Baboon Pirates

Scribbles and Scrawls from an unrepentant swashbuckling primate.

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Location: Texas, United States

Friday, April 29, 2005

The Party Never Ends?

More Music Talk To Help Make Up For A Content-Free Week

So I'm listening to iTunes the other night, and the random rotation brings up some Robert Earl Keen. Always a good choice, but I've got a beef with the tune that came up.

If you're not familiar with Robert Earl Keen, it's likely because you're living outside of Texas in some sad imitation of a real state. He's one of our resident Texas troubadors, most often found in honky tonks, juke joints, and the odd music festival. While his albums are great, he's at his best at live shows, especially if you can catch him at Gruene Hall in Gruene (outside New Braunfels), the oldest dancehall in Texas.

The live shows are part of the problem, though, at least for me. Keen's shows, like Jimmy Buffett's shows, have become less an event for fans of the music, and more of a magnet for drunken yahoos to show up en masse for the sole purpose of drinking until they puke and whooping and hollering over the music. Sure, it's rowdy fun when you're 19, but for those of us starting to go grey (or bald), it's starting to get real old real quick.

Now, the song in question I had a beef with is "The Road Goes On Forever", probably Keen's signature tune. It's a great song, but somehow I think all the Silver Bullet-swilling shitheads really miss the point of the song. Or maybe I do, who the hell knows.

I'm not gonna quote the song in full, but here's the basics in a nutshell:

Small town Party Girl boozes it up with friends, works in a bar.
Loser Boy sells dope, does jail time, gets out, sells more dope.
Drunk grabs Party Girl's ass, Loser Boy cleans his clock
Party Girl & Loser Boy run off together, drink copious amounts of gin.

Cash runs low, Loser Boy plays Let's Make A Dope Deal
Deal gets busted by Johnny Law, Loser Boy gets caught holding cash.
Party Girl kills a cop to free Loser Boy, they run away.

Loser Boy gives all the money to Party Girl, tells her he'll take the heat.
He skedaddles for parts unknown. Party Girl goes back to town.
Months later, Party Girl continues to booze, sees notice in paper.
Loser Boy is caught, and gonna fry.
Party Girl get in her new Mercedes, goes on with life.
The road goes on forever and the party never ends.

This is NOT a happy song! You've got two amoral shitheels out on the loose, dealing drugs and killing police officers, and one gets away clean, reaping the benefits of the other's demise!

My guess is that with all the cheap beer polluting the concert-goers brain cells, the only part of the song they know (and holler at the top of their lungs) is the chorus, "The road goes on forever and the party never ends." Well, that verse and the verse about selling dope.

Look, I'm not a Puritan. I like beer & pot just as much as the next guy,(assuming the next guy likes beer & pot!) but I just have to wonder about the people that remain blissfully ignorant of the full lyrics to a song.

A similar example is "Every Breath You Take", by The Police. Untold hundreds of dimwitted couples used it as their wedding song, completely clueless of the fact that the song is really about an obsessed stalker.

Another misunderstood song example is "Born In The USA" by Bruce Springsteen. Co-opted by Reagan and the Republican Party, they seized on the easily remembered chorus, and while waving flags as hard as they could, ignored the lyrics about Vietnam vets unable to reassimilate into American life.

I'm sure there's plenty of other misunderstood songs out there, but I'm a bit too full of paint fumes to think of any more right now.

Hell, I'm probably being hypocritical about all this. It's entirely possible all the times I've slurred along with "Margaritaville" after imbibing most of a bottle of cheap tequila, I've completely missed the point that Bubba was driving at: We should all clearly label our salt shakers, and keep track of them at all times. Oh, yeah, and we should keep trash off the beaches so no one cuts their heel on a pop-top.

Heh. Like anyone under 20 has any idea what a pop-top is!

OK, enough bitching. Go listen to some Robert Earl Keen! You won't be disappointed!