JM published a blog today.
His tone is somewhat quiet...less ebullient and self-effacing than usual. Even read on a fanblog that someone thinks the blog entry was written by a publicist because the tone was so unlike what we're used to. Perez published a picture of a secret gig John played last night at Mercury Lounge, and much was made of the fact that he's wearing actual nice pants...like, flat front trousers. Not a stitch of denim or a cargo pocket in sight. No wrinkles. Simple black sweater. Acoustic guitar. Barstool and a microphone. Still tattoo'd and rumply hair (still John) but somehow more serious.
To that, I respond:
He's turning 30 in two days. Wouldn't you be a little sober regarding that fact? I know I was. (Lo, these many months ago...confession: I am exactly 5 months and 2 days older than JM. Class of 1995, woo!)
He just worked his ass off, to-wit: putting out a double-Grammy-winning, platinum-selling album a short 13 months ago, touring throughout the winter, touring cross-country all summer, dealing with press constantly in his face, and not always about the music. Then he came off the road and continued to gig for the last couple months or so, playing the intimate, club-like settings of the Royal Fucking Albert Hall, Live Earth and Hokie Stadium. Along the way, he rocked well over half a million of us to our very cores, creaming jeans, shredding guitars and breaking (and winning) hearts along the way. Oh yes, and winning TEC awards for the whole shebang.
I can't blame him for taking the last few weeks to recharge, play around in Cabo, LA and NYC, eat some serious Texas BBQ and see a pretty girl or two. He hasn't been home in awhile.
So he sounds serious? He's back in the office. Work mode. For poets and songwriters, work is late night gigs, studio time, and turning one's soul inside out, providing the less artistic population with words and sounds by which to laugh, cry, think and relate. No doubt about it, there's a JM song for every hour of my day, every day of my week. Doesn't happen without a little effort.
Now that I've jumped over the fence and have my 20's securely in my rearview mirror, I can relate to where JM is in life- perhaps that's why I dig him and his music so very much. Yes, as a 20-something, you are an adult, vested with all the rights and privileges pertaining thereto. However, the years between 24 and 30 are the last vestiges of chronological youth, and represent a serious maturation curve.
There's a mindfulness and sensibility that comes with waking up one morning and knowing you just can't pretend to be young and stupid anymore. The trick is to make sure that, at heart, you are the same person you always were, and you are being true to yourself.
Most of us don't know JM personally, and quite honestly, he could be the nicest guy on the block or he could be a total asshole. I get the feeling that despite the occasional Hollywood douchebaggery, he's still a relatively normal guy from the Connecticut suburbs who geeks out on his watch collection, hangs out with his buddies and calls his folks once a week. No, he's not the man he used to be lately. Personally, I don't care. His fans have had the amazing privilege to watch his evolution, both as an artist and as a guy. I know I'm nowhere near the same person I was when I was 22. Why should I expect anyone else to remain static?
To quote the man himself, I'll take him any way I can, as long as the music is there.
Knowing John's track record in that area, this fangirl ain't goin' nowhere.