Guess what? I’m not dead inside. For a long time I suspected that I might be. See, rock & roll had lost it’s allure. It had been so long since I’d really fallen in love with a band, a record, hell, even a song that I was sure I had finally succumbed to old age and my heart had died, just like Ally Sheedy said it would in “The Breakfast Club.”
It’s been a rough two years since I discovered The Avett Brothers, and as much as I love them and the way the song “Kick Drum Heart” makes my pulse race and “Murder in the City” makes me tingly, the love of rock & roll cannot be sustained on a single band alone. Much to Huey Lewis’ dismay, the heart of rock & roll had ceased beating.
Bereft, I turned to the country classics and pop music oldies — girl groups of the 60s, Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, and Patsy Cline. While I enjoyed the history lesson, it didn’t make my bones thrum or my heart soar. I tried all the new bands, The Tuneyards (whose goofy capitalization nonsense I refuse to adhere to), Dawes, The Rosebuds. I tried new records by old bands I loved, The Decemberists, Death Cab for Cutie. None of them did much for me. If I were in a coma, these records might have elicited a finger twitch, enough to give everyone hope that I might still come around, but not the miraculous recovery we were all hoping for.
Then, a few weeks ago, I was driving somewhere in Ruby and I heard the song “Romance” by Wild Flag and glory be to god on high, I was born anew.
At about 2:48 in the song there’s some hand clapping accompanied by the words “shake, shimmy, shake” that captured my heart and has not returned it. That four or five seconds was all it took for me to fall ass over teakettle in love with the song. It reminded me of that first time I heard the “Oh ohhh ohhh ohhh” in Glass Tiger’s Don’t Forget Me (When I’m Gone) in 1986. Love at first listen.
The shake shimmy shake in “Romance” prompted me to download the Wild Flag album as soon as I got home (you can get the record for $3.99 today on Amazon). I love it. I love it so much that it’s all I want to talk about. I’ve listened to it every day since I got it. It feels good to be alive inside again.