“Changes in Latitude, Changes in Attitude” by Jimmy Buffett

Jimmy Buffett is one of those artists who are easy to underrate. It’s understandable why he has so many detractors…to the casual observer, his total lack of artistic pretention can make him seem like little more than a corporate shill, and his most famous material, like “Margaritaville” or “Why Don’t We Get Drunk (And Screw)”, while it certainly has its pleasures, doesn’t really display much depth. The sad truth is that you have to already be a fan of Buffett to know about most of his best material, but for the record, Buffett is perfectly capable of depth, and shows it beautifully even on some of his second-tier signature hits. For all the raucous uptempos he’s become famous for, Buffett actually has a real gift for poignant and haunting melodies and philosophical lyrics, and this song brings up both in spades. The song just sounds like a gentle acoustic Soft Rock ballad unless you’re paying close attention, but the placid melody is subtly haunting, particular on the verses, and the lyrics express a surprisingly deep philosophical worldview. But Buffett is never cerebral or pretentious; he makes his profound insights sound casual, so if you’re not listening closely you might never catch them. Buffett has more overtly moving, even gut-wrenching songs (if his detractors ever actually heard “He Went To Paris”, they might have to revise their arguments), but this song, the title track off his most acclaimed studio album, is quietly thought-provoking in a way that few casual listeners would associate with Buffett.

Verdict: Good, and worth checking out if you want to really understand Jimmy Buffett’s artistry.

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