I love the weather this morning. Even though it makes my hair look more ethnic than Lanie Kazan in a dashiki doing capoiera I still live for misty moisty mornings like these. I was listening to Trace, by Son Volt, which now might seem kinda goofy in its earnestness but it still holds up in its own way. I’ll never forget the first time I heard it, though. Ever hear an album that just seems so incredible, so perfect, that your eyes widen and you look at the person next to you and the look on your face and the feeling in your heart–your awe and reverence–wordlessly communicate Wow? Well, that’s how I felt when I first heard Trace.

I first heard that Jay Farrar had a new band from my friend M, who called me one morning, interrupting some sort of weighty postcoital philosophical inventory, to tell me that I had to get up and go get the new Son Volt album right away; that it was that good. So I woke up whatshisname–let’s call him Number 40, ’cause it’s, um, a nice round number–and told him we had to run an errand. We stopped at the Krispy Kreme on the way to placate him with glucose and caffeine. A half-hour later we were parked in front of the globe on DeRenne, because I was so agog that I didn’t want to drive; I just wanted to listen. Number 40 understood. He was a very understanding guy, as I recall. (If you’re out there, I’m sorry I never called you.) We sat in the car, our heads lolling on the seat backs, eyes squinty in the morning winter superbright sun, awash in sugar and intense aural beauty. It was a perfect album at that moment.

Maybe that kind of shit only happens when you’re young. Greil Marcus said something about every punk rock album seemed to say everything in the world there was to say–or something similarly stupid–but in a way, he was right. There’s a decadent beauty in music when you’re young–it means more, at the time anyhow, and it almost immediately begins to mean less on the next listen. The other night I heard the first Jane’s Addiction album at a bar; it was so nonsequitur and it immediately clocked my reverie. I hadn’t heard it in probably ten years. It was still quite lovely, but foreign. I couldn’t remember why it had been so important to me when I was 15 and stoned and fantasizing all day long about chasing the dragon with Perry Farrell.

It would be nice to hear music that way again.

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