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Anatomy of a Mixed Tape, Track the Fourteenth

September 7, 2006

14. Denton Road—Michael Penn

Michael Penn - Mr. Hollywood Jr., 1947 - Denton Road

As Randy Newman sang—though, apparently, satirically—I love L.A.

I don’t quite know why, as I really haven’t even spent much time there; pretty much a few weeks in a hostel on Venice Beach and a couple pass-throughs of LAX are all I’ve seen of the place. But I like it. And this record, Mr. Hollywood, 1947, makes me nostalgic for it, for the old L.A. of Bukowski’s poem “Pershing Square, Los Angeles, 1939,” of the movie (I know, it was a book before; I haven’t read it) L.A. Confidential … of the city that’s pronounced not “L.A.” but “Loss An-juh-leez.”

Mr. Penn is, as you might have guessed, the brother of Sean and the late Chris; he’s also the husband of Aimee Mann: a mini theme (which seems like it should be an anagram of Ms. Mann’s name, but isn’t) emerges. Also I’m a sucker for proper names in songs:

Goodbye Sally, Simi Valley,
Denton Road, The Roosevelt Hotel
For my own farewell
And if you don’t show, that’s fine.

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