Life of Brian

DISCUSSED: “Some of Them Are Old” from Brian Eno’s Here Come the Warm Jets

So last week I’m driving down 101 South from Petaluma to San Francisco. I pop in Here Come the Warm Jets, which is, along with Another Green World and Taking Tiger Mountain By Strategy, part of a trio of beautifully organic art-rock albums that Eno made after leaving Roxy Music in the early ’70s. The sun is setting on the rolling pastures to my left and a cottony ocean fog is slowly creeping down the mountains to my right and this song comes on. Maybe it was the combination of exhilaration and exhaustion, but I’m welling up, convinced that this is the most beautiful song I’ve ever heard. It’s preceded by a gear-grinding electro-seizure of sound — what basically sounds like a robot dog choking up a wad of grass — and then shifts into this heavenly Brian Wilson-esque wash of gossamer sound. Can’t say I’ve ever been to the pearly gates, but I’m pretty sure this is the sound you hear when you’re standing in line waiting for your wings. Eno eschews his usual nasal snarl and harmonizes with himself like a choir of seraphim, pleading, “Remember me, remember me” over and over in a way that resonates with anyone who lives in fear of being forgotten — which, when you think about it, is pretty much the entire human race. And then he sings, “Lucy you’re my girl, Lucy you’re a star, Lucy please be still and hide your madness in a jar.” And from there it goes into this slide guitar part that’s the closest thing I’ve ever heard to the proverbial sound of angels dancing on the head of a needle. I kept hitting repeat until I got to the Golden Gate Bridge and to my right was the hazy blue horizon of the Pacific and to my left was the entire United States of America and to myself I thought: This is what it means to be alive.