened to one particular album ad infinitum -- on the sidewalks, on the subways, on the bus, at my apartment, etc. It isn't my "favorite" album nor do I have any special connection with it on some personal or spiritual level. And I assure you, it has nothing to do with iPod's pointless "rating" feature we accidentally click on from time to time!

But for whatever reason, Johnny Cash's At Folsom Prison/At San Quentin/America is the undisputed, most frequently played recording on my iPod. Why? I have no answer. Obviously, this is a great album. Hell, it's even one of the best. No one (with any concept of good music) would disagree that it ranks amongst the most influential from a historical/cultural perspective over the last 50 years. But there is something more -- something more deep-rooted that reels me in each time. Perhaps I'm hypnotized by Cash's raw, monotone vocals or the everyman's wisdom he so aptly instills; or maybe I'm moved by the hoots and hollers of the prison inmates, who were undoubtedly the most affected by these performances on the most human of levels -- at least more so than any of us; or the fact that Cash put every ounce of sweat and soul into each song that keeps me truckin' on both good days and bad. Even his narration on the America album has a certain soothing, nostalgic quality which brings me back to the storytelling days of my youth -- a better, much simpler time.

So, hats off to you Johnny Cash. You're the most popular guy in class.

What keeps you goin'?


Anonymous said...

can i get a glass a water? i said can i get a glass a water!

Anonymous said...

happy birthday joe bean.