Tuesday, December 16, 2008

135. X - Los Angeles

I bought this album on a whim - I'd only heard passing things about it, mostly from the local DJ who was a big Doors fan and pushed the album because it was produced by Ray Manzarek.

I didn't even get past Your Phone's Off the Hook, But You're Not before I started it over again. I listened to that song about five times before I got to the listening to the rest.

Los Angeles is bleak and dark yet there was something X did to that darkness that made it appealing. It made me feel discarded and it made something wild stir inside me, a feeling of wanting to be wrong or bad or worse than I was. What Springsteen's Born to Run did for some people, Los Angeles did for me. It made me want to get out of this place and go somewhere else, where people felt, where people lived and died in ways that became songs.

When I was 14, I wanted to go to California to embrace a hippie culture that no longer existed. And here, at 17, I wanted to go to California to see a place where people lived like this, where sex and drugs and loneliness could make you so poetic and so dangerous at the same time. I didn't want to be a part of it so much as I just wanted to see it, to feel it and grab some of that decadence and despair that could make someone write words that sat in my stomach like a sickness. Words that made me feel.

I think every 17 year old thinks of breaking out, of doing something different and dangerous, something that would make their parents scream, something that they know they would regret later. I wanted to write poetry. I wanted to live a life that would make me write poetry like this. Every time I felt like that, I'd listen to Los Angeles again and think that it made for great music, but maybe I was better off listening to the music than living it.

Favorite Song: The World's a Mess, It's in My Kiss


Cullen said...

Well, you see how disaffected John Doe was/is. Life always seems nices when wistfully viewed through music, or the grass is always greener or somesuch.

Jeff said...

I was in my first quarter at UC Berkeley in the Fall of 1980 when some dorm-mates grabbed me and said "we're going to see this cool punk band from L.A. You're coming with us." I'd never heard of them, but figured what the hell - I'm game.

Three hours of slam-dancing later, with bruises on just about every part of my body, I knew that I'd truly left home.

To this day, when I'm having my darkest moments, Ray Manzarek's organ solo at the end of "The World's A Mess, It's In My Kiss" helps lift the fog.