Monday, March 01, 2010

American Sunshine

Life can be tough, when you're an Austrian. Because all around, for as far as one can see, there is government error, problems caused by government, and entire populations who believe that the only solution to any problem (all of them caused by government) is more government. So what's the solution to this abysmal global outcome of short-sightedness, greed, immorality, envy, and stupidity, all fed by the twentieth century's appalling obsession with democracy?

Well, as far as I can work out there are two potential solutions with a reasonably good chance of lasting the pace:

1. Become a socialist again and rejoin 'The Idiot Herd'.

2. Carry around a collection of Colin Hay albums held within some form of iPod, plus a decent pair of headphones, and use these technological tools to blur reality just enough to make it bearable (especially when slowly trundling around on socialist forms of rail transport).

Colin's latest album, 'American Sunshine', beats everything that he has previously released, with a crisp staccato set of tunes almost perfectly produced, with all of the misery on some of his previous albums replaced entirely by melancholy, and the small amounts of happiness on his previous albums exploded to every other track.

The album also seems to complete a two hundred year journey for country music, which originated in Scotland and Ireland, and went West across the Atlantic to the southern states, fed by the Highland clearance massacres by the English, and by the potato blight famines in Ireland, partially caused by the English forcing the Irish off the best lands so that English beef could be raised to feed English country squires. (You want to try a pair of Austrian 'History Spectacles' on for a while; it gets very gloomy in here.)

Mr Hay's Scottish family managed to hang on though, until the late twentieth century, but then his parents were tempted by Australian emigration when Britain was blighted by socialist stupidity in the 1960s and 1970s, thus taking Mr Hay along with them. From whence he kept going east, this time towards Los Angeles, later to fuse his blend of echoing guitar magic with country riffs and steel guitars in a sort of global circumnavigation of the folksy tunes of Caledonian Albany.

Well, whatever the case, 'American Sunshine' beats my previous favourite album, James Blunt's 'All the Lost Souls', by a clear country mile.

Yes, it's a real shame that Mr Hay is an Obama supporter, but when I listen to the album I can forgive him even this serious indiscretion, or even completely forget it if I turn the volume up a little. Yes, that's how good this album is.

So do yourself a favour if the world is seeming a little too grey to bear in the light of Austrian truth and reality. Open up the colour again and get hold of 'American Sunshine'.

Oh, and my favourite track from the album? Well, obviously it's got to be 'Prison Time', which given the bleakness of my own world view described above, somehow seems appropriate! :-)

Here's a few different YouTube versions of this track:

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