Friday, June 01, 2007

The Low Spark of High-Heeled Boys

The article up at the Poetry Foundation site had me thinking of my own early attempts to write songs based on the lyrics of Elvis Costello, Tom Verlaine, Lou Reed, Bob Dylan, and Marc Bolan. Cut me some slack I hadn't yet read Frank O'Hara. Beyond the trite or simply flat inbetween lines of many rock lyricists are bursts of real brilliance and insight that rival some of the most memorable lyric poetry ever written. Of course, the banal and simply pretentious sounds not half bad when backed up by a stack of Marshalls. As the groundbreaking sounds of some of the best music of the 1960s (garagebands galore) gave way to the decadent irrelevance of bands like the Eagles in the 1970s, rock music moved beyond its roots and became something else entirely. Some bands teetered between the bluesy roots rock that had started the phenomenon called rock 'n roll and the fusion based noodlings that marked the beginning of the end for quite a few talented musicians.

As rock bands began to be called supergroups, they took themselves a little too seriously and left what was genuine by the wayside. Before bands like the Ramones emerged on the scene to reclaim rock 'n roll and return it to what it had always been, there were certain songs that weren't so cheesy they couldn't be appreciated, mainly because the lyrics rang true and offered some kind of insight typically not found on the FM dial. Traffic's music has always been hit or miss for me, but I've always liked The Low Spark of High-Heeled Boys because it defines the time period after Dylan's Subterranean Homesick Blues so well.

If you see something that looks like a star
And it's shooting up out of the ground
And your head is spinning from a loud guitar,
And you just can't escape from the sound
Don't worry too much, it'll happen to you
We were children once, playing with toys.
And the thing that you're hearing is only the sound of
The low spark of high-heeled boys.

The percentage you're paying is too high priced
While you're living beyond all your means
And the man in the suit has just bought a new car
From the profit he's made on your dreams,
But today you just read that the man was shot dead
By a gun that didn't make any noise.
But it wasn't the bullet that laid him to rest was
The low spark of high-heeled boys.

If you had just a minute to breathe
and they granted you one final wish
Would you ask for something like another chance?
Or something similar as this? Dont worry too much
It'll happen to you as sure as your sorrows are joys.
And the thing that disturbs you is only the sound of
The low spark of high-heeled boys.

If I gave you everything that I owned and asked for nothing in return
Would you do the same for me as I would for you?
Or take me for a ride, and strip me of everything including my pride?
But spirit is something that no one destroys,
And the sound that I'm hearing is only the sound
The low spark of high-heeled boys.