long-time fans will also be aware that i write these blogs nearly stream of consciousness...float w/me for a bit? as always, the music is down below.
as someone who studied (and indeed, wrote) poetry in school, i appreciate and am moved by lyrics. as someone who grew up a beatles fan, i know a good melody when i hear it. this should have a third example for proper crescendoing, but nothing's springing to mind. BUT, for a song to slap me across the thigh and tilt my chin up, and more importantly, to shut my eyes...it's got to feel like something.
this calls to mind 'punch drunk love'. i looked online to find an example of PTA's use of color w/Jon Brion's 600 x brilliant soundtrack (which includes 'here we go' which i just listed as my favorite song of all time on a 'get to know me' newspaper for my fifth graders) but i couldn't find one. PDL is all about tone. sure, it's about a dude who buys tons of pudding, but it's REALLY about tone. i don't care how much you didn't like it (or liked it!) as a popcorn accompaniment... watch it again and pay close attention to sound/color/tone. every color matters! every sound matters. they all cast deep shadows.
it also calls to mind an interview i read way back in the day with john mayer. apparently, the boy sees music as colors (officially, and uncooly, called synesthesia.) how amazing is that?! now, in his case, i wish it would lead to better music (he was asked what the most interesting looking music was and he said dave matthews band) but, what a cool "disease"!
listen to the song...then maybe it'll get clearer.
Andrew Bird. See the Enemy. Lyrics.
this song kicked my ass like none has in i don't know how long. seriously, it's been years since a song took hold like this. i don't even really want to talk about it.
so pretty. i just loops and swirls. words, tucking each other in so tight and then tossing each other into the air. i just want to sway in the front row and pound my head into the power of it all. tight little balls of music and english.
god, i love andrew bird. i hope he's getting rich. songwriters, singers, musicians of all types should have shrines to this man. it's all gold. how could you not love someone who describes himself as a "chicago-based multi-instrumentalist, lyricist and whistler." if you don't know and honor him daily...fix it.
this is a sparse remix of his song 'anonanimal'.
that's it...i told you i didn't want to talk about it. it's been on repeat for the last hour and i could leave it on for 20 more.
Deric, your sporadic music blog posts are always a pleasant surprise. You do an amazing job of stripping away the layers of formality and expressing a feeling that the music inspires in you without ego. It's raw, and really adds insight to music that I might not listen to on paper. I feel it too, and one of my criteria for a characteristic of what I consider to be good art is conveying a feeling or an emotion.
Interesting point about the music-color relationship. I know I certainly associate different musical chords or tones with color. However, when I talk about the color of music, I guess I think more of the traditional definition of Color or Timbre.
A good explanation of musical Color / Timbre can be found here:
Timbre, the Color of Music.
Basically, Color / Timbre describes all of the aspects of a musical sound that do not have anything to do with the sound's pitch, loudness, or length.
My favorite things to do in music is when I've completely learned a song inside and out and I get to play around with the color of the piece, adding in crescendos of brightness and decrescendos into sweeter darker sounds. This can be done conjunction with actual crescendos to accent or in opposition to them. That's the difference between technically and mechanically playing a piece and playing with feeling. That is where the soul is captured and expressed through the music. It is rare that most people even hear the difference, let alone be moved by it, but when another person really gets it and shares in that moment in space and time, that exact sound and feeling and place that is being experienced for the first time and will never be experienced again... that's one of the best feelings in the world as an artist.
I don't remember the last time I felt that.
Sometimes I'll seriously just play one guitar lick over and over and over and over again exploring every aspect of musical color that I can.
The synesthesia thing sounds cool, it sounds like basically a strong association between sound and color (that said, John Mayer, good musician that he is, is kindof a big blow-hard so I wouldn't be surprised if he was embellishing in order to seem cool and mysterious to get chicks, which I wouldn't necessarily hold against him).
I think I refer to that as 'sound-space' or the head-space that it puts you in. I don't know if I really have a definition for that.
If I were to describe the sound-space that See the Enemy creates for me I guess it would be mellow at first but then you are thrown just a little off kilter when they switch from 4/4 time in the beginning to 7/8 as they go into the verse (someone can feel free to correct me if that's wrong). It's playful, and the bass line doesn't change that much so it leaves you antsy and thought-provoked. The off-beat rhythm and pace of the lyrics threaten to just leave the song behind, but even when it sounds like they aren't, they are still in time and come back to realign with the bass.
If something could be be chill, chaotic, and playful all at the same time, then that would be this song.
and.......i'm too busy w/stupid hw to really respond at the moment. however, thank you for not only commenting, but substantially contributing w/a blog of your own. you're the best.
i will say that this particular album by Bird is a reworking of songs from another album. could there be any better subject for a discussion of timbre/color? love andrew. he really does cut to the quick of me.
check it out:
Andrew Bird. Anonanimal.