Saturday, February 16, 2008

A New Dartmouth Blog, And Bruce Springsteen

Dartmouth alum Matt Nolan '07 has started a blog called "the Natural Condition." TNC is about "life, health, and medicine," and has featured several posts about Dartmouth, including a couple about the Stonehill column. I find it amusingly ironic that Matt blogged about obesity in America last month, then made his very next post about how he eats potato chips. For the record, Matt's manly presence on the Fighting Mullets softball team is missed.

On another note, it's cold here. The average low is 10, but it got down to nine below once. But as they say, if you don't like the weather in New England, wait ten minutes - today's high is 22, then 49 on Monday, and back to 26 on Wednesday. This has led to a nasty, alternating mix of disgusting slush and dangerous ice. Normally I enjoy the cold, but as you can imagine, my iPod (brand spankin' new, just got it this week!) has been wearing out the Bruce Springsteen song "Girls In Their Summer Clothes" from his new album "Magic." The album is a real return to his rock roots, and only his second studio project with the E Street Band since 1984's Born in the USA, with which it has been favorably compared." It features everything from the standard Springsteen ballads about freedom and small towns to an angry rant about the state of rock & roll to an anti-war tribute to John Kerry. Overall, I like it, but do feel like it's holding something back. This is partly because the busy musicians recorded separately and mixed it all together later, and partly because there is no climactic anthem. Still, it is a genuine post-"Devils and Dus" return to rock, and it stays bright and punchy the whole way through. Rolling Stone named "Magic" the second top album of the year and it won two Grammies.

Amazon.com's Scott Holter says of this particular song, "Credit producer Brendan O'Brien for the wall of sound that backs 'Girls in Their Summer Clothes,' which sets the atmosphere for one of the great vocal performances by Springsteen, who plays the misfit 'in the cool of the evening light' watching the girls 'pass me by.'" It's one of those songs that just seems to match whatever mood I'm in. When I'm feeling melancholy alone in my room, it sounds wistful and morose too. If I've been thinking about gender relations, its talk of watching generic girls walk by sounds like offensive, superficial slop where all girls are lumped together as the other gender, meant for desire, rather than appreciated for the amazing unique individuals they are. But most importantly, when I'm walking across the Green wishing for brighter, sunnier days, the song feels incredibly upbeat and inspirational, and is just what I need to transform the campus in my mind, the girl talk becoming more a description of life. All in all, I love this song, and it's kind of too bad I'm listening to it so much, since that probably means I'll get sick of it before too long and shelve it for a few years before rediscovering it down the road. The only real problem I have with it is the cheesy rhyme about the diner waitress, but what can you do.

1 comment:

Matthew Nolan said...

In my own defense, the real link between potato chips and obesity is simply a matter of too many potato chips. But you're right, it is ironic... and that's what makes it interesting!