Sunday, March 24, 2019

Stimulating Advice About Restraint

Song 452: This week on the playlist you’ll find Kicks by Paul Revere & The Raiders, written by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, and you can find a YouTube video of it by clicking on the title. When this 45 came along, in the spring near the end of our HS freshman year, it became an instant favorite for me and my friend Brian Johnson. We had started talking about having a band together, and his mother had already gotten him an electric guitar and small amp. Not long after, my mother bought me an acoustic guitar. I remember this track being one of the two cuts that Brian and I discussed playing - the other being Day Tripper - though maybe there were more we considered that I don't recall. Given my family's disdain for the devil's music and the immoral behavior it generally seemed to promote, ranging from promiscuous love/sex to wanton alcohol/drug usage, I felt pleased that the words on this hit did not cross those lines, but rather, offered advice about drugs that sounded quite sensible to me at the time. Of course, decades of personal interactions have since taught me that many of my fellow human beings have much deeper and more complex reasons for seeking chemical assistance - it's not about needing to fill the emptiness inside, finding a little piece of paradise, bringing someone peace of mind, or killing boredom with some Kicks. While the message here might sound simplistic and moralistic to me these days, I don't let it dampen my enjoyment of a very engaging musical spin.

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