Monday, July 7, 2008

An Appreciation of the Grown Folks Music of Los Lobos

Los Lobos - The Town and the City
I woke up in a funk of not wanting to be a responsible adult and tried a number of corrosive agents to sand the crust off: black metal, speed punk, sad-eyed suicide folk, when a lone wolf bayed in the back alley of my mind, and on its tail Los Lobos comes rumbling in to the rescue. I happen to think they have never made a misstep as a band, and this underheard 2007 album is another of their perfect meta-rock masterpieces. Mariachi and Keith Richards, soul and soundtrack music all blend seamlessly under their watch.

I love these guys. I bought This Time new on a whim about a decade ago when I deduced that i was in too deep in an indie rock hole, and needed to hear a band that could actually sing, actually write songs, actually play their instruments - in other words, grown folks music. The problem with most grown folks music, the kind that is sold in rotisserie stands at Starbucks, is that it is so tepid. So easily digestible. It would not surprise me to find that the geniuses behind Hear Music are the same crew that engineered Disney's takeover of the teen music market.

And this is not a dig, really. I know I'm a snob and am looking for something more than most people do from art. If people can put some music in their lives, and some artists can make some money, then cool, good on them. I do not pretend that if Starbucks was not pushing KT Tunstall and James Taylor on the caffeinated masses (of which I occasionally am part), The People would become wide-eyed inquisitive and explore the same uneasy ground I like to scour. I'm just saying, Los Lobos is the kind of band that tends to wind up in those racks next to the mints and the chocolate espresso beans, and they, much like Starbucks itself, is pretty reliable in plying their particular addictive wares, and is one of those things you start to enjoy when you grow the hell up already.

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