Wednesday, April 23, 2008

This is a little too close on the heels of the previous one, but as I was about to scrap the idea, it occured to me that there is a common thread here. These are all songs I was irritated with the first time around!

1) Ween, "Polka Dot Tail". After the dreamy title track from The Mollusk, I really wasn't in a mood to hear a slow, ambling piece with nonsense lyrics. I was quite surprised then when I started recalling this at odd moments, a sign that it was doing something right. I think the hallmark of quality here at the two solos, which, like quite a few of the tracks on The Mollusk, are wise. They don't give particular meaning to the words that surround it, but they manage to strip them of incongruity. You cannot hear this and take seriously any remarks that they are just a parody band.

2) Mamas And Papas, "I Call Your Name". The generic-blues piano progression at the beginning irritated straight away; I wanted harmonies, especially since this is after "Got A Feelin'". It took an old friend's recommendation for me to try it again, and as it happens, I saw the magic that somehow just passed me by the first few times. This is some tight stuff, and the flow is effortless. It is very interesting to hear Lennon's rawer original after this, as it demonstrates that it is a genuine reinterpretation, rather than mere dressing up with the M&P's pretty voices. I imagine that this is what Christgau refers to when he talks of the M&Ps having recorded one of the greatest Beatles covers ever.

3) Nick Cave, "Lyre Of Orpheus". Let's see if I can end these lists with Cave every time. With "Hiding All Away", I changed my mind about it midway through the song, but with "Orpheus", it was only a few weeks ago. It was certainly brave of Cave to write something like this: slow, lots of repetition, and most of all really "dangerous" rhymes (such as the well being very deep, very deep being the well, etc.). It indicates an immense amount of confidence in his songwriting, certainly, and on that level alone it is satisfying for me. But with time, it does start to resonate; though I haven't yet put it in the context of the whole album, I have started to feel that elements I thought were simply overcooked are in fact rather cleverly done. An educational piece of songwriting is the best way I can put it.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

I saw her again, was not a body that I recognized.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

I don't enjoy being stuck with company that make me feel superior about myself. Drunken revelry is not for me, I'm afraid. It isn't the uninhibited nature of what follows that disappoints, but rather the displays of what the group considers to be funny and appropriate for the situation; juvenile, which I'm often ready for, but crass in a manner that just makes me cringe. I usually take to pondering weighty matters to shy away from the awkwardness that I feel: it's not far from there to start feeling high and mighty about onesself. But such feelings are far overshadowed by the ineffectuality, the sadness of the whole thing. Consequently, the night's proceedings inevitably end up as a blog post which does even less for the confidence.

Monday, April 07, 2008

I had a rare experience of shared listening recently, which is something that has never really come up in the past. This has been not only due to taste mismatches, but also due to personal preference. It was interesting to observe how different things are when it isn't just me carefully listening and "considering" on headphones. The songs seem different somehow, and no longer the personal items that exist only in my head. It is proof, I suppose, of their existence!

It also allowed for acts that seem plucked from movies - "Tell me if you like this...". When such spur of the moment recommendations are met by a receptive audience, what bliss! I attribute it to the joy in seeing fantasy coming to life.
I'm not really as well versed with the early Beatles records as I ought to be. As a result, two new discoveries I have made about "influences" that seem apparent to me (both Lennon tunes, incidentally):

1) The descending melody on "You Can't Do That" sounded so utterly familiar when I heard it recently, and it struck me that what it was reminding me of was none other than..."Light My Fire"! To think that I offhandly remarked once that I wasn't all that upset about the Doors borrowing from the Kinks for "Hello I Love You", but that a similar discovery for their signature tune would be far more serious...

2) The guitar on "I Call Your Name" seems to have been transformed to the bassline for Paul Simon's "Kodachrome"!