Each Tuesday, FADER editor Matthew Schnipper highlights an underappreciated release he thinks we need to know about. This week it’s kinda nothing but it's also the Alessi Brother's incredible jam "Seabird." Listen to "Seabird" below and and read Schnipper’s thoughts after the jump.
My grandfather died late last week. He was 95! Here are some of the things he lived through: The Great Depression, World War II, The Korean War, both Kennedy brothers being shot, television being invented, Polio vaccine, cell phone, car phones, the Vietnam War, the Gulf War, 12 combined years of Bush presidencies, the passing of women's suffrage in the US, the entirety of the civil rights movement, and, maybe above all, to him, wild inflation. Dude was cheap. No way of getting around it. In all of the discussions my family has had about him, it’s been impossible to not mention his extreme thrift. I saw him on Father’s Day and he was in rough shape, but still managed to talk to me about how he splurged on six dollar glasses when the store had some for five.
Anyway, my grandpa was a good dude. I did not know this really until he was about 92. For the whole of my childhood, the time my sister and I spent with him consisted of him reading the paper or watching sports while not talking to us. My dad described his own post-childhood, pre-geriatric relationship with my grandfather as mostly being on the phone. “Hi Dad, how are you?” “Hi Mike. Good, how are you?” “Good.” “Do you want to talk to your mother?” And it’s totally apt. It’s endearing and kind of a bummer all mushed in one. But once he hit 92 and had to move out of his house of 60 years because he couldn’t physically get around and my grandmother’s mental state had declined, he began to open up. He told me about growing up in Brooklyn, about his family history, about life during the Depression, about constantly fighting with my grandmother, about whatever. I guess he got bored enough to chat. Who knows. I am grateful for those few years when he actually wanted to talk but will forever regret that they didn’t come a lot earlier.
I don’t want to be too sad. The last few days were both tough and not. His burial was rough as whenever an old rabbi says kaddish things automatically get heavy. Then everyone got lunch at a diner—my Alzheimer’s grandmother, her very sweet aide Lenny, my parents, my sister, her boyfriend, my other grandmother and the guy that drove the limo from Connecticut to Long Island, where my grandfather was buried. I had an omelet and it was pretty good. The World Cup was on TV. When I got home, we watched The Green Zone on On Demand and then I wrote my grandfather’s obituary. This isn’t really my style, but honestly, it’s pretty good. Writing is kind of hard and I was nervous but this was no sweat. 27 years of interviewing the dude my dad said! Totally true. Read it because he would have been stoked, even though he never would have said so, dude was a man's man.
So not to mix metaphors because I think this song is about romantic relationships, but I’ve been listening pretty consistently to the song “Seabird” by the Alessi Brothers. Pretty much just a soft group duo from the ’70s and ’80s. “Seabird” was on their debut record and was not a hit but is the best song in the world at least this week. Got a tiny little drum machine and a bunch of synths and melancholy acoustic guitar. There’s a road I know I must go/ Even though I tell myself that road is close/ Little lonely seabird, you’ve been away from land too long. I just bought this on eBay. This world isn’t big enough to keep me away from you/ Seabird, seabird, fly home. Alessi Brothers, you are making things so easy and yet so hard.
The other day at my parents’ house, errands complete and everyone wiped out by 11 o’clock, I decided to look up some events in New York I missed by being in Connecticut. I saw someone talking a bunch of really unfortunate shit, short-sighted, mean spirited, bad natured and just dumb. Then I was like “Why am I looking at this?” and I had no idea. So I stopped. I just feel like a dude born almost 100 years ago would not have time for hate like that. My cousin Joyce brought some photos of my grandfather wearing a red Hawaiian shirt and short shorts some time probably in the early ’70s. He was way better looking than I will ever be and also I already have less hair on my head. He would have said “Fuck the haters” and watched the Mets lose. Because what else are you going to do? He would have liked “Seabird,” too, bumped it by his brother-in-law's poolside in the short shorts. Rest in peace, Grandpa, you were a good dude.