L.A. Songs – “Why You’d Want To Live Here”

Death Cab For Cutie

I’m not entirely certain why I want to move back to L.A. This New Mexico sabbatical was supposed to be a break from the smog and the water and the panic, but I’d forgotten how much I love the Land of Enchantment. The air is clean and cool. The vibe is chilled out. The wilderness is huge and absurdly beautiful.

This song doesn’t help matters in the least. Chalk up another one against the City of Angels. Death Cab For Cutie weigh in heavily against Los Angeles in a characteristic sing-song, free-verse style.

It’s a lovely summer’s day
I can almost see a skyline through a thickening shroud of egos.
Is this the city of angels or demons?
And here the names are what remain: stars encapsulate the golden lame
and they need constant cleaning for when the tourists begin salivating.

Yowtch. But I’ll tell ya something. For me, there is a certain joy to be found in contrast, in good mingling with bad, in beauty vs. desolation. The beauty is enhanced by the presence of the wicked. And I’d even go so far as to say that the desolation itself takes on a certain wistful beauty. Sunset Boulevard is a crass, capitalistic nightmare (at least between Doheny and Fairfax) but when the sun is just right, and the breeze carries, beneath the exhaust and the perfume, that subtle tang of salt, it takes on a sort of melancholy luster.
So bring on the bad. L.A. is nothing if not a contradiction.

Sunset Boulevard (at Fuller Ave)

on the Web: official site, Vivian Stanshall, itunes

About the author: will

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