As in past months there were some fine competitors for January’s Comment of the Month, but we’re going with Townsman Dr. John for this deadly serious piece of rock commentary, from a thread on moments when we’ve reached the end of the road in buying albums by a favorite artist. Along the way, we got into a side conversation on the recently reissued deluxe edition of The Bee Gees‘ Odessa album, until recently a completely forgettable dollar-bin album that not even a red velvet cover could convince rock nerds to take a chance on buying. But that’s the beauty of rock nerd culture, isn’t it? And among the many beauties I come across on Rock Town Hall are passionate and creative defenses of albums that I wouldn’t think anyone could take so seriously. Here’s the Good Doctor’s winning comment:
Odessa’s dramatic storylines and forays into Americana remind me of a record released a year later, John Cale’s Vintage Violence.
I like Odessa a lot, especially because it has some great deep cuts, such as “Black Diamond.” This is an album for people who appreciate the band’s stylistic quirks, rather than their ability to mimic other bands to create pop hits.
Rest assured that the fun I poke is with love and empathy. We’ve all been there. We’ve all defended our own version of Odessa by tying it into an equally overlooked album. We’ve all used part of our defense of an album to take a poke at another rock nerd’s biases. Well played! I’ve got to say that my soft spot for Vintage Violence is just the sort of thing that I hope will help me when I finally get around to revisiting Odessa. And I sense that poke about people who appreciate the band’s “ability to mimic other bands to create pop hits” was directed at me, among others. I’ll show that Dr. John! you can correctly imagine me thinking when I first read this.
Sometimes people outside the Halls of Rock ask me, “What’s the point of talking about music as obsessively as you guys talk about music?” Next time I’m asked that question I may just point to this post and how it may help me open my mind next time I listen to an album I’d long ago dismissed. This, my friends, is the value of the Examined Rock Nerd Life.