08 June 2007

Writing about music, part 277: My favorite arrow

So why keep going on about my favorite band, about their music and how it affects my world, if, as I say, I'm really "over them" now?

Because there's something there, I'm convinced.

I just read a couple of early Ian Rankin thrillers that recently arrived at our public library. They get straight to the heart of this sort of disillusioned, late-40s career cop. His world is a kind of emotional desert: he's pared his life down to his work as a cop, not leaving much room for more. The action and perspective stays tightly focused on him and his thoughts. But in Rankin's more recent books, his detective, John Rebus, finds great solace in music. In fact, I've felt Rankin's become something of a publicity engine for the contemporary Scottish alternative music industry; he calls out other groups too occasionally -- I'm just waiting for his first Gomez mention).

And I think Rankin has created a richer character with his interest in music. So I keep writing about it, trying to capture something about performance, identity, feeling, expression, energy -- all those things music makes me feel and think about. I share some of the experience Rankin invents for Rebus: how that music can pull us through, like time itself or a plot device, getting us from one point to another.

And I love the ride when I listen to Gomez. I love the way they grasp hold of a song again and again -- how they made up the songs to include the reminders to keep paying attention, every time you sing a new verse or change tempo or add a new texture.

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