Happy 70th Birthday Robert Wyatt!!
And welcome back to Song of the Day! I took a little vacation because I wanted to focus on my "2014 projects", i.e. my writing collection, my top 5 anime, and my top 10 albums. And now they're done! Hooray!
Let's celebrate that, and Robert Wyatt's 70th birthday, by repeatedly listening to Rock Bottom and being overwhelmed by emotions so strange and yet familiar, like the primordial memories of scurrying about on the ocean floor as a pair of ragged claws! It's pretty unanimously agreed to be the masterpiece of his career, and of the genre in general, and really, of albums themselves. He was 29 when it came out. I wonder how it makes him feel when he hears it now...
All I really know is how it makes me feel now. It seems appropriate that, after leaving Song of the Day with one of my favorite album closers, we come back in with one of my favorite openers. Something about that simple chord pattern, with those laidback, clopping drums... and then how it descends from that, into something hazier, something stranger. And the opening lines... "You look different every time", beautiful. The routine of "wow idk if he's describing the actual sea or a woman" seems straightforward, but really only makes you focus in on how vivid and intricate his descriptions of either. It's a complex revealing of both him and his desire, and hints at the themes of mental illness that appear throughout the album. The repeated use of "I know", "we're not alone"... there's a development of the speaker's character too. Even the piano solo near the start and the lyricless moaning at the end seem to relay some vital and specific information, on the level of sheer gut intuition. The whole song has this air of ethereal simplicity, where the forces that will spur on the rest of the album seem more languid. It feels perfect as a sort of overture, or a haunting that occurs before the event. Just fantastic stuff... hopefully someday I'll spend the time to give the whole album a thorough writeup.