reasons #7 & #8 to see Paul Westerberg at the Pantages this weekend: ‘bookmark’ and ‘born for me’

i can’t remember who it was, but i was talking to someone not so long ago about the music of paul westerberg. they were trying to make some inane distinction between older and newer solo westerberg, and i would have none of that nonsense. because, to be honest, i guess i don’t study his music enough to really get that deep into it. i know that probably comes as a shock, but when it comes to the creepy fandom of paul westerberg, i’m a total lightweight.

anyway i told this person whom i cannot remember that i put all of paul’s (we’re talking solo paul, grandpaboy, and the ‘mats) into one of two catergories: the butt shakers or heartbreakers. i dig both the butt shaking and heart breaking equally. it appeals to my dual-personalitied gemininess.

i also remember telling someone (again who i can’t remember, because clearly i’m in the early stages of alzheimers) that the reason i love the music of paul westerberg so much is that it’s like he cracked open my heart and read the words written there and put it to music.

while Chuck Klosterman might think i’m a total idiot, (to wit: this excerpt from the fabulous Fargo Rock City:
If the Replacements’ “Sixteen Blue” touches their life in a wonderful and specific way, that has very little to do with Paul Westerberg. What Westerberg did was write a great song that is (a) catchy, and (b) populist. He’s brilliant, but not because his music can speak to an individual; he’s brilliant because he can speak to millions of individuals and make each one of them feel like he’s specifically talking to them. In an emotive sense, Westerberg helps people affect themselves, and he can do it on a mammoth scale. But diehard Replacements fans refust to think of his songs this way. If they did, it would make the whole experiene of listening to “Sixteen Blue” on a lonely Friday night a lot less meaningful.) but i don’t really care.

i don’t care if hundreds of thousands of people listen to the song ‘Bookmark’ off of “Suicaine Gratifaction” and thing ‘oh my god, he’s writing about me!’ because really, if someone else sees themselves in that song, then i’m not totally alone. if i’m not the only one who thinks that words like:
“to this day
There is no one you trust
Father left your mom
They say you were crushed
Like the petals of a flower
Between pages of a novel
A long forgotten bookmark.”

suit them perfectly, who thinks ‘wow, the book and the trust issues and the father that left (father, not dad, father), that’s fucking me,’ then i’ve got a friend out there somewhere that i just haven’t found yet.

‘bookmark’ rates right up there as one of my favorite heartbreakers, along with ‘born for me.’ and while i like to think that ‘born for me’ was written about someone just like me, i’m not quite the person he’s writing about, yet.

“When the lonliest eyes
And the emptiest arms
Finally decide to meet
With a head in a lap
And a tongue tied in knots
Then the lonliest eyes
Try and speak.”

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1 Comment

  1. Holtz 01.Nov.04 at 11:22 pm

    I’m kinda surprised you read Fargo Rock City, I loved the book but I really am a sucker for hair metal. I also enjoyed his second book Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs.


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