After a lot of procrastination, your friendly webgals at My TV, My Peanut Butter have finally decided to follow through with a column we’ve discussed since very early on, but never actually managed to move forward. We wax stupid on TV, Kristy has the movies well in hand, and goodness knows we’ve got random famous people covered, but what about music? Here we go. And since Cammy’s going first (and because Monday was taken up with our coffee dates), we’re going with Mittwoch. She might have considered Miércoles, but A) Spanish is Kristy’s forte and B) that requires an accent mark and Cammy is lazy (she’s also drinking Frankfurt-style Applewein and communing with her inner Teutonic-ness).
Musikalisher Mittwoch: “Changes in Latitude” – Jimmy Buffet
Okay, so Cammy has had a crappy past two weeks, culminating in a crappy-beyond-crappy day today (with no sign of good weather on the horizon for tomorrow). I am firm believer that the the right song can cure what ails you (all the more so if aided by a good beer).
It took me half the night to choose the right one from the library. I should have known to start with the man whose music is usually like a big, happy pile o’ zen for me: Jimmy Buffett.
With summer just abandoning us and the Gulf Coast having featured (sadly) so heavily in the news lately, Gulf Coast Native and paragon of the southern-beach lovin’ set, Jimmy Buffett has actually been fairly prominent in the public conscience lately. For me, he’s a staple (I’ve considered just giving in and declaring myself a parrot-head, but I need too much sunblock to really qualify), and this evening, that staple came through with “Changes in Latitude”
“All of our running and all of our cunning / If we couldn’t laugh, we just would go insane….”
As I clicked through my library, numerous song-hooks seemed to apply to my current state of mind only to dissolve into the never-ending cliche of love lost or gone wrong. While I’m sure my lack of a love life probably doesn’t result in a positive spin to my current work-life inspired depression, it’s not the bigger issue. After a day of pure stress and being totally unable to let go of an issue that I ought to dismiss, nothing whacked it into me that I was truly going insane quite like “Changes in Latitude, Changes in Attitude”. And laughter had been conspicuously absent throughout this ordeal….
I can’t necessarily have the change in latitude, but I could sure use the change in attitude and this piece certainly helped. You start with the easy rhythm you find in so many Buffett tunes. It inspires movement, but smooth movement. One doesn’t rock-out to something like “Changes in Attitude, Changes in Attitude” –one sways. It’s familiar even when it’s new, and has that blend of south/west/island that conjures the Gulf of Mexico in a way that’s inexplicable. Since I literally can’t remember a time before I knew Jimmy Buffett’s voice and distinctive musical style, there’s a nostalgic comfort to this sound beyond the inherently calming, moderately-paced and utterly two-step-able rhythm. Personally? I could stop there. I determined years ago that the sound of a song is often where I draw most of my comfort–words are secondary.
But, this song delivers on the lyrics. Just as the laid-back rhythm inspires a state of zen, so does the message of letting go, looking forward and moving beyond the crap.
“If it suddenly ended tomorrow /I would somehow adjust to the fall / Good times and riches and sonofabiches / I’ve seen more than I can recall…”
Ain’t that the truth?
However, the best fit is in the fact that while the song explains that if we couldn’t laugh, we’d go insane–it’s not a song that really inspires laughter. Nothing in this really sounds, well, jolly. It’s a perfect fit for the moment when you know, logically, you have to let it go. You’re still working toward that moment when you can laugh about that enormous fuck up you made at work, and how little it means in the grand scheme of life the universe and everything….but you’re not actually laughing yet. The song keeps that even-keel the entire time. And the repetition “If I couldn’t laugh, I just would go insane / If we couldn’t laugh we just would go insane / If we weren’t all crazy, we would go insane….” is like a mantra repeated to drive that message home and convince you that you really can ditch the b.s. and have a laugh. This is not the song you play when you know it’s all crap, it’s the song that type A’s like me play as we get to that place where we can really accept that it’s crap.
“Yesterday’s over my shoulder / So I can’t look backward too long / There’s just too much to see / Waiting in front of me…”
And on that note, I leave you all to your beverages of choice and if your day has been shit and you’re not physically able to change your latitude, commune for 3 minutes and 16 seconds with Jimmy Buffett and at least work on changing the attitude.