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I am a Los Angeles-based twentysomething. I have a profession, and I have a secret life in music, and this blog isn't about any of that. I like Blogger because I can't read what you're thinking.

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Thursday, March 10   >>

NOT EVERYTHING I WANT, BUT JUST ENOUGH TO MAKE ME LIKE YOU A LOT

I saw Vertical Horizon a couple nights ago.

No, this blog post is not coming to you from the year 1998.

I won a pair of tickets to see Vertical Horizon at the Roxy (learn to love time-sensitive Twitter giveaways) so The Girlfriend and I were stoked. Their Everything You Want LP was on heavy rotation in my Rio 500 player when it came out.

By no means are they a huge inspiration to whatever I'm doing on my own. But I was pretty excited because I grew to appreciate lead singer Matt Scannell in recent years. I interviewed many singer/songwriters who cite Scannell as a big inspiration to their lyrics, and I understood the gravity of his influence on light pop-rock when I was at the ASCAP Expo a few years ago. His name was thrown around like a mythical all-knowing pop writer.

And it makes sense. Not only are Vertical Horizon's songs completely digestible, they're also pretty honest without being cheesy (Sting once said, "You walk a fine line between profound and stupid when writing simple lyrics.")

So when they played the other night, I wasn't expecting anything other than what's made them the success that they've become. As ridiculously talented they are in chops, they're not trying to show off musicianship. They're just playing solid, tight arrangements of songs written in relatively basic forms. Their band has the competence and ability to play in 13/8 in F#m, but they know they don't have to because, well, why?

They played some new stuff no one knows and saved the few hits everyone knows for last. It was kind of beautiful noticing that they have accepted where they are, and have accepted that they can't be what they once were. They were smiling near-40somethings riding on the wave of a few hits and appreciating the fact that they can still fill a club without any real PR effort (when was the last time you even HEARD of them?) They write songs that work, and if you can be happy writing songs that work for a lot of other people too, that seems like a really fulfilling life. I stood in the back, nodded, clapped, and left at the end. I hope I'm half as happy as they are at that age.