Thursday, October 9, 2014

Song of the Day #78 - Sibylle Baier - Says Elliot

A small lovesong of life

I only heard about this recently. Sibylle Baier is a minor German actress. In the early 1970s she recorded herself singing and playing guitar. Over 30 years later, her son compiled these into a CD that he gave to friends and family. Then it made its way to a guy in Dinosaur Jr, who then took it to a record label, on the merit that it was an extremely good album. Then it got a widespread release in 2006, and apparently she's working on a followup album.

It's the sort of story that, if fiction, might seem like sentimental tripe. Nothing short of actually hearing the album is likely to dispel that feeling, if you have that sort of cynicism. But it's true, and the album is beautiful... haunting, contemplative, appreciative... simply wonderful. It's the sort of thing that really reminds you that life has its sweet moments too.

Something about the attitude of this song, where she recites sections of T.S. Eliot's "The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock"... Idk maybe there was a different attitude towards the poem in the 70s, but now the poem is seen as one of the masterpiece titans of the modern age, probably second only to The Wasteland in a lot of people's (inc. mine) ranking of modernist poetry. Here, though, it seems like a really simple verse, a verse of experience, one that Baier casually relates to, and understands on a really direct level. Something about the phrasing of "Eliot says"... not "T.S. Eliot", and not "writes", or "is really saying", but just "says". And I mean, really... can't the poem be understood on that level? Isn't the whole idea to imagine that Eliot actually was the geriatric Prufrock? And Baier was young, too, when she wrote this... I dunno, it's something I can't quite get into words right now.

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