Saturday, March 21, 2009

Listening Post: Saturday Night Sadist Edition


If you take nothing else away from the Listening Posts I'm always plastering this site with, take this:

David Baerwald's 1992 release Triage is, without a doubt, the best album 99% of the public has never heard. It's a masterpiece of misanthropy -- a beautifully dark and almost joyously nihilistic treatise on politics, power, and popular culture, from a songwriter who deserves to be recognized as one of the best of his generation. Baerwald has always had a knack for imagery -- he was one of the "Davids" responsible for the David & David classic Welcome to the Boomtown -- but the textured, almost tactile soundscape he creates on Triage is a staggering achievement. Admittedly, it's not an album for the faint of heart. From the haunting and distant trumpet wail that opens A Secret Silken World (a song about sexual sadism), to the monotonous drone of Nobody (a song about an LAPD cop who's lost all faith in his ability to make a difference and seeks only to hide from the encroaching darkness), to the fragile fade-out of Born for Love (the album's one truly hopeful note and, not coincidentally, the one it ends on), Triage is an emotionally draining listening experience. But make no mistake: It's one that's also eminently rewarding, specifically because it's such an uncompromising vision.

Here now, the opening and closing tracks of David Baerwald's Triage, complete with lyrics (and excuse the silly wallpaper slideshow).

First up, what may be the most mesmerizing and disturbing song ever written about the seductive dangers of Los Angeles after the sun goes down: A Secret Silken World.



I took a ride with a sadist on a Saturday night.
His teeth were like diamonds in the dashboard light.
He knew a place nearby, we took a right at the light.
And I smiled 'cause I'd never ever been there.

He said "When I was your age, I was a millionaire.
Those were the days of Woodstock and I was there.
It's such a drag about the forests, such a shame about the air.
But when I was your age I was a millionaire."

Don't you love this kind of lazy kind of night?
Don't you love it with a stranger when the time is tight?
Don't you love a little struggle?
Don't you love a little fight?
Don't you feel like the devil on the blue moonlight?
On a lazy kind of night.

The seats of his car were like a woman's skin.
Made me think about all of those places I'd been.
Made me understand murder, and the nature of sin.
I leaned back and I listened to his music.

He said, "Things would go better if you'd be my friend.
You don't have to like all the means to your end.
I don't want to boast, I don't mean to offend.
But things would go better if you'd be my friend."

Don't you love this kind of lazy kind of night?
Don't you love it with a stranger when the time is tight?
Don't you love a little struggle?
Don't you love a little fight?
Don't you feel like the devil on the blue moonlight?
On a lazy kind of night.

There's a secret silken world of sex and submission.
Of vodka and handcuffs and acts of contrition.
Your enemies succumb and the ladies all listen to the tales of your woe and your secret ambition.
And your hopes and your dreams and your pain and your perdition.
The secret silken world of sex and submission.

She looked more like a plate than a scared little girl.
Her pupils were pinpoints as she fingered her pearls.
It was crossing my mind to maybe give it a whirl.
'Til I noticed her fingers were trembling.

She said, "I've never liked boys, I much prefer men."
She must've liked the way it sounded, she said it again.
The car headed north up Beverly Glen.
I was taken by surprise with nausea.

Don't you love this kind of lazy kind of night?
Don't you love to hurt the weak when they refuse to fight?
There's no need to be judgmental, no need to be polite.
All you need to know is that might equals right.
On a lazy kind of night.



Next up, the simple beauty of the album's closing track: Born for Love.



Every morning when I rise.
I wipe the sleep out from my eyes.
And ask myself the question why.
Why was I born?

I go out wandering the ripped up streets.
Bodies on the sidewalk huddling for heat.
The whole world's looking like some losing streak.
Why was I born?

Then I get home and you're not there.
But your clothes are hanging and your scent's in the air.
If it ain't an answer, I don't care.
Why I was born.

I was born to love you.
I was born to love you.
I was born for love.

Last year I saw those pearly gates.
I tried to shove my way through, they said, "You gotta wait.
You gotta get some questions straight.
Why you were born."

They said, "What do you think, that this was made for you?
Why should anyone care what it is that you do?
The course gets set, you gotta see it through.
That's why you were born."

I got up, I saw them all.
All God's creatures great and small.
And it came in clear as a local call.
Why I was born.

I was born to love you.
I was born to love you.
I was born for love.

7 comments:

kanye said...

He sure as hell paid the price for that uncompromising vision, didn't he? What the label did to him was fucking criminal.

Great pick.

mike m said...

i dunno, i listened to both and kept thinking "how about some music to go with this music" or "it would be great if someone set these words to music"

the bloody hands and the flag are super pretentious, i don't even remember what war we were in in '92 1st gulf war? best song about LA after dark, "life in the fast lane" wiht Joe walsh shredding the lead guitar.
go ahead dude, thump me.

MJG said...

Well deservedpraise. Check the site.

http://www.dbinfosource.com/db.asp

david said...

Jolly kind of you, old man. Especially bracing as I've been a fan of yours since your tour de force "King of the Jews" Cameron rant. You seem to have that mad bent towards suicidal honesty that all my favoriite people share. Thanks for the hat tip, and back at you.
If you ever make it to LA...
David

Anonymous said...

Wow, it's been a long time since I heard David Baerwald. Thank you, Chez.

randy said...

thank you so much!

Christine said...

Wow, and he reads your blog! Hearing A Secret Silken World made my mind go all dark and swirly, and now I'm embarking on what may end up being an entirely impossible endeavor... a collection of photographs inspired by the song. I only have one so far that I'm even remotely pleased with, but I expect this is going to take a while. All film, mostly black & white, but some neon lights need to be in color. I have the mood in my skull, now it's the long journey towards getting it on film.

So thank you... both of you. Chez for introducing me, and Dave for writing the kind of music that makes my breathing slow every time I hear it.