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Arts Vanity Issue: On How 21 is the New 40+

David J. Kurlander

Last year—as I entered my beautiful and harrowing journey as the Crimson’s music executive—I penned a piece about feeling middle-aged called “On How 20 is the New 40.” The article was an ironic listicle with the central conceit that all of the songs I presented as relevant to my condition were from Paul Simon’s seminal 1986 album-about-balding, “Graceland.” No one that I know of shared the article, but several of my friends said it made them happy/sad.

Now, 364 days and about 726 uses of the deliciously vague term “synth beats” later, I stand on the precipice of both alcoholic legality and the end of my Crimson executive career. And I still feel old. I’ve been wondering whether I’m feeling 41 or if my conceptual aging process is accelerating on base 10 exponential relationships. I have an inkling it’s the latter, because I feel even older than I thought I would. I reviewed my “Fundamentals of Precalculus” textbook from when I was 17 (and already feeling desperately aged) and found via logarithms (log(40)/log(20)) that I might be feeling 21^1.23 years old. Please do not question this math. Anyway, that makes me almost 44.

Since I’m about to take my first legal drink (hooraaay...), I decided to dig up some rad dranking shanties from my real-feel year of birth, somewhere in the 1971-1974 range depending on whether one uses exponents.

Elderberry Wine (Elton John, 1972)

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Courtesy of lovestheclassics69

Bernie Taupin’s dope rhymes about divorce and alcoholism sound so upbeat in Elton’s silky baritenor that you wouldn’t even know the pain existed unless you hit MetroLyrics. Now I’m not even sure I’m going to go through with my initial b-day plan to set my fake IDs on fire at midnight and bounce over to Daedalus for a Bee’s Knees. Truly depressed.

Sea of Wine (Michael Chapman, 1973)

Courtesy of warmtoffee

Chapman doesn’t define whether his spirit is elderberry-based (inconsiderate) but his sexy English twangst (twangy-angst) has me back on the ID-burn, mid-century cocktail scheme. And, in my humble opinion, Chapman is “floating home on a Sea of Fine,” if you catch my drift.

Poison Whiskey (Lynyrd Skynyrd, 1973)

Courtesy of LynyrdSkynyrdLover

I’m feeling a little paranoid after listening to this ditty about Ronnie Van Zandt’s dad, who I guess died from that spiked J. Walker Red. One non-alcoholic elderberry wine for me, Daedalus bartender!

Cold Gin (KISS, 1974)

Courtesy of Kiss Army Boston

Rage-god Ace Frehley has been raging too hard in this legendary rager! You’re really getting “another quart” of Gordon’s, Ace? Damn. Damn. Also, I can’t tell if this song is about sex, but, if so, it’s disturbing at best.

Alcohol (The Kinks, 1971)

Courtesy of thedarkdefender420 .

This messes up the chronology of my listicle, but “Alcohol” is so powerful that having anything after it would be cruel. "Oh demon alcohol / Sad memories I can’t recall,” Ray Davies paradoxically warbles. He also blames his habit on a “fanatical” wife, but however badly she’s treating him, the litany of liquors in the second verse has me thinking he brought this upon himself. If I’m keeping up this hypothetical “To Daedalus or Not to Daedalus” debate, The Kinks are the real kicker—I’m off the devil’s tears once and for all, and just in gosh-damn time.

—David J. Kurlander is the Crimson’s Arts Board’s outgoing music exec and means no offense towards those with legitimate aging disorders, physical or psychosomatic.

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