I was having a chat with someone last night. He then began to wax lyrical about an album by a band that I’d never heard of whose music heralded the era of The Band. He loved it so much he said it had never been off the turntable. We shared a moment. I know how that feels. Then as I went off he said, “The old ones are always the best.”
I was annoyed at myself. I should have said, No. But instead I quietly nodded and smiled. It’s not true. It’s never been less true. On the way up the stair I thought about this and considered ten things I might have said. The French have a name for this feeling – L’Esprit d’Escalier. The quick one liner you wished you’d said to some smart Alec who has just given you a cheap put down. The smart quip you never thought of as you squirmed awkwardly at some second rate joke by someone you don’t even respect. Literally, the wit of the staircase. Aah regret.
But the old ones are not the best. I could easily play lots of new music and only new music. There are great new things being constantly created all the time and many of them quickly become modern classics – that’s the magic of pop music. Last night on the way home from the show I played Ray LaMontagne’s new album for the first time. It’s stunning. I’m bringing it in next week and you’ll get a chance to hear it. Believe me – the new ones are every bit as good as the best.