Saturday, November 09, 2013

ReNEW SENSATIONS: New Sensations

The book is called Go, Dog. Go! But in the book, the line is "Go, dogs. Go!" But the album is called New Sensations, and the song is called "New Sensations". This matters. Everything matters.
"Two years ago today I was arrested on Christmas Eve," Lou sings. The singer sings. Is it Lou? Two years ago today. That means the TODAY of the song is also Christmas Eve. Does the whole album take place on Christmas Eve? Is CHRIST the NEW SENSATION? ARE YOU KIDDING ME WITH THIS, LOU?
"New Sensations" closes out Side One, which is, by far, the weaker of the two sides, though this song does a lot to balance the scales (especially remembering that "What Becomes a Legend Most" is on Side 2, if you switched that for this in the sequence, I might never listen to Side One again). Remember the misogynist Old Testament references on "My Red Joystick"? Hey, hey. This is starting to come together now.
"I want the principles of a timeless muse," he says. These are the Beatitudes of Lou. The choir from "Turn To Me" is here. Lou's guitar is clear as an angel's harp. "I want to eradicate my negative views."
I rode to Pennsylvania near the Delaware Gap
Sometimes I got lost and had to check the map
I stopped at a roadside diner for a burger and a Coke

There were some country folk and some hunters inside
Somebody got themselves married and somebody died
I went to the jukebox and played a hillbilly song 

The parallels between Lou's Christmas Eve motorcycle ride and the ministry of Christ are fairly obvious. But there were no product placements in the Gospels. It's not just the Coke mentioned above, Lou also namechecks his Honda GPZ. Lou had just done a print and TV campaign for Honda scooters. A year later, at Farm Aid, Lou swapped out Honda for Harley in the song. I thought he was just playing to the audience, but in a 1984 BBC TV appearance he wore what looks a lot like a Harley Davidson t-shirt. Who knows? The point is that this guy, this artist, this guy who wrote hits-on-demand and "Heroin", this guy learned about show biz from Andy Warhol, namedrops a sponsor, possiby two, in a song with heavy Christlike overtones.
This is a really amazing song, despite the fact that the arrest he mentions in the first verse is never brought up again. Chekhov wept.

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