Friday, September 03, 2010

"If being afraid is a crime, we hang side by side/At the swingin' party down the line."

The song: "Swingin' Party," The Replacements. Words and music by Paul Westerberg. Track 6 of Tim, 1985.
How/when acquired: Purchased cassette, 1987
Listen/watch here.

Tim is one of the albums I'd need on a desert island. It's one of a handful of records I've owned in three formats; I had to download it when the CD was stolen from the front seat of my car in 2005. I hope the thief loves it as much as I do, or at least got a couple of bucks for it.

At the risk of sounding like a geezer, I miss the structure of albums. On vinyl and cassette, this track closes the first side. The first six tracks of Tim are a self-contained 18-minute meditation on the traumas of young adulthood, running from self-conscious despair to longing to joyful infatuation, anger, petulance and finally resignation. "Swingin' Party" plays with the double meaning of its title, juxtaposing images of revelers in lampshades and victims of a lynch mob. The end of adolescence may be no more than the revelation that everyone else really is struggling just as hard as we are, and that's the point of "Swingin' Party." I still need that reminder.

Gaslight's production of Born Yesterday opens tonight at Hallowell City Hall. I have a small role as a housekeeper, so if you've ever wanted to see me dressed as a maid, here's your chance. Performances run through September 11; call 207-626-3698 for reservations.

1 comment:

Ellen Clair Lamb said...

I do not accept anonymous comments on this blog. Therefore I have deleted the completely unnecessary comment that noted that the title of this song, "Swinging Party" is indeed a reference to a slang term for a multiple hanging. The pun is the point of the song.