Friday, August 20, 2004
Fatcitizen's Incontrovertible Laws of Rock Number 5, The LASH principle: People write/record better songs when they are lonely, angry, sad or horny. No exceptions. Rock n' roll came from the blues. The blues are lonely, angry, sad and horny. Look at your record collection. The LASH songs always win over the in-love, content, happy, and sexually satisfied ones. Always. Sometimes it's a close race (Richard Thompson sorta happy: Feel So Good vs. Richard Thompson very sad: Vincent Black Lightning, 1952). Sometimes it's nearly a dead heat (Elvis in love: All Shook Up vs. Elvis lonely: Heartbreak Hotel) but the winner is always, always the LASH song. Think about it: Hendrix angry: Hey Joe Hendrix happy (ok, Hendrix stoned): Little Wing Billy Bragg lonely: The Saturday Boy Billy Bragg in love: Sugar Daddy The Clash angry: Straight to Hell or White Riot (or any of half of greatest songs ever recorded). The Clash happy: Ummmmm, anyone? Luckily for us, Steve Earle understands the Fifth Law of Rock. Luckier still, he's really, really pissed. His new record, The Revolution Starts Now drops Tuesday and, given what you can hear from the three tracks on his web site, it’s full of bile and tasty guitars. If there’s one criticism it’s that Revolution sounds like it could have been a b-side from 2002’s Jerusalem. The tone is the same – umm well, angry – and so are the arrangements. Don’t get me wrong, there’s no need to make a radical departure (Steve did that with The Mountain, a bluegrass album recorded with The Del McCoury Band in 1999, it wasn’t my cup of tea) but it’s sometimes interesting to hear a little experimentation (and no, the hand claps on this track don’t count). Then again, as long as he doesn’t do anything artistically suicidal like falling in love or something, there’ll always be hope. Visit Steve Earle on the web. Buy Steve Earle’s The Revolution Starts Now.