I think it’s time to declare Paul Westerberg’s “Folker” the perfect cool, gray Fall album. The album came out something like two years ago, but today I can’t seem to get enough of it. I’ve listened to it two times straight through and am about halfway through the third listen.
Is it lame to get nostalgic for two years ago? Because I’m getting a little misty here, just thinking about all the people that have come into my life because of this record and all the good times I enjoyed, again because of this record. I hear this record and I think of warm November nights and meeting people who up until that point were only goofy screennames like Areg and Elegant Mule — Wolfdog.
What is it about autumn that makes me want to fall to my knees and give thanks?
I’m having a little soiree for my Westernerd posse in a few weeks. I might torture them by putting Folker on repeat. Ironically, when we all gather together we rarely talk about ol’ Paul. Instead we talk about bad 80s music, Jewel, and the Humpty Dance.
Folker might be one of those records that only hardcore PW fans dig. It’s totally lo-fi with a nice mix of heartbreakers and ass-shakers, leaning a bit to the heartbreaker side. Which is okay with me, because I love the heartbreakers.
It’s this album more than any that made me realize how bad Westerberg’s voice is. It cracks and wheezes all over the place, and each time it gets raspy my heart soars and my pulse quickens. It’s all his imperfections that make me love his music.
This is one of those times where my words are failing me. Perhaps it’s still too soon to write about this record and that time. If I could I would take you all inside of me, and you could feel how my heart is beating a little differently listening to him sing, “Anyway’s all right on a now or never night. Waiting for that fool, the one that cuts your hair, to tell you what to do, and remind you I will dare.” And when I closed my eyes you could see me seeing the TTHM for the first time in ages and how I got nervous and bite the insides of my cheeks because I didn’t know what else to do.
I vaguely remember when I used to care about things the way you do. I don’t recall what things they were, but I do vaguely remember caring about them.
what do you mean care about things the way I do?
I love fall too. It’s totally my favorite season. I’m wearing a sweatshirt and warmup pants right now and I couldn’t be happier. Fall rules.
“what do you mean care about things the way I do?”
“I hear this record and I think of warm November nights and meeting people who up until that point were only goofy screennames”
“makes me want to fall to my knees and give thanks”
“each time it gets raspy my heart soars and my pulse quickens”
Those are what I mean. I remember caring like that. I don’t feel those things any more. There’s a line from The Breakfast Club where Ally Sheedy says something like “You can’t help it. When you get older, your heart dies”. I’m afraid it might be true.
So I have a dead heart to look forward to? And I’m sure you have all sorts of things and people you care about.
All I have are books and music, they are my companions I must write about them like lovers.
You have way more than a dead heart to look froward to. Let me reassure you that there is plenty of heartbreak as you get older too.
But don’t you think being passionate about books and music, (and television shows and movies) is being passionate about love and friendship and heartache and tragedy? Life. And okay I know that is really corny. But I’m middle aged and lots of songs still give me goosebumps. Last week I sat at the Y while my kids were at swim practice and I was reading and crying over a short story that I’d read before.
What story were you reading?
White Angel for class. Knew what was going to happen in the story. Didn’t matter. Got weepy in class again when Dale read the death passage out loud.
That one doesn’t get me. I mean it gets me, but not the point of tears, not like Brokeback or We are Nighttime traveller’s by Ethan Canin.
I love “Folker”, and I’ve wondered if it’s because of the place I was in when I bought it two years ago. I’ve always liked the shittiness of his voice on it, mostly because of the way it demonstrates the kind of heartbreak and ass-shaking he’s singing about.
You are listening to the previews of his “Open Season” soundtrack on MySpace, right?