When I first heard the song Just as You Are from Comicopera, I got all teary; it was just so beautiful that I had to play it again right away. We were in the car and I told Jim it reminded me of him?then we really listened to the lyrics “It's that look in your eyes, Telling me lies, So many promises broken,”. Oops.
This is actually a song filled with regret, the regret of loving a weak man who can give you nothing, the regret of being that weak man unable to be worthy of undying love. It's also the most accessible song on the album and my absolute favorite; and it does not at all remind me of Jim, for the record.
I have no idea how personal these songs are to Robert Wyatt, former star in Soft Machine (with Kevin Ayers), but after a life of intense excess which eventually led him to fall, inebriated, out a window at a party and end up in a wheel chair, I can guess that perhaps regret is something he knows about–but certainly not as far as his illustrious career goes.
Considered highly influential and even legendary in both jazz and rock, Wyatt is actually a new discovery for me thanks to my friend Ben, who gave me this CD to listen to.
I was shocked to find this album was recorded this year. Not because it sounds dated (though it has a timeless quality to it, so if you told me it were from 1970 I wouldn't be that surprised), but because it sounds so fresh and interesting and we all know, that as a basic principle, musicians tend to fall way, way out of fashion as the years go by. Just ask Mick Jagger what he's been up to.
There are some pretty tunes on here, like the aforementioned (and, I have to reiterate, so SO good) song Just as You Are, but the general tone here is experimental, dissenting, and far out. No two songs sound the same at all, some are slightly harsh, some are world musicy, some are soft and soothing, but the overall experience of the album is embracing; it's an album you have to spend some time with, let it sit with you a while, and eventually begin to understand it all.