“Feel a Whole Lot Better”


I feel like myself again. ¬†I put on something besides pajamas today, even. ūüôā ¬†I’m so proud of myself. ¬†I’m still gonna do nothing but sit around for a day or two, just to be safe. ¬†I hate feeling that cruddy (just like everyone else, I presume). ¬†My brain still feels a little offline, but that’s okay. ¬†I don’t have to be mentally together until next week when I start tutoring for the new semester.

So here’s a little treat from the Byrds. ¬†It’s not really a get well song, but the jangly optimism fits my mood at the moment. ¬†Although the¬†Hullabaloo¬†dancers are just a tiny bit distracting. ¬†And enthusiastic. ¬†Don’t forget enthusiastic.


“My Back Pages”


This song randomly popped into my brain this morning, as songs are wont to do since I got my first ipod a few years ago; my brain seems to be permanently set to shuffle these days. ¬†I feel like there was some sort of train of thought that led to this song, but I can’t quite put my finger on what I was thinking.

The Byrds were the greatest Bob Dylan cover band of all-time. ¬†They had some fine originals, and did some other really great covers, too (“Turn! Turn! Turn!” comes specifically to mind). ¬†But some of the best music they performed were otherwise mediocre Bob Dylan songs. ¬†(I’m going to throw Dylan’s version of “Mr. Tambourine Man” under the bus here as virtually unlistenable; The Byrds really made that song what it was.) ¬†“My Back Pages” was one of their better reclamations.

Really, early Dylan seems tailor-made for The Byrds. ¬†They were a semi-psychedelic country rock band from SoCal, not quite trippy enough for the Jefferson Airplane-Moby Grape crowd but a little too soft for harder rock audiences. ¬†They took Dylan’s stream of consciousness poetry, and set it to jangling guitars and easy harmonies. ¬†It ¬†gave a group that might’ve gotten lost among all the other great music of the time an identity and voice. ¬†What was most interesting is that it wasn’t Dylan’s voice anymore: The Byrds made the songs their own. ¬†Along with Buffalo Springfield, The Byrds created the prototype sound that became California Soft Rock, as personified by acts like the Eagles, Linda Ronstadt, and Jackson Browne. ¬†In this form, it’s not slick or commercial. ¬†The Byrds sound young and alive, sweetly hopeful and free. ¬†There is no cynicism here, even though Dylan’s lyrics are kind of cynical. ¬†“My Back Pages” is about shrugging off the tradition and values you’ve been raised with and finding your own way in the world: “But I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now.” ¬†It seems a little naive to me now. ¬†Only the really young think they know more than the rest of the world. ¬†But the sentiment is right in a lot of ways, too. ¬†You shouldn’t just accept things that are wrong just because that’s the way things have always been. ¬†Question every assumption, challenge every convention. ¬†That’s how the world changes.