From 1987 (and arguably better than anything he released in the late 80s) comes an unreleased gem from Sir Paul McCartney:
I wonder what made him shelve this? Fear that he'd be seen as dwelling on the past (or condemning the past)? A gut feeling that the lyrics weren't up to snuff? A deep-seated fear that the Blue Meanies know where he lives?
The new Fountains of Wayne album Sky Full of Holes is fantastic.
And there, buried in the second-to-last song (where it slid by unnoticed during my first few listens), is a reference to Totten Pond Road in Waltham, Mass.
The exact place where, more years ago than I care to admit, just off the highway and a short walk from the reservoir, I had my first job out of college.
The company's gone now -- after betting too much on government contracts that fundamentally made no sense, they pivoted ten years ago and tried to make consumer products. This required getting rid of almost all the people who worked on the government jobs -- because people will never tolerate in a consumer product the nonsense the government puts up with.
I don't remember what I worked on there and I only lasted a year before I moved on -- to a company where I worked on something else I can't remember.
But at Totten Pond Road there was a guy I'll call David (which I think was even his name) -- he seemed impossibly old at the time, but probably was only in his 50s.
I can't remember the organizational structure, but David was in charge of a significant part of our project. He had several people working for him and had a wry sense of humor.
He kept to himself, but so did a lot of people there.
Then, one Monday, he was gone.
The direct-deposit of his paycheck hit Saturday at 12:01 am. He emptied his bank account, left his wife, kids, house, and credit cards and took his car.
His wife was panicked, the cops were called, and everyone was hauled into a conference room to answer questions about whether he said anything that indicated he might do something like this.
No one had heard anything and David had been careful not to leave any hints about what he clearly had planned for some time.
A few months later, he called one of his colleagues. He'd moved halfway across the country, taken another job, and decided he needed to start again.
But the weird thing was that he'd done this exact thing before.
David had cleaned out his bank account and left a house and first wife in California to come to Totten Pond Road.
We all sometimes get that crazy dream that we just take off in the car. David did it -- at least twice.
And this morning, with fog rolling in from the coast in Los Angeles, I wondered where David wound up -- and whether he vanished a third time. (I hope he's still around, even though he'd certainly be a lot older now...)
Or just thought about it, then turned his car around and went home.
All of Chuck's Children Are Out There Playing His Licks
She said she was tired.
It was understandable. Between the job that stretched into the evenings and the kid who wouldn't sleep through the night, she had a lot going on.
Even when she could sleep, she'd find herself tossing and turning, wondering where all her energy had gone.
So when she complained over Facebook that she needed something to rejuvenate her, her friends all weighed in -- with most people urging her to take a long tropical vacation.
That wasn't in the cards.
But then her girlfriends urged her to go out with them one night. Like they used to.
To a club, where a band that the hipsters fawn over would play. A band they claimed would be household names within a few months. And here's a chance to hear them in a small club with a few dozen other people.
So she got a babysitter.
And she dressed up in the clothes she used to wear 15 pounds and 5 years earlier.
And she met her (still-single) friends. They refused to take her "Mom-car" and piled into the trendy sports car owned by her trendiest, hippest girlfriend.
And they paid $15 to park.
And $11 each to get into the show. And $17 for drinks. (Until some guys showed up and bought them a couple rounds.)
The next day, she took to Facebook to report on what happened.
The music was a lot louder than she remembered. And she forgot to bring earplugs.
The drinks were a lot more watered-down than they used to be. And the band was sloppier (or maybe the bands were always sloppy but she hadn't noticed when the drinks were stronger).
And at the end of the night, she was happy. But even more tired than she used to be.
While it may be true that Rock & Roll Never Forgets, I wouldn't necessarily trust its memory either.
...save every day like a treasure and then, again...
"It used to be better," she said.
I nodded. "Much better."
"I mean, they had to change the packaging and I really liked the old package."
"And the flavor. It tastes different now."
"Not as good."
I nodded again.
We were silent for a long time. Sitting on the big rock that balanced at the edge of the waterfall near the state park that we'd agreed had to be the most beautiful state park in the entire world.
"A lot of things used to be better," she said. "Not just the food."
And I looked around and thought of the many things in our hometown that used to be better and had changed. And the many things in art and music and movies and literature that were so much worse than what had come before.
And I had to agree with her.
We smiled, confident and comfortable in the fact that we alone had a handle on what was right and what had gone wrong.
It was that brief moment when we knew literally everything there was to know. When we had discovered the absolute and total truth.
We were 14 years old.
Soon, we'd be smart enough to realize how much we didn't know. But that one cloudy afternoon, we knew it all.