Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Girl: Jane of the Waking Universe

I’m still thinking about my previous post, so I bring this burning question to the fore: Why are there so many songs about girls named Jane?

I mentioned Jane’s Addiction, and their eponymous femme subject who has become perhaps the most popular Jane in rock and rock, though The Velvet Underground’s Sweet Jane might want to argue that she holds top honors. And I’ve thought of a whole lot of other Janes, and I wonder: why is the name Jane so popular in the arts?

There are seriously a lot of songs about Janes. I searched a few lists of Jane-related songs, and f I could still add a few Janes I knew that weren’t included.

It’s an omnipresent moniker Tarzan had his Jane; Dylan had his Queen Jane, approximately; we all wonder still what happened to Baby Jane…I’ve know exactly one Jane my entire life, which seems an odd ratio: for someone who’s name appears in so many songs, you’d think I’d have known more.

OK, so, enough of my brain working through these odd trenches it gets lost in.

One of my favorite Jane songs is Guided By Voice’s Jane of the Waking Universe. Off 1997’s Mag Earwhig! Not their greatest album, but it did mark their transition into a more sonically sound and well-recorded band. Do the Collapse would follow, which was produced by Ric Ocasek of The Cars, which is like, all BV albums, brilliant in its own way, in its own special, sonic universe. Jane rounds end the end bit of a typically 20-plus track suitcase of pop rock oddities and anthemic hallelujahs to the god’s of indie rock joy. The lyrics mine the typical mystical beer can visions of Robert Pollard, who, whether he’s writing about kicking elves, having bulldog skin or being a tree, is a prolific madman genius who has given me some of my greatest and most beautiful musical moments. Jane of the Waking Universe is but one. And, on a new listen (It’s been a while since I dug Mag Earwhig! out for a listen, I’m going to say this: it’s freaking great. I may never meet many Janes, but goddamn if I’m not happy about being able to go back to old friends like GBV…Any Janes out that want to comment on why you’re so damn popular as an appellation, motif and theme…? 

 By the way...I can hope that when I'm Mitch Mitchell's age, I can still kick as much ass...

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