Hi friends! In case you missed it, I was thrilled to write about one of my all time fave records for my first New Yorker piece. Check it out if this seems like your cup of watery domestic:
Likely because Westerberg has always nervously eschewed the significant political content of his own work, the press and biographers have been slow to characterize “Tim” as what it truly is: a great working-class treatise whose thematic and musical DNA runs through the Stones’ “Beggars Banquet” and Bruce Springsteen’s “Darkness on the Edge of Town.”
Take, for instance, the joyously buoyant third track, “Kiss Me on the Bus,” an amorous flirtation and an echo of the Stones’ “Factory Girl” that depicts two paramours who will need to make their emotional intentions clear within the insoluble strictures of public transportation. “Hurry, hurry!” Westerberg implores, while looking for a kiss. “Here comes my stop!” Or its transport-centric companion piece “Waitress in the Sky,” which on its surface is a mean-spirited broadside against flight attendants but was actually a blow-for-blow description of the kind of abuse that Westerberg’s sister Julie experienced as a flight attendant. “A real union flight attendant, my oh my,” goes the sneering chorus. “You ain’t nothing but a waitress in the sky.” The invocation of union allegiance as a source of ridicule is not coincidental. In 1981, Reagan had christened an era of scorched-earth anti-union policy by firing en masse the striking air-traffic-controllers’ union PATCO. As safety nets for the working class and working poor were dismantled throughout the eighties and nineties, a fashionable stance among the emergent class of Milton Friedman- and Ayn Rand-informed right-wingers was that labor organization was a hubristic overreach at best and a Communist plot at worst.