Op-Ed: Why Jimmy Buffett and why now?

There’s only one escape from the melancholy of winter

| February 2, 2016
Jimmy Buffett during a performance at the Coyote Drive-In in Fort Worth, Texas, on Thursday, June 19, 2014. The event is being broadcast nationally to more than 80 other drive-ins across the U.S. (Ron Jenkins/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/MCT)

Jimmy Buffett during a performance at the Coyote Drive-In in Fort Worth, Texas, on Thursday, June 19, 2014. The event is being broadcast nationally to more than 80 other drive-ins across the U.S. (Ron Jenkins/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/MCT)

Why don’t we get drunk and screw?

Oh, sorry, just another days work at quoting Jimmy Buffett songs.

It is right and a good thing to do so (quote Buffett, I mean) as the rough temperament and frigid climate of winter is fast upon us. So instead of conceding to the winter blues I prefer to take arms against this beast that is bleak weather. Margaritas in company (I’m legal), I’m on a search for my own paradise, even if I’m hundreds of miles from the nearest tropical beach.

It’s bewildering how ignorant most people are of their Buffett songs. You’d be surprised, really. I know this because of how often people name off their favorite song of his after finding out I’m a fan. “Brown eyed girl” and “Southern Cross” seem to top the list of the most common responses I receive of their cherished note. This is odd, given those songs are not pieces of Buffett’s origination. A significant amount of tongue-biting is had, because I grin and bear their ignorance out of politeness.

If it sounds like I’m coming off as arrogant in my Buffett prowess, you would be right. I take pride in being a parrot-head connoisseur, a Buffet authority with a license to chill. I take pride in knowing his more obscure and off-the-beaten-album songs. I take pride because I understand the mastery in his craft. With the season that turns a Köppen climate classification of humid subtropical into a barren wasteland, it’s as important as ever to open your eardrums to his island inflection.

So when people say they love his rendition of Van Morrison’s song about a brown eyed girl, when they overlook the genius that is Tin Cup for a Chalice or A Pirate looks at 40, it’s a crying shame. It is so because they are neglecting the true brilliance and artistry that rests in his musical prose.

All of this is to say that the identities of his songs are relaxed, putting the audience on a reclined mental ease.  They emulate good vibes and unwind life to a tune of pacified positivity. And they’re humorous – Buffett is also a tactician of insightful wit. Formed collectively to elude reality, as us parrot-heads prefer the option of paradise. In short he can, through his dexterity, sketch a scene of one laying on a beach in Shangri-la with two Landshark’s (the beer company he owns) in each hand, bikinis whipping in breeze, just taking it easy.

He is able to accomplish this even when you’re stuck in actuality, juggling the hum drum of everyday life. Buffett’s music puts people in a good mood, meeting the burden Margarittaville isn’t a place, but a way of life. So while we bear the colds of January put on a Buffett song and paint a picture of your dream paradise, because I guarantee it is closer than you think… besides the trip was the cover; the cover was a trip!

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Category:Music and Arts, Opinion

Comments (1)

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  1. ParrotheaJZ says:

    Couldn’t have said it better myself! It’s a shame that people don’t really get it. They plead for covers and the party songs but don’t have a clue when it comes to deep tracks like “livingstons gone to Texas” “death of an unpopular poet” “12 volt man” etc just to name a few! The setlist show last April was proof of this. I myself like the yellow album songs and fun, party songs but people don’t really get that he should be cinsidered one of the best American songwriters of our time.