Monday, August 16, 2010


This is one of the greatest summer songs of all time, "Heatwave" by Martha and the Vandellas. What exactly is a Vandella? The announcer finally gets to the bottom of it. Relieved to have some kind of answer, this starched shirt finally gets out of the way and lets them sing. The song sizzles like Georgia pavement. School's out, summer's here, and you feel like dancing. As far as heatwaves go, we're getting tired of the one we're stuck in. Our fans are working overtime. Last night it was too hot to sleep. Today you'd better steer clear or be ready for a wall of crankiness. Consider yourself warned.

A totally different song for a heatwave. Instead of a dance beat, this song has the sluggish tempo of an overhead fan when it's too hot to sleep. Dylan captures that long dark night of the soul. His sense of humanity has gone down the drain. Time has worn him out. You get the feeling he hasn't failed to write a pop song--the world has failed him. This is his testimony concerning a sickness. More Camus than Motown, this tune comes on the radio when you're laid up with a fever in Algiers wrestling with meaning and nothingness.

Shadows are falling and I’ve been here all day
It’s too hot to sleep, time is running away
Feel like my soul has turned into steel
I’ve still got the scars that the sun didn’t heal
There’s not even room enough to be anywhere
It’s not dark yet, but it’s getting there

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