Songs Of The Day 7/12/2015: Lindsey Buckingham – “Bwana” + "That's How We Do It In L.A."

Playing With Myself: One-Person Recordings – Sometimes you just can’t delegate. Not because you’re mistrustful, not because your coterie of friends wouldn’t do their best to represent your interests. They just can’t worm themselves into your mind and discern where your head is at. They don’t have the proper permits.

Psychology Today, a magazine I faithfully consider browsing every year or so, once made a distinction between loneliness and solitude. I think it’s important to consider the difference. Solitude is, most often, a temporary choice enacted to recharge one’s self, with the hopes that discoveries made in solitude migrate into eventual communion with others. Loneliness is an insulated, ostracized sensation, not always a choice, in which social re-emergence is not an immediate option, whether via rejection, disgust or foul breath.

For example: With a lonely person, the perceived rejection from society forms an echo chamber that causes one to envision, and sometimes carry out, a vicious and harmful attack on civilization. With solitude, these attacks come in the form of woodworking, sidewalk murals or breakup songs.

With loneliness, one may become a two-dimensional, flatlining stimulus-response apparatus, a human lever whose sole measure of variance is how much mechanical advantage he exerts into his activity. With solitude, you can sometimes do that at a strip club or Dave and Buster’s.

With loneliness, one can get online, hide behind an anonymous screen name, and troll the internet with stupidly formed, misanthropic statements in emulation of superiority and preeminence. In solitude, you’d run spell-check and leave off the #GamerGate tag. See the difference?

This week’s songs are by individuals in solitude: furiously talented musicians who’ve mastered many skills and have made these recordings all by themselves, playing all the instruments, singing all the vocals, and in many cases running the recording equipment themselves (though I allow those who used outside engineers). Then, they put the records out, a lot of people enjoy them, and absolutely nobody is expecting them to hack out a crazy industrial manifesto on a broken typewriter. They’ll eventually be social. But for these recordings, they did everything. You might be able to guess a couple of the artists I have in mind this week.

First is Lindsey Buckingham. In normal settings he performs with a band named Fleetwood Mac. My favorite album from them is Tusk, which shattered a few empty chardonnay glasses in Marin County with an edgy mix of perambulation and fringy bluntness. It was largely Lindsey’s doing as he was almost certainly the most likely member of Fleetwood Mac to have heard a Buzzcocks song. Lindsey made a few solo albums, most of which featured him on everything, a few of which I would lay down and die for, or at least take a very focused nap.

Lindsey's first solo joint was Law and Order in 1981, meaning it was his first artistic effort since Tusk. It’s full-on quirk, a neatly deconstructed survey of the pop form, featuring tricks like variable speed recording (check out the background vocals), shot-up drum machines and something that sounds like a kazoo. I love Law and Order a lot and wanted to put up its most manic track. I couldn’t decide between “Bwana” (which has the thing that sounds like a kazoo) and “That’s How We Do It In L.A.,” so this being a relatively free society it’s a twofer Sunday.

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