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Words and music by Eric Wrobbel
“Heart” is a quality with a confusing place in popular American culture. This quality surfaces from time to time and is embraced temporarily, then the culture--like someone suddenly embarrassed by the display of their own vulnerability--turns away and dismisses heart as corny, or a quality for weaklings.
Almost all the words used to praise things in pop culture are in some form the opposite of "heart." To say something is "cool" is to say it is dispassionate--perhaps interesting intellectually, but not emotionally. Same for hip, groovy, happening, boss, bitchin', tough, and every similar word or expression from the 1950s all the way up to our present day.
In this same time--since at least the mid-20th century--the pop culture universe has embraced a machine model as opposed to any model that could be called natural, or organic, or even human. We are constantly being exhorted to fly higher, run faster and longer, and be more efficient. We are to reach a machine-like perfection in every endeavor from team sports (like a finely-tuned machine) to sex (Love Machine). We praise reliability that is "like clockwork," beauty that is uniform and repeatable. We seek heroes with steely eyes who act with cold precision.
Even the recognized geniuses of "heart"--the likes of Norman Rockwell, John Sebastian, Frank Capra--people who have touched the culture in profoundly positive ways, are held in lower regard, or even dismissed by many because their art took aim at the human heart in all its weakness rather than promote the almighty machine in all its strength.
What we have here in "Sleepy Time" is a song with heart. It is only going to be properly understood by those who appreciate and do not fear this quality in things. As with most music, an understanding of it is not essential to being able to enjoy it. But it helps. And it was to that end that this little sermon on "heart" was delivered.
About Eric Wrobbel
This songwriter, artist, musician and humorist has written and produced hundreds of tracks for himself and others, usually singing and playing most if not all parts on these recordings. Rarely performing live, he has almost exclusively focused his musical efforts as a studio artist, working in a wide range of styles that have variously been described as rock, folk, country, psych, humor, and pop.
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