Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Wildly iconic

I spun Love's Forever Changes the other night and as "The Red Telephone" played, I had visions of Arthur Lee striking his best Michael-Corleone-at-the-end-of-The Godfather: Part II pose—plunked in a chair, hand to mouth, all withdrawn and brooding and menacingly handsome. Looking wildly iconic and shit.

Of course, there's more to Love's masterstroke than men transforming themselves into icons (all while firmly preserving what makes them human). Released in November of 1967, Forever Changes was issued during a period when the album was becoming the preferred creative medium for artists. But like a certain LP regularly picked apart here in our tiny corner of the Internet, Forever Changes forced listening audiences to reconsider how albums were composed. How should you immerse yourself in an artist's long-player, when you know that it will all end swiftly and pitilessly? Love's response to this question was to communicate something new and vital: albums are not about beginnings and ends. They're about journeys—paths chosen, emotions experienced, knowledge gained, connections established, hatreds cultivated, new loves forged, time beautifully spent.

Forever Changes and Astral Weeks are heavily infused with movement; every word and note conveys a sense of action. Listening to either album, my heart flutters, the soles of my feet vibrate—I feel like I'm in a rapidly speeding train, the scenery outside the window an opaque blur of color. Where I am going is inconsequential—that I am moving is what matters.

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