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Don’t Forget to Breathe

I live in the past, music-wise. The distant past. Almost before I was born. After years of claiming that I “liked all kinds of music,” I came to admit to myself that what I really prefer is jazz made before 1969 (the year Miles Davis seminal Bitches Brew was recorded). I haven’t really kept up with popular music for the last, oh, twenty years. I kind of glaze over reading people’s Random Ten posts; I’ve heard of so few of the bands. I depend on friends to expose me to new music. For example, my brother-in-law John just burnt me some compilation CDs (shades of High Fidelity) that I am enjoying immensely. These kids today with their rock and roll are pretty creative, I must say.

One track that leaped up and bit me was “Hardware Store” by Al Yankovic. It’s not a parody (as far as I know), but a paean to the joys of the new hardware store in town. It unfolds at breakneck speed in the tradition of word-packed songs such as “It’s the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)” (R.E.M.) or “One Week” (Barenaked Ladies), although it’s even faster. (The really fast parts aren’t included in the sample.) I ran out of breath just listening to it. How does he do it?

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