Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Analog Man

I ... don't know how to feel about this.

Driving home from rehearsal tonight, I heard the KLPX DJ announce a new song. New? KLPX does classic rock. The most recent songs they ever play are from the '90s.

The track was "Analog Man" by Joe Walsh, and yes, it was new. Lots of references to high-speed internet, spam, etc.

I really wanted to like this song.

And I kind of do. Musically speaking, it's fun. It sounds like a natural evolution of '70s rock and roll, one of my preferred genres. But the lyrics? Here's an excerpt:
What's wrong with vinyl, I think it sounds great
LPs, 45s, 78s
But that's just the way I am
I'm an analog man
Another ...
The whole world's glued to the cable TV
It looks so real on the big LCD
Murder and violence are rated PG, too bad for the children
They are what they see
I can't help but think that the guy who wrote "My Maserati does 185 / I lost my license, now I don't drive" could come up with something a little more subtle.

Beyond that, though, there's a certain disconnect. I associate this style of rock with youth and rebellion and forward motion. But the song's message is essentially, "Things are different now than they used to be, and that's terrible."


Do me a favor. Remind me that I reacted this way when technology and cultural trends get ahead of me, and I yearn for a simpler time when I understood what was going on.

Or, hell, remind me whenever I go on about how much better classic rock was.


DrFred said...

I could watch, and listen to, Joe play guitar for hours, but I agree, the song is disappointing. Even with some of the lyrics ringing true. Could do without the digitized sounding bridge as well.

Brian McDonald said...

He was already turning into an old fogey back in 1983 when he recorded "Space Age Whiz Kids". The first verse of that sounds like it'd fit just fine in "Analog Man":

"I used to play that pinball, I used to go outside/I had to spend my money, get on your bus and ride/I used to go out dancing, put on my high-heeled shoes/Get in my short black chevy, go on a downtown cruise/I feel a little bit mixed up, maybe I'm obsolete/All us pinball pool sharks, we just can't compete"

This is clearly not a man who embraces change. I can only imagine what 29 years of it have done to his attitude. Well, I guess I don't really have to imagine it, I can just listen to "Analog Man" again.

Of course, I first heard this on a music website, so who knows, maybe he'll catch up to the internet age in another 20 years or so.

cinderkeys said...

I hadn't heard "Space Age Wiz Kids" before! If you feel like getting all nostalgic over the new-fangled things Joe Walsh was complaining about, the video is here:

Yeah, this isn't a guy who embraces change. Or sees the bigger picture. He makes fun of kids for spending all their time on arcade games while bemoaning the lost art of pinball and pool-sharking, as though those things were so much more valuable.

On the other hand, there's less of a disconnect with "Space Age Wiz Kids." I can handle that "get off my lawn" attitude when it's not taking itself so seriously. You can't tell so much from the lyrics, but it's funny with the musical arrangement.

Jeff Shattuck said...

Joe Walsh is one of the greatest guitar players of all time and was once a formidable songwriter. This "new" tune feels like a rehash. Worse, it sounds awfully digital and I would wager it was done on Pro Tools!

DeppityBob said...

The music was listenable, but when Joe Walsh gets preachy, he over-enunciates. He really wants to get his message across, and as Brian said, his message is: god damned kids! When I was their age, we used to roll down the street on a skateboard made out of a board and furniture wheels, and hit a ramp we made out of bricks and boards, and then we'd fall off and hit our heads and suffer major concussions! And we LIKED IT!

cinderkeys said...

The digital sounds don't bug me so much. I thought they integrated pretty well into the arrangement -- hence "natural evolution of '70s rock and roll." But man, I expect better of the songwriting.

It isn't even that I don't sympathize. Printed books are going the way of the dinosaur, and I mourn their loss. I will miss the smell and feel of books. At the same time, I understand why kids who grow up with e-books won't share my feelings. There's nothing inherently wonderful about the scent of printed pages. I think it's wonderful because of years of conditioning.

C'mon, Joe Walsh. There's a reason you probably rolled your eyes when your grandparents expressed sentiments like this.

John Wenger said...

It's just a song, everybody., and it's inspiring. I think I'm gonna write a song called "Nostalgia Ain't What It Useta Be."