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(The Album) vs. American Central Dust


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Cocaine and Ashes would be a Son Volt classic for me, the melody is subtle and the arrangement beautiful and the vocal harmonies are exquisite, but the line about snorting his father is just so forced and clunky that it overshadows the greatness of the song.

Forced and clunky? Without the "snorting of one's father," "Cocaine and Ashes" doesn't exist. "I snorted my father and I'm still alive."

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LittleSavage said everything that I would have said about what makes American Central Dust a head scratcher for me. But then, with a name like LittleSavage, and an avatar like that, of course, we will see eye to eye.

 

And Cortez, I guess the issue for me is that writing a song about snorting your father's ashes feels forced and clunky. Even if Keith Richards actually did it. I read an interview with Jay where he had what seemed like a pretty heartfelt explanation about why he wrote the song. How we all deal with grief, etc. The sentiment is nice, and I can appreciate what Jay was aiming for, but the execution falls flat for me.

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I don't think the song is simply about Keith Richards snorting his father's ashes. However, the event is what inspired the song. I like how Jay uses the bizzare story to delve into issues of mortality, grief, and sorrow. In this context, I don't find it to be forced or clunky.

 

I don't think it's about Keith Richards snorting his father's ashes either. As I said, the sentiment behind the song, is certainly neither forced nor clunky. I just think Jay could have delved into issues of mortality, grief, and sorrow in a way that doesnt cause me to picture Keith Richards snorting his dad's ashes.

 

Just my opinion -- I know that I may be in the minority. The bizarreness of the story (as you admitted) takes away from the song (to me). Not trying to be argumentative.

 

EDIT: Cortez, also, I just re-read my initial post, and I did say that it was about KR/ashes. Another example of me, thinking what I mean, and saying something different, and then being surprised that people don't understand me. Sorry. :lol

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I don't think it's about Keith Richards snorting his father's ashes either. As I said, the sentiment behind the song, is certainly neither forced nor clunky. I just think Jay could have delved into issues of mortality, grief, and sorrow in a way that doesnt cause me to picture Keith Richards snorting his dad's ashes.

 

Just my opinion -- I know that I may be in the minority. The bizarreness of the story (as you admitted) takes away from the song (to me). Not trying to be argumentative.

 

EDIT: Cortez, also, I just re-read my initial post, and I did say that it was about KR/ashes. Another example of me, thinking what I mean, and saying something different, and then being surprised that people don't understand me. Sorry. :lol

All good. I just think the story of Keith Richards is what inspired Jay to write the song in the first place. It served as the catalyst to examine some of the the themes in the song. The inclusion of such a line like "I snorted my father" is a nod to what inspired him to write it in the first place. It is bizzare. But I like how Jay was able to use such an insane story to write about some more serious and unsettling themes. It works for me.

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Well, I'll stand by what I said re: Cocaine and Ashes. The 'snorted my father' line really bugs me -- it pulls me out of the song, and that's never a good thing. I could have figured out the Keith Richards inspiration from the title and (as Dean Moriarty pointed out) the perfect Richards-esque close harmonies. To make the connection so literal with that line undermines -- for me -- what is otherwise a beautifully written song.

 

And, right back at you, Matt (the Z) -- it figures we'd see eye to eye. You expressed what I feel about the song far better than I'm doing right now. (I was going to mention ACD's Sultana being easily outdone in the epic historical ballad category this year by Costello, but I didn't want to get too off-topic, or have anybody think I'm picking on Jay.)

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