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Tuesday, March 30, 2004

This morning I was making videos in my head to songs I heard, mostly literal ones--for the Modern Lovers' "Government Center" I envisioned a bunch of clerical workers getting up on their desks in a large, open "pit" area of an office building and dancing in a early-60's style, and possibly forming a line that would snake out the door into the broad stone plaza and break off into a choreographed overhead shot, and also possibly at some point seeing the grumpy boss and either lofting him above heads on hands or putting sunglasses and leis on his head so he would smile and begin dancing; for Elvis Costello's "I Want You," a song I felt never really hit a musical pitch to match the intense emotion(s?) being expressed, I crafted a theatrical scenario that would finally force the whole arc of the song to make sense, with the speaker crouched in a corner for the sarcastic, bitingly sentimental opening, then having his girlfriend walk in the door with the guitar kertwang at 0:53, watching her take off her coat and put her purse down from 0:54-1:23, then rising and approaching her, muttering the words under his breath, then following her around the apartment as she ignores him until 2:54, then tapping her on the back at 2:55 and calmly addressing his argument to her, then she turns away for the brief solo and he becomes enraged, then after that he grabs her by the shoulders and says it directly to her face, grunting it at her, a shot of her as she mouths a reply but we still only hear the vocals, he pushes her back through the apartment as she twists out of his grasp, he grabs her wrist, yells at her, tries to pull her close, but she punches him in the chest and pushes him onto the floor at 4:50, he sits there from 4:51-5:15 without seeing her, she emerges with a suitcase and a coat, and we watch him watch as he whispers the words softly, under his breath, watching her pack and fix her clothes, she closes the door at 6:10, and then a tight close-up of his face hovering in darkness from 6:11-6:44, almost crying; for the Fiery Furnaces' "Tropical Ice-Land," less a video in my head than simply looking out the window of the crosstown bus and being convinced that this is what the song is about, a bright busy place enveloped by cold, shivering and dull and brittle, but still busy, still occupied, still languidly soaring, somehow.