My favorite moment in American music last year comes at the end of "Pay Me My Money Down" off of Bruce Springsteen’s Seeger record. The whole track is fun, listening to folks who play live well. And Springsteen is shouting out directions throughout the piece, which is a hoot.
You can’t help but wiggle your bottom when you hear it.
And yet, at the end, after he’s wished he were a rich man’s son, after he’s wished he were Mr. Gates, after every last dollar has been worked out of him, he’s still singing like he’s the luckiest man in the world and the band is playing like joy is a god that can be involked by raucous-enough music. And, right at the end of the song, he yells, "Everybody solo!" and the whole band goes wild.
Really, is there any better argument for this grand experiment called America? That contradictory statement?
I don’t know what folks who don’t passionately and unreasonably love our art mean when they say that they love this country. I was thinking about that when we were watching the Pelosi documentary. What does it mean to claim you love America if you wall yourself off in your megachurch or try to ban books or censor music?
What exactly it is that you love?
I, myself, love those moments we make that split you open and stuff you full of hope, like a Thanksgiving turkey.
"Everybody solo" does that to me.
If I could make art that split you open and stuffed you full of hope, I would be a happy woman.