Sunday, December 13, 2009

Afscheid

When I heard a Robert Long song on the radio this morning, I wanted to check out when he died - I had the feeling it was just about a year ago. Turns out I had the date spot on, but incredibly already 3 years have gone by since he succumbed to cancer. Robert Long first enjoyed some success in Holland as lead singer of the band Unit Gloria around 1970. In 1974, he released a solo-album of Dutch songs, Vroeger of later. It was a shattering debut, swerving between ballad and cabaret, with many texts controversially dealing with Long's loathing of religion and his homosexuality. The album contained one absolute gem: the song Afscheid (Farewell). It is a simple song, with Long's voice accompanied only by piano, but the text is of literary quality - it could have been a poem. Two lovers find that they have drifted apart, and that it is necessary to say goodbye. The total effect is incredibly moving, and should be able to transcend language barriers.
Art Rock score: 10/10 (brilliant masterpiece, one of 200 best songs of all time)

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