Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Scoring Dope in the Ghetto, West Coast Speed Freaks, and a Forlorn German Lesbian

By Pauly
San Francisco, CA

Sometimes, it's easy to write a song because life is so weird and yet simple that it can be deconstructed into a catchy song. Lou Reed, Tom Waits, and Jens Lenkman come to mind. They have an uncanny genius-like ability to captured everyday life into song form.

Lou Reed was a junkie and didn't keep his addiction to heroin a secret. His band used to hang out in Union Square at Andy Warhol's infamous Factory. When Lou ran out of smack, he hopped on an uptown subway to Harlem and scored from various sources. As any drug fiend knows, reliable dealers are a rare breed, and most of the time you're dealing with an unorganized flake, or perhaps even a junkie himself. At any rate, Lou was low on supplies and sick as a dog because he hadn't copped in a few days. He wandered around Harlem with $26 and jonesin' to all hell. Yep, only Lou Redd could conjure up a fascinating song about waiting for his dope dealer. The ensuing scene is told in I'm Waiting for the Man...
I'm waiting for my man
Twenty-six dollars in my hand
Up to Lexington, 125
Feel sick and dirty, more dead than alive
I'm waiting for my man

Hey, white boy, what you doin' uptown?
Hey, white boy, you chasin' our women around?
Oh pardon me sir, it's the furthest from my mind
I'm just lookin' for a dear, dear friend of mine
I'm waiting for my man

Here he comes, he's all dressed in black
PR shoes and a big straw hat
He's never early, he's always late
First thing you learn is you always gotta wait
I'm waiting for my man

Up to a Brownstone, up three flights of stairs
Everybody's pinned you, but nobody cares
He's got the works, gives you sweet taste
Ah then you gotta split because you got no time to waste
I'm waiting for my man

Baby don't you holler, darlin' don't you bawl and shout
I'm feeling good, you know I'm gonna work it on out
I'm feeling good, I'm feeling oh so fine
Until tomorrow, but that's just some other time
I'm waiting for my man
I had been listening to Tom Waits for a couple of years before I realized he was white. I saw him for the first time on Saturday Night Live and couldn't believe what I saw. Anyway, Tom Waits had an uncanny ability to turn his daily struggles in anthems. I was always fond of Goin' Out West, because I grew up on the East Coast and went to college in the South, so I was longing for a western excursion. The song always reminded me that some day I was going to make the trek. Someone once told me that Waits was fond of Salinger's Catcher in the Rye and that the Holden Caufield character inspired the theme of Goin' Out West. I often thought Waits was morphing his own experiences about spending time on the West Coast, hanging out with hooligans, and trying to score speed...
Well I'm goin' out west
Where the wind blows tall
'Cause Tony Franciosa
Used to date my ma
They got some money out there
They're giving it away
I'm gonna do what I want
And I'm gonna get paid
Do what I want
And I'm gonna get paid

Little brown sausages
Lying in the sand
I ain't no extra, baby
I'm a leading man
Well my parole officer
Will be proud of me
With my Olds 88
And the devil on a leash
My Olds 88
And the devil on a leash

Well I know karate, voodoo too
I'm gonna make myself available to you
I don't need no make up
I got real scars
I got hair on my chest
I look good without a shirt

Well I don't lose my composure
In a high speed chase
Well my friends think I'm ugly
I got a masculine face
I got some dragstrip courage
I can really drive a bed
I'm gonna change my name
To Hannibal or maybe
Just Rex
Change my name to Hannibal
Or may be just Rex

I'm gonna drive all night
Take some speed
I'm gonna wait for the sun
To shine down on me
I cut a hole in my roof
The shape of a heart

And I'm goin' out west
Where they'll appreciate me
Goin' out west
Goin' out west
My buddy BTreotch turned me onto Jen Lenkmen. The Swedish musician penned a song Postcard to Nina, which was based on a weird relationship he had with a German lesbian. A lot of people can identity with the sad pitfall of falling in love with a lesbian (or a gay guy for all of your habitual fag hags out there). In his postcard turned ballad, Jens recalls how he got stuck in an awkward dinner at Nina's parents' house.
Nina I can be your boyfriend
so you can stay with your girlfriend
Your father is a sweet old man
but it is hard for him to understand
that you wanna love a woman
Nina I can be your boyfriend
if it puts an end to all this nonsense
First time I see you in Berlin
And you don't tell me anything
Until outside your dad's apartment

Oh God, Jesus Christ
I try to focus on your eyes
we're having dinner with your family now
keep a steady look at your left eyebrow

If it's raised, it means yes,
If it's not it means take a guess
Hey! You! Stop kicking my legs
I'm doing my best
can you pass the eggs

Your father puts on my record
he says: so tell me how you met her
I get embarrassed and change the subject
and put my hand on some metal object
He laughs and says that's a lie detector

he Takes out the booklet and starts reading
So i heard you're moving out next season
I say: Yeah, New York is nice that time of year
almost as green as it is here
He says: I thought you were moving to Sweden?

Oh God, what have I done?
i came to Berlin to have som fun
then it turned into buffalo 66
on your fathers wall a big crucifix
guess that's why he wont let u go
his Catholic heart is big and slow
you know I'll do anything for love
but Nina what were you thinking of?

But Nina I can be your boyfriend
So you can stay with your girlfriend
Your father is mailing me all the time
He says he just wants to say hi
I send back "out of office, auto-replies"

Nina I just want to check in
'cause I think about you every second
So I send you this postcard just to say
Don't let anyone stand in your way
Yours truly, Jens Lekman

Don't let anyone stand in your way
Don't let anyone stand in your way
Don't let anyone stand in your way
Don't let anyone stand in your way

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