Our Song of the Day is from Camper Van Beethoven’s latest album El Camino Real, the second offering from the band to focus on the their California home base. If you don’t know much about California and you’re planning a holiday there the album will certainly influence your destination choice. Frontman David Lowery used this comparison of the albums:
“Whereas La Costa Perdida reflects the northern California ‘back to the country’ side of the band with lush and trippy references to Jack Kerouac, Richard Brautigan, The Beach Boys and ‘Big Sur’, the songs on El Camino Real are firmly rooted in a grittier earth. One that lies beneath the southern half of the state and stretches all the way down to Baja California.”
That grittier earth works its way into the lives of those that live there, the image revealed is a darker far more secretive world where your neighbour in the hills is just as likely to be an ex-dictator whilst the poor live in the flatlands (some things are the same the world over).
Our Song of the Day, It Was Like That When We Got Here, is one of two songs from the album that focus on an early ’80s party held partway up a hill….”pretty typical LA parties, mostly booze and a little bit of drugs in the back room somewhere.” Their hostess was apparently from Spain although the Mexican “La Frontera” licenses plates in hindsight were a giveaway, something Lowery ponders on in his song dissection blog 300 Songs “This was the early 1980′s and the Mexican and Colombian drug cartels hadn’t really made any headlines, so we always assumed that our host was connected to the Sicilian Mafia. Which somehow made it seem safer.”
In any event, it was during one of these parties that an enormous brush fire broke out in the Angeles National forest. The apocalyptic scene only set to enliven the party guests. The repeated line in the song of “It was like that when we got here” are words of a stoned mind, naive innocence or maybe both. Either way, its effective and helps make it a great song.
La Costa El Camino Real is Out Now
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