Friday, September 10, 2010

Late: Gotta Get Up

Harry Nilsson: Gotta Get Up


I was a latecomer to the work of Harry Nilsson, mostly because I'm not as old as I look, and because my house was totally bereft of his albums when I was growing up. But songs like Gotta Get Up prove the man's undersung status as both songwriter and arranger.

The rich melodic cacophony of sound that builds to a peak in just a few lines - the piano, the guitar riffs, the heartbeat drum, the horn section, the Lennonesque "la la la la la" voices - aptly paints the frantic urgency of middle age, the late night desperation that sours the party lifestyle when daybreak is imminent and the responsibility of workaday life looms large. The cartoonish accelerated endcap captures the same rush of panic-fueled urgency I remember from my own fading youth when the subway hit the sunrise and I knew I wasn't going to make it in on time. And that loose, lascivious sailor's accordion when the nostalgia kicks in? Pure genius.

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