This morning, I saw someone selling Kenny Rogers’ The Gambler on vinyl, at a weekly scavenge market. Three things occurred to me:
- Kenny Rogers seems to exist in a sort of irony-gap or retro-gap, where it’s not quite possible to enjoy it ironically based on its perceived badness, nor good enough to listen to sincerely. If anyone is left who does listen to Kenny Rogers with great sincerity, they’re undoubtedly not the kind of snob who still digs listening to records.
- When I listened to the song “The Gambler” as a kid, it wasn’t lost on me that it was supposed to be a metaphor for how to live. But thinking about the song recently, I realized that they’re not even playing cards at the beginning, just sitting on a train in the dark — but the narrator is still, in the eyes of the gambler, “out of aces.” So he’s only out of aces metaphorically, not literally.
- On my copy of Kenny Roger’s Greatest Hits, I always misheard the words to “Lucille.” Even as a kid, I was pretty sure that “four hundred children” was too many.