November 7, 2009
Rosanne Cash and the fire of the newly alive
Music is more than personal. It's intimate. It sets the mood, or reflects the mood. It can be in the background or up front and loud. And what is noise to you may be music to me (just go with my taste, you'll be better off).
We all have our favourites - rock, pop, classical, opera, even, heaven forbid, rap.
Songs are our soundtrack, from the one-hit wonders (Rock Me Amadeus) to blink-and-they're-gone groups (that's you, Quarterflash) to guilty pleasures (Flashdance) to pick-me-up's (Abba) to all-time favourites (all things Stevie Nicks and Fleetwood Mac).
And then there is that handful of albums that resonate for a long time. For me, if I had to take one CD to that metaphorical desert island, I think it would be Rosanne Cash's The Wheel. This is an album I go back to, and play over and over and over and over, then put away, and go back to again, when other stuff I 'loved' and 'had to have' has long since fallen off the radar.
Released in 1993, The Wheel is a catchy pop masterpiece by a country master. It is Cash's midlife divorce and start over album, and it's all there --- love, loss, trust, infidelity, pain, hope, desperation, breaking down, getting up, starting over. From the angry Roses in the Fire to the romantic Change Partners to the thoughtful You Won't Let Me in to the surprisingly celebratory Fire of the Newly Alive, this is fantastic pop soundtrack imbued with a beautiful journey of self-discovery: from "I know no man that I can trust" to "I crawl though an abyss, I struggle and resist, somehow I break free, someone becomes me."
I think The Wheel has more times played than any other album I have ever owned, and yet it is still fresh to me. It is lyrical and fun and deep and moving and smart. Go out and buy, or legally download, The Wheel. And get some Abba too, it'll get you moving.