Friday, October 24, 2008

"Viva! Sea-Tac" / Robyn Hitchcock

At last! Something in my head besides Nick Lowe ("I Live On A Battlefield" had just got in there and would not budge.*) Granted, Robyn Hitchcock appeals to exactly the same lobe of my musical brain, but technically it's a change.

I imagine Robyn knocking out this exuberant ditty in the taxi on the way in from the airport, whacking on the steering wheel with his non-steering hand (the bashing drumbeat is one of the best things about this track). Great opening line -- "People flock like cattle to Seattle after Kurt Cobain" -- far be it from Robyn Hitchcock to join the herd, but he's here anyway. And he loves it, but only in his own inimitable snarky ambivalent way.

This song has that written-on-the-fly quality that Robyn often gives us -- when he grabs a rhyme out of thin air and it's so absurd, he just has to go with it. "Viva Seattle-Tacoma / Viva viva Sea-Tac!" he exults. "Viva viva viva viva viva viva viva viva Sea-Tac / They've got the best computers and coffee and smack!" Thanks to that line, you'll never hear this used in an ad by the Seattle tourist board, which is really too bad, isn't it?

"Coming and going / It has to be Boeing," he rambles on (probably just as he drives on past the hulking Boeing plant), adding, "The best form of defense is blow them up!" So now it won't be bought for a Boeing ad either, I guess. And as the cityscape comes into view, he muses, "The Space Needle points to the sky / The Space Needle's such a nice guy / But you never know..." Whatever pops into his head is fair game. He ends with a Dylanesque talking blues that peters off into absurdity: "Long live everything / In Washington State, including / Everybody, may they live to a million years / May they reproduce until there's no room to go anywhere / Clustered under the Space Needle like / Walking eggs with arms and legs, yeah!"

Robyn, Robyn, Robyn -- you're one in a million, that's for sure.

Viva! Sea-Tac sample

* But hey, was I fighting it? You know me better than that.

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