Morning Music: Tin Man

Holiday - AmericaI’ll admit: this is an embarrassing one. My parents both loved the song “Tin Man” by America. As I remember it, they thought that it was profound: “Oz never did give nothing to the Tin Man that he didn’t already have.” Even at ten years old, I thought that was lame. I mean, I’d seen the movie. That’s the whole point. The whole point is that the Tin Man who doesn’t have a heart is the most emotional and caring of the characters. The Cowardly Lion is the bravest when it comes down to it. And the Straw Man is the smartest.

Years later, my friend Will and I got into America. And the “Tin Man” album, Holiday, is one of the more listenable of their albums. But it was a transition thing. I know their first ten albums forward and backward. And never has so much care and attention be wasted on such dreck. It’s not all bad. It has its moments. And the guys were clearly all talented. But there is no substance. And Dewey Bunnell, who wrote “Tin Man” and “A Horse With No Name” and many other “word collage” songs almost seems like he could have developed into a fine songwriter if he hadn’t found success so easy with gibberish.

3 thoughts on “Morning Music: Tin Man

  1. Yes, yes, yes……. I feel like we are in the Star Trek episode with the Horta and we are all listening to Spock saying, “the pain, the pain.”
    Yet, I cannot help hold a torch for their melodic sense and thematic emotional whimpism.
    Cannot mention America without two things noteworthy: Their live albums (of which there are three or more, now) are them at their best (despite spontaneous lyrical changes) and their guitar chords are near impossible to play, in order, in time.

    • I should have mentioned that I learned a tremendous amount about songwriting from them. It is DB who used all the odd chords. But they really aren’t that hard to play — especially since he often only uses two for a whole song!

  2. I beg to differ.

    I love their first few albums and even the later ones because like Brian Eno they are very ambient. Additionally their songs are actually perfect stress relievers as well. America was a band with no real pretensions of depth I believe. Just a band that was perfect for the laid back seventies.

    In fact- Erik Satie (if he was alive circa 1972) might have absolutely adored their music I believe…

    Trust me. If you are ever having a nervous breakdown (not that I have ever had one) – sit yourself down and put on Homecoming (their second album) on the ole 8 track, turntable or cd player and just let your mind wander. And then please tell me if I am wrong… It will clear your mind of worry man.

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