Creative Cup Runeth Out?

9 07 2010

This past week, my inbox saw to 80’s veterans return to what they hope is relevance.  Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and Laurie Anderson have come out of what seems to be retirement from the studio to offer new albums. While Petty’s MOJO is a disappointing mess of a blues album I’d expect from has beens like George Thorogood or ZZ Top, Anderson’s long awaited CD, Homeland, is creative, listenable and edgy all at the same time, not missing a bit of her uniqueness that made her a fan favorite for the past 25 years.

Petty’s crash and her triumph had me thinking of age and depth of creativity.  Are we all given a finite amount of talent by the higher powers? Some have a heaping helping, some have just one hit in them. Take for instance the big guns of the seventies: James Taylor, Billy Joel, Carole King and Joni Mitchell. While all still talented, where are the original songs and ideas they had in their 20’s and 30’s? Joel and King are basically touring jukeboxes, and while James and Joni do toss out an occasional set of new material, its dull and ignored, leaving them to make money rehashing their old hits in 10 different ways.

But the biggest tragedy in “the cup runeth out” is my boy Prince, who from the time he was a teenager oozed creativity and broke ground for generations to come with albums like Purple Rain, Around the World and Sign O’The Times, but the combo of losing his muses, Wendy & Lisa, and finding Jesus seemed to suck every last  bit of edgy out of him, leaving him in the dustbin of oldies acts with Joni, his idol.

So, one day, will we be having this conversation about Gaga or Drake? Undoubtedly yes. But for now, have some consolation that not all is lost, we’ve still got Laurie Anderson, thank god.

You can read Moose’s print column Dancing About Architecture in Nightspots Magazine