Choons

We often like a track, either for its melody or its lyrics, and we may buy said track or its associated album. But often, I think we overlook the unbelievable talent that it takes to put it together.

If you think about the starting lyrics of any of the four tracks I highlight in the post below, they are truly magical. They flow effortlessly, both rhythmically and syntactically, yet more to the point, they embrace the English language in a way I could only dream of.

Mike Skinner has won critical acclaim (I hate that phrase, but I’ll use it anyway) of late for the way in which he brings everyday thoughts and feelings to life in his songs. The first time I heard The Streets’ Dry Your Eyes, I had to stop the car (I was driving at the time), such was the power, truth and meaning behind the lyrics.

Similarly, composers’ talents often get overlooked, as the listener’s focus is on a great tune rather than the brilliance behind it. The fact that the brilliance is hidden is possibly an indicator of greatness – no analysis necessary. I listened to Peter Gabriel’s Solsbury Hill earlier this evening, and the fact that the entire song is written in 7/4 without any effort whatsoever required from the listener is poetry. (I selected this from iTunes alphabetically by track-name, the following track being The Smiths’ Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others. The line "Some Girls’ Mothers are Bigger than Other Girls’ Mothers" possibly puts pay to my previous sentiment on lyrics. Some would counter this.)

I remember watching a documentary about Jamiroquai. During the footage, he was in a studio listening to an incomplete version of what I think was Virtual Insanity. He said that it needed some strings over the top, despite me fawning over the quality of the track as it sounded there and then. He could hear stuff that I could only imagine – Ben’s a bit like that.

In summary (or as Americans say, "In summarization"), I get writing (writing English that is – words on paper/screen not meant for singing). I’m not a great writer, but I can hold my own (as it were). However, composing is a different kettle of fish. I "composed" an orchestral symphony when I was 15 (for my GCSE exam), but it was very formulaic, and apart from a few ditties that were repeated and played with throughout, I would argue that there was little artistic flair in there. To be able to write a song that touches people, whether through its melodies or its lyrics, must invoke a pretty special feeling.

Lyrics are funny though. I’ve never been a big listener when it comes to lyrics. My focus always goes to the melody and harmonies rather than the message that a song is giving. It’s only when I give dedicated time to a song that I listen to, and try to fathom, the lyrics. Most of the time, they just pass me by, although I can quote them, more as a string of words than an understood sentence.

That’s all. Sorry – rather a rambling post, but such is the title of the ‘blog itself. If you’ve got this far, then please read the post below – much more brief and probably worthwhile.

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