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Aqualung at 40...You Poor Old Sod

The famous title track scared the shit of me as a kid, still alarms me, and was, of course, meant that way. The “aqualung,” I’ve finally decided, signifies the title wino’s capacity to live under the surface of, not water, but conventional society; he figuratively swims through shit every waking moment and fear for his safety every sleeping moment. Tull faithful (ironic construction, see below) call this the righteous-sounding reissue, and indeed the organ burbles as it comes, guitars ring clear, and Ian Anderson’s disingenuous, sometimes superior chuckling asides figure as up-front as they should. He’s a crank, sure, but could the Kinks have edged out “Cross-Eyed Mary”’s underdog-licking slattern for perverse English portraiture? Or piled on the self-fantasy with the reportage to assemble “Mother Goose”?

It’s the album, of course, where God goes down — and rightly so, for that God. But Anderson’s specific preaching against the composition, of that Almighty, too often goes by the boards. It’s actually all there in “My God” (planned irony, that time, dissolving Anglican Communion using the personal possessive with the A.C.’s own song forms). We’re genuflecting in all the wrong places, but we can be truly saved through considered, communing animism. Don’t look up. Don’t point up. Look everywhere. Your neighbor is, thyself, so you already love your neighbor, and “You poor old sod,” it’s the divine in “you see” saluting the divine everywhere else, even if “it’s only,” for one replayable moment, for one specific linear lyric in linear time — “me.”

  • Album: Aqualung: 40th Anniversary
  • Artist: Jethro Tull
  • Label: Chrysalis/EMI
  • Songs: Disc 1: (1) Aqualung (2) Cross-Eyed Mary (3) Cheap Day Return (4) Mother Goose (5) Won'dring Aloud (6) Up To Me (7) My God (8) Hymn 43 (9) Slipstream (10) Locomotive Breath (11) Wind-Up. — Disc 2: (1) Lick Your Fingers Clean (2) Just Trying To Be (New Mix) (3) My God (Early Version) (4) Wond'ring Aloud (13th December 1970) (5) Wond'ring Aloud (13th December 1970) (6) Slipstream (Take 2) (7) Up The 'Pool (Early Version) (8) Wond'ring Aloud, Again (Full Morgan Version) (9) Life Is A Long Song (New Mix) (10) Up The 'Pool (New Mix) (11) Dr Bogenbroom (2011 - Remaster) (12) From Later (2011 Remaster) (13) Nursie (2011 Remaster) (14) U.S. Radio Spot
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Little apes on a little rock in a sea of nothingness

Scoobert Doobert, Sorry It’s Over, Nortec Collective, Stephen Pearcy, Mrs. Henry

The famous title track scared the shit of me as a kid, still alarms me, and was, of course, meant that way. The “aqualung,” I’ve finally decided, signifies the title wino’s capacity to live under the surface of, not water, but conventional society; he figuratively swims through shit every waking moment and fear for his safety every sleeping moment. Tull faithful (ironic construction, see below) call this the righteous-sounding reissue, and indeed the organ burbles as it comes, guitars ring clear, and Ian Anderson’s disingenuous, sometimes superior chuckling asides figure as up-front as they should. He’s a crank, sure, but could the Kinks have edged out “Cross-Eyed Mary”’s underdog-licking slattern for perverse English portraiture? Or piled on the self-fantasy with the reportage to assemble “Mother Goose”?

It’s the album, of course, where God goes down — and rightly so, for that God. But Anderson’s specific preaching against the composition, of that Almighty, too often goes by the boards. It’s actually all there in “My God” (planned irony, that time, dissolving Anglican Communion using the personal possessive with the A.C.’s own song forms). We’re genuflecting in all the wrong places, but we can be truly saved through considered, communing animism. Don’t look up. Don’t point up. Look everywhere. Your neighbor is, thyself, so you already love your neighbor, and “You poor old sod,” it’s the divine in “you see” saluting the divine everywhere else, even if “it’s only,” for one replayable moment, for one specific linear lyric in linear time — “me.”

  • Album: Aqualung: 40th Anniversary
  • Artist: Jethro Tull
  • Label: Chrysalis/EMI
  • Songs: Disc 1: (1) Aqualung (2) Cross-Eyed Mary (3) Cheap Day Return (4) Mother Goose (5) Won'dring Aloud (6) Up To Me (7) My God (8) Hymn 43 (9) Slipstream (10) Locomotive Breath (11) Wind-Up. — Disc 2: (1) Lick Your Fingers Clean (2) Just Trying To Be (New Mix) (3) My God (Early Version) (4) Wond'ring Aloud (13th December 1970) (5) Wond'ring Aloud (13th December 1970) (6) Slipstream (Take 2) (7) Up The 'Pool (Early Version) (8) Wond'ring Aloud, Again (Full Morgan Version) (9) Life Is A Long Song (New Mix) (10) Up The 'Pool (New Mix) (11) Dr Bogenbroom (2011 - Remaster) (12) From Later (2011 Remaster) (13) Nursie (2011 Remaster) (14) U.S. Radio Spot
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Comments
4

Disc one is a pleasure to listen too with the flute and quitar. Ignore side two

Oct. 21, 2012

Years and years ago, I mean probably at least 30-35, Ian Anderson said in a recorded interview that he envisioned Aqualung, the homeless man with poor hygiene portrayed in the cover painting, getting that nickname because of breathing problems. And of course, his then wife Jenny helped write the song.

Oct. 21, 2012

In case anyone every wondered where I got my name...father Pike was a big Tull fan.

Oct. 23, 2012

Who the hell taught grammar to this author? Must have forgotten the chapter on commas.

Oct. 25, 2012

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