Song Of The Day 7/20/2015: Gino Vannelli – “A New Fix for ‘76”

Yacht Rock Underground – How does the svelte Mediterranean daguerreotype of Canadian crooner Gino Vannelli yet loom over the recesses of my recollections? The ringlet-festooned singer, whose “I Just Wanna Stop” was his only major U.S. hit, carved such an alcove in my mind that I made him a supporting character in the only short story I’ve written in the last 30 years, “The Bag” from 2001. I didn’t do much with him, though. I wish I’d included him more. Maybe I should spin him off into a graphic novel.

Before Gino carried us away on gossamer wings set aloft by Fabio’s breath, he had some interesting ideas. And when I say “interesting,” I’m being condescending. I mean “peculiar.” The case study of Gino’s pre-jazz-life career actually works in favor of my beleaguered prog-rock-loving friends: It proves that some prog is definitely, clearly, better than other kinds, and my friends all unfailingly like the better kinds. You can’t just plop squeaky keyboards and bumper stickers on top of a dystopian narrative and call it prog. You actually have to work to make it all fit.

I’m saying all this because today’s song is from a Gino Vannelli album called The Gist of the Gemini. Yes, as a matter of fact, Vannelli is a Gemini. He wasn’t jumping to another astrological sign in efforts to pander. He’s a real goddamn Gemini. June 16, sucker. The album is not at all like the soothing throw pillow of “I Just Wanna Stop.” Gino had a point he wanted to make on The Gist of the Gemini, about the complicated and awkward position society found itself in after the Age of Aquarius fizzled out and nobody cared much about cleaning up.

Problem is, I’m not sure what the point he was trying to make is supposed to be. Whatever it was, man, did he try to wedge it into the lyrics, which make it sound like English is Vannelli’s second language. (I suppose as a Canadian he had two to choose from.) Check these dope bibliography-inspiring rhymes out:
Oh do they wonder how can I
Bring the world beneath this guise
In the silence of my languished soul

– “Ugly Man”

I pour myself in your virgin veins
Now all that I see is through a passion’s pain
Cause I’m all hung up over you

– “Omens of Love”

First the high and then a low
Getting ero-mantic vertigo

– “Fly Into This Night”

The question is not whether freedom we’ve got
Is worth the consequence of war
The question is just, can I hold you at dusk
Without you asking me for more
Post-war eunuch, a lover that is lame
Some famous hero and no one shares his name

– “Carnal Question”
By the way that last lyric is from a side-long extended work called “The War Suite.” Whoosh. Today’s song, however, is a stinging repudiation of the hippie revolution of the late ’60s. Gino’s message is essentially that it’s time to take a shower and dump out that heathen herb you kept in the cigar box, ’cause it’s a new day and Giorgio Moroder is ready for his closeup. “We can’t be that asinine to think that 1969 was the way it should be,” he bellows. No, we can't. We can't possibly be that asinine. Stop being asinine if that was what you were doing.

He also has issues with LSD and suggests adoption of a hair care regimen that works for everyone. Have a look-see. I don’t think he’s kidding. And I just remembered I don’t really dig graphic novels.
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