Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Remembrance of Videos Past #8: Lou Reed, "Dirty Boulevard"

1989 was the year of the sad song for me. I had this crush on Lisa Hanley. When I went home one day, I heard the Cowboy Junkies' "Sweet Jane" on VH-1, buried my head in the throw pillows on the living room couch and pined for Lisa.

I found out that "Sweet Jane" was a cover of a Lou Reed song. I though to myself "Lou Reed? The guy who sang the theme song to the movie "Soul Man" with that black guy?" Knowing that this was the man who wrote "Sweet Jane," when I saw "Dirty Boulevard" on VH-1 I stopped. To this day, the lyrics to this song hold my attention more than any song ever will.

On my way back from my step-grandfather's funeral, I bought three albums from Record World: Boston, The Best of the Youngbloods and Lou Reed's New York . If I had mixed all those music styles together and made an album, I would have recorded Nevermind two years before its release.

What amazes me about this video is how timeless it is. Of all the music videos on this blog, none of them looks or sounds more current than this one. Most miraculous of all is that the street toughs don't look dated. No sideways baseball caps, no switchblade knife musicals. Just a young boy named Pedro looking at the sky with hope.

The "fly fly away" coda is the best ending to a song I have ever heard. Simultaneously hopeful and resigned, it represents the current New York post 9/11 climate better than Bruce Springsteen can ever hope to.

Thank you, Milinkito, for sharing this New York tone poem with the rest of the world.

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