This week's Confessions column is a special edition. Special in that it has taken far too long to get a new installment written, and special in that there is a guest writer helping me with this week's album. Boys and girls, say hello to Mark Saleski.
It is appropriate that Saleski join me in this week's installment because he has welcomed me to be a part of his Friday Morning Listen and because he is directly responsible for my being in possession of the album we are going to discuss.
He wrote a magnificent review of "One Man Wrecking Machine," the first single from Guster's Ganging Up on the Sun. I loved the review and was intrigued by his description of the song. I was not the only one who noticed this review. An editor for American Songwriter noticed it and commissioned him to write a Guster article for the magazine (it's in stores now, go buy 10 or 12 issues — it's the one with Jewel on the cover).
Saleski is a man of many contacts, he is sneaky powerful, and managed to get me on the same mailing list he is on. Last Monday, a package containing two CDs arrived in the mail. One was Madonna's new live CD/DVD. The other was Ganging Up on the Sun. I was clearly more interested in the Guster. I am pretty sure the same can be said for Saleski.
If I were a representative of Reprise records, Guster's label, I would call a staff meeting and I would give them the Glengarry Glen Ross speech. I would tell every rep in the room I am going to kill and then punish if "One Man Wrecking Machine" is not a Top 10 single on every college rock station in America and if it does not reach the Top 40 on the Billboard pop charts.
That is how good this song is. That is how much I believe in this song. That is how much I want every person to be able to hear it. That is the great shame in the state of radio today. That is the maximum number of sentences I want to begin with the word "that."
"One Man Wrecking Machine" combines a great story and a universal theme and bathes them in great songcraft to create a catchy song with something to say. It is sad we have lowered our expectations to the point where a song like this is the exception and not the rule. The kids would probably like it but this, sort of like the Glen Phillips record of the last installment, is pop music for grown ups. This song will minister to you if you are far enough removed from high school to have some insight as to what has gone right and, more importantly, wrong since then.