As previously noted here, Jimmy Buffett's final studio album, "Equal Strain On All Parts," came out a week ago, and it serves as a lovely, appropriate capper on Buffett's long and entertaining career.
Like pretty much all of Buffett's late-career albums, "Equal Strain" has a mix of songs that touch on all the various elements of the Buffett persona - playful, thoughtful, nostalgic, wistful.
I have to say that two of my favorites are covers of other people's songs - "Like My Dog," which was first recorded a dozen years ago by Billy Currington," and "Mozambique," which is often referred to as most Buffett-style song ever recorded by Bob Dylan. (Aptly, Mozambique apparently is one of the few places that Buffet never actually visited; even in the months leading up to his death, he was looking to the future, for a new adventure.)
But there are some wonderful songs here. The title song is about the pleasures of a great nap. "My Gummie Just Kicked In" is exactly what you think it is, with backup by Paul McCartney. And "Bubbles Up" is about how, when you are underwater and find yourself in trouble, you just follow the bubbles, which always will bring you to the surface - it is a touching metaphor for life and, in its own way, death.
Let's face it. I loved the whole album. I find myself sad because we'll never see Buffett perform these songs live, but in listening to these tunes, all recorded in the months before he passed away, Buffett shows us about having the right priorities in life, and facing death with a smile and, of course, a song.
Let's plot the course to the rough and the right
To the bright blazing days
And the sweet starry nights.
They will point us towards home
No matter how deep or how far we roam
They will show you the surface
The plot and the purpose
So, when the journey gets long
Just know that you are loved
There is light up above
And joy - there is always enough
I have mixed emotions about “Now and Then," which is described as a "new" Beatles song, their first new tune in 50 years. But, of course, it isn't that - John Lennon and George Harrison left us long ago, and the song has been cobbled together from old tapes, new accompaniment and vocals by Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, and a healthy dose of technological magic.
It isn't first rate Beatles by any means, but it does prompt a sense of sadness. After all, the Rolling Stones just came out with their first new album in years, and somehow they've managed to transcend their years. For better or worse, the Beatles never got that chance.
I was happy to hear their voices blended together one more time, but I found myself thinking about the lesson of "Jurassic Park" - just because you can do something doesn't mean you should do something.
I have a tasty wine to share with you this week - the 2021 Violin Pinot Noir, which, naturally, comes from Oregon's Willamette Valley (which, as far as I am concerned, is where all great pinots come from). It is rich and smooth, with just a bit of spice. Just wonderful.
That's it for this week.
Have a great weekend, and I'll see you Monday.