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2005-04-30 - 12:46 a.m.

Every time I listen to Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, after I hit Play, I think, OK, I've pretty much milked this album for all its lyrics. What I've heard before has blown me away, caused me to write verses on scraps of cardboard and attach them to my walls. I've milked this thing and now I'll listen to this album the way I listen to most albums: waiting for the music to take me somewhere, floor me, give me chills.

And the music does all that. But goddamn that Jeff Tweedy. How did I not hear this one before now?

All I see is black and white
And white and pink with blades of blue
That lay between the words I think
On the page I was meaning to send to you

Tomorrow I'm taking the girl with gray streaks in her hair to a party. It starts at 5:30, with formalities and then food and drink and bluegrass. The band is called the Three Legged Backporch Collective. They're tall, all of them, and unshaven and sort of gangly. They could be my brothers. We could get togther and drink beer and I could talk about football and they could talk about bluegrass standards and I'd get them more beers and sit back, glad they existed and that their heads swam with music. Sometimes I wish I could hear the music in peoples' heads. I mean, sometimes I've got a gem up there all day, something like "Airbag," kind of violent and syncopated and cascading, but sometimes "Back in the USSR" hangs out. Actually, "Hey Jude" is a favorite all-day head song. I think all the songs I really love, the ones I put on mix tapes (these should probably be mix CDs by now) and the ones I come back to again and again all have their origin in a single listen, in a long car ride or at a bar when it's quiet or the nightly headphone hour. It's always a transformative event, an awakening to the song, the moment, the mood, the feel, something like the moment in which a girl you've seen fifteen times suddenly turns into the girl you can't not look at.

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