Monday, May 9, 2022

Change: Change With The Changing Times

The dB’s: Change With The Changing Times
[purchase, if you can

As my friend and multi-site blogging colleague Seuras pointed out, I do fly the prog rock flag often in this space, and I also write regularly about Americana music (which is what I seem to listen to mostly these days), and 70s-80s punk/new wave, not to mention a bunch of pieces about TV. But another genre that I’m a big fan of is power pop, which, I guess, tries to rehabilitate the uncool “pop” genre by adding the word “power” to it. And I have focused on its purveyors here before, but never about the dB’s. 

The dB’s seem exactly like a band that I would have been deeply into when they started in the ‘80s. Their first album, Stands for Decibels, came out in 1981, while I was working at WPRB, and its power pop crossed with jangle sound would have fit right into my playlists then, but I really don’t remember it at all. Nor do I remember their second album, which came out in 1982 at some point. After college, when I started to become a big fan of R.E.M., and the band led by their producer, Mitch Easter, Let’s Active, I somehow became aware of the dB’s, led by Peter Holsapple and Chris Stamey, who was a childhood friend and former bandmate of Easter’s, although I similarly have no recollection of their third album. 

In 1987, at a time when I was starting out as a lawyer, and making real money for the first time, I was comfortable taking a flyer on a CD, and I remember getting the dB’s album The Sound of Music, probably after hearing something from it on the radio, probably WFUV. And it was good. It was filled with great, catchy songs, but my favorite then, and now, was “Change With The Changing Times,” which also featured Benmont Tench, from Tom Petty’s Heartbreakers, on organ (but not founding member Stamey). It’s a song about a man worrying that if he doesn’t keep up with his love’s changing interests, he’ll lose her. And it is catchy as hell. 

Here's the part of the blog post where I should pivot from writing about the song, to commenting about how, considering the leaked Alito opinion on abortion, America is about to change, and wondering how we will change with the changing times. But, honestly, I’m so sickened by the fact that we stand on the brink of seeing a Supreme Court packed by politicians who represent a minority of Americans strip a broadly popular constitutional right from women, with an opinion that might have well simply been a picture of Alito raising his middle fingers at most of the country, and which leaves open the actual risk of rolling back other constitutionally-guaranteed rights, ranging from marriage equality, contraception, sexual privacy, and even public school funding, that I really don’t want to go there. Any more than I just did.