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- Posted on Apr 6th 2010 3:00PM by Kenneth Partridge
It was late 2007 and Malin was in something of a Holden Caulfield phase. His wasn't teen angst, per se, but the veteran New York City singer-songwriter was suffering the type of malaise one gets on tour. Salerno suggested Malin reacquaint himself with the Salinger canon, and that homework assignment made all the difference.
"I started to feel all this excitement and connection to Salinger that got me interested in writing," Malin tells Spinner. The New Yorker emerged from his funk with a handful of Salinger-inspired tunes, several of which appear on his forthcoming fourth studio album, 'Love It to Life,' due April 27.
"Reading 'Catcher in the Rye' when you're 16 and then reading it again in your 20s or when you're 40, you get something different out of it," Malin says. "'Taxi Driver' is one of my favorite films, but when I saw it when I was 15, I wanted to break the world up. And then when I saw it at different times in my life, it still held up but it meant something different. I started thinking, 'Wow, 'Catcher in the Rye,' this is like the original punk rock.' It's the original narrative that 'Goodfellas' has, or 'The Wild One' or 'A Clockwork Orange' -- this outsider personality."
As he wrote, Malin tried to get in the mindset of both Salinger and his characters, recognizing the extent to which the author's life informed his art. Such Salinger works as 'The Catcher in the Rye' and the short-story collection 'Nine Stories' reflect the writer's real-life heartbreaks and experiences serving in World War II.
Rather than simply writing from the perspective of Salinger or Caulfield, Malin incorporated elements of his own life, drawing on the personal and professional setbacks -- illness, lost love, label woes, cash-flow issues, etc. -- he faced following the release of his 2007 album 'Glitter in the Gutter.'
"The song 'Lonely at Heart' is a lot like this story in 'Nine Stories,' 'For Esme -- With Love and Squalor,'" Malin says, discussing one of the songs from his new album. "It's about World War II and [Salinger], but it's also very much about my own disconnect and romantic dealings in my life and how you think you're never going to get it right."
"The line, 'drink in self-defense or hide the evidence,' it's this hole inside of us and we try to fill this hole with whatever -- music or romance or friendship or whatever that momentary release is," he adds.