Sunday, April 20, 2008

Did you hear? Jimmy Buffett - "Lone Palm"

I get a lot of criticism for enjoying Jimmy Buffett’s music, and I’ve heard all of the arguments for why he’s not a good artist. You can’t change 21 years of programming and conditioning. I like him, and you don’t have to read on if you don’t.

My mom visits this blog occasionally, but she is not interested in reading about The Dodos or Blacklisted or whatever else I dribble on about. So hi mom! I extend my welcome to any other visitors of her age persuasion. Apartment Story: not just for kids.

I want to talk about this Buffett song for a little bit. It’s called “Lone Palm” and you can find it on Fruitcakes. The record came out in 1994, and just putting my head around that makes me feel old. Next year it turns 15! I can still remember when it came out. I loved the title track then, but now I prefer “Lone Palm.”

Call him gimmicky, fine, but I don’t think this song is gimmicky at all. The music conjures images of hammocks and the setting sun, not chugging margaritas in a shark suit. The melody is understated, and I love the quiet acoustic guitar strumming. It reminds me of his best songs from the seventies like “Come Monday” and “He Went to Paris.”

Most importantly, I really like the lyrics. The second chorus is magnificent. Jimmy tells the (sad) story of a girl he only knows a little bit. The line, “from under my lone palm/I think about her today,” captures the mood of the song. The lone palm is a nice symbol for the quiet contemplation that goes hand in hand with living. We all need to sort out our problems once in awhile. And yeah, we contemplate different endings. The future might be uncertain, but at least we have the past to guide us. I guess getting old has some serious advantages.

No comments: