Post by Mighty Jack on Jul 30, 2010 0:12:12 GMT -5
The Greatest Power Popping, Finger Snapping, Hook Laden Rock Songs: Part 2, Song #3
Everywhere With Helicopter, Guided By Voices From the CD “Universal Truths and Cycles” - GbV was one of the lo-fi bands that many of my pals liked, and I did too, I just always thought they’d be better hi-fi (which they eventually got to). Helicopter is slicker GbV, and it’s like a sugar rush – the requirement of a great pop song is that its hooks get their hooks into you – that the chorus is so impossible to chase from your ears, and so wonderful that you wouldn’t want it to leave regardless. That’s Helicopter in nutshell. It’s like the sweetest most delicious thing I ever ate, taken to levels beyond any I imagined. First time I heard it I was like, "MORE PLEASE!".
I’ll eventually get to GbV “Chasing Heather Crazy” but I had to start with this if for nothing else than the stuttering drum beat and cool guitar lick they throw in there.
Thar she blows, I'll offer up another next Thursday
Pop Songs of the Week: The list My Sharona, The Knack Dizzy, Tommy Roe Everywhere With Helicopter, Guided by Voices
Thanks Mr. A - and likewise, on any tomatoes you wish to hurl.
On the subject of hooky pop songs, here’s one of my own. Written around 2007 I believe. Lyrics were interesting – I like how I reference a Twilight Zone episode. I also thought I did a decent job with the music, that little guitar lick thingy, though I wish I’d have played it for another measure. It’s a sweet pop confection, maybe a little too sing-songy? (and yeah, when you hear the first notes a certain 60s bubblegum hit might spring to mind)
The Greatest Power Popping, Finger Snapping, Hook Laden Rock Songs: Part 3, Song #4 & #5 – The McCartney Influence
Mayor of Simpleton, XTC Andy Partridge has sometimes been called his generations John Lennon. He was intellectual and playful and while XTC would be considered an early example of underground new wave, you could hear elements of the Beatles peak through here and there. Starting with their classic, “Senses Working Overtime” it bloomed into life and came into full force with the brilliant LP, “Oranges and Lemons”, from which this song emerged.
But Lennon wasn’t the only influence. Andy said in interviewss that the bass-line –which is a major hook on the track- is a deliberate homage to Paul McCartney. Plus the tune features a bridge that would make Macca smile.
A video tribute to The Avengers….
Veronica, Elvis Costello I know this song frustrated my Costello-fan co-worker, because it was the only one people would mention when he’d talk Elvis. But what can you do, it’s a damn good song and McCartney’s influence was a plus. It’s funny – fans felt this was a great match for Paul, that it would give him a Lennon type writing partner. But I remember reading that Macca found Elvis a little too dark and serious. Lennon had a cynical side, but he also had a childish sense of humor and liked to goof around. Still, the collaboration with Costello was a fruitful one – “Flowers in the Dirt”, boosted by the McCartney/Costello penned single, “My Brave Face” got Paul some positive press.
From Wiki: “Veronica" is a single from Elvis Costello's 1989 album Spike, co-written by Costello with Paul McCartney… and features Paul McCartney on his iconic Höfner bass. In 2004, Entertainment Weekly voted it as one of Costello's top ten greatest tunes. The song focuses on an older woman who has experienced severe memory loss. Costello's inspiration for this song was his grandmother, who suffered from Alzheimer's. When talking about the song on a VH1 interview, Costello reminisced about his grandmother having "terrifying moments of lucidity" and how this was the inspiration for "Veronica".
"Veronica" was also Costello's highest-charting Top 40 hit in the United States, peaking at #19 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart,
Post by Mighty Jack on Aug 12, 2010 3:56:52 GMT -5
The Greatest Power Popping, Finger Snapping, Hook Laden Rock Songs: Part 4 - Songs #6 & 7
Headache, Frank Black This week I offer up a song from the Pixies fearless leader, Frank Black. I remember how much I liked the simple video and how the tune put a spring in my step. I love the straightforward production of it all: The smooth acoustic rhythm guitar (playing E, B, F#) the harmonies and backing vocals that pop in at the end, and that steady drumbeat. As a lyricist Frank dabbles in dark riddles. So far I haven’t solved this riddle and have never read Frank’s thoughts on the tune. Fun video, Frank looks like Curly from the Stooges (I get a chuckle at the double Curly’s)
Candy-O, The Cars So many great tracks to chose from with this band, but for me Candy-O is a standout in terms of hooks and driving captivating music (the hooks are found as much in the instruments as the melody sung). I’m not a funky guy; I’m not a progressive guy. I enjoy rock and roll that steadily grinds and drives and compels me to move. Candy-O is like that – with a constant beat accentuated by splashes of electronics and guitar riffs that pop up throughout, adding spice. I'm drawn to the inflection of the late Benjamin Orr’s voice (which I preferred over Ric Ocasek’s), that lead guitar lick and pounding heartbeat bass… I only wish it would never end. Oh and I’d recommend listening to it with "Shoo Be Doo"
Pop Songs of the Week: The list My Sharona, The Knack Dizzy, Tommy Roe Everywhere With Helicopter, Guided by Voices Mayor of Simpleton, XTC Veronica, Elvis Costello Headache, Frank Black Candy-O, The Cars
P.S: Yes I'll be adding the Beatles soon. I just thought they were kind of "No Duh" and wanted to explore other tunes not so obviously associated with me.
Post by Mighty Jack on Aug 14, 2010 2:05:05 GMT -5
Musically I get too attached to patterns, I like certain chord structures – so “Wonderful” was an attempt to branch out. It was about breaking patterns.
It starts off with a standard F and Am, and usually, from there I’d want to go with something in an E, but that’s where I took off and started throwing in 7ths (and told myself, no E/Em, absolutely not one on this tune). I was happy with the bridge, which went into C – C11 – Bbmaj7.
This pretty ballad is about my first kiss, young summer romance and how new and wonderful my world could be. This is a story song, I probably couldn’t have written it before Nashville (they taught me how to tell stories). I originally had drums but felt they ruined the flow and sense of beauty I was striving for. In the end I kept the recording simple on the instrumentation, and used multiple tracks to get fullness on the background vocals.
This comes from my home made CD titled, “When the Clock Strikes 13” – The previously posted “Magic Things” and “Rock and Roll Chick” were also featured on that disc. All 3 are acoustic guitar and bass heavy and in each I was trying to write lyrics that spun off in a more positive vein. (I had written a lot of sad songs in the previous 3 years)
We were only kids, running and laughing - spinning madly in the tall grass In days when it was wonderful, my eyes were filled by the blue and golden sky But nothing was as wonderful as you; no nothing was as wonderful as you
I remember the smell of cut flowers in your hair As you leaned in and pressed your warm lips against mine The heat and the colored lights popping off in my head And here I thought I knew what was wonderful But nothing was as wonderful as you; no nothing was as wonderful as you
And when your daddy came over that hill, and broke the spell You ran off and left me here to die – Laying there, spiraling ‘round the world
I never knew that would be the last time, I’d see you only once more across the way Head cocked, biting a nail, a hint of a shy smile and a quick wave As you drove off in your father’s car I knew nothing would ever be as wonderful as you; no nothing could be as wonderful as you
Post by Mighty Jack on Aug 18, 2010 4:22:00 GMT -5
In Mr. Atari’s top 100 songs from the 80s, he listed a wonderful happy song titled “Walking on Sunshine”. I agree with him that these positive tunes have an important place in modern music. And I’ve written a few peppy numbers in my time, but it is also true that I write a lot, a whole lot of sadder tunes, guess I’m just a sad guy…. Or that sadness needs to released, in a ‘get it off your chest and let it go” kind of way.
I remember when Rolling Stone slammed Aimee Mann’s “Lost In Space”, the attitude was that this kind of bleak and sad music shouldn’t be done. And that review really pissed me off. Sad, lost, lonely people… we need our anthems too. On the album is a song called “It’s Not”. The first time I heard it, tears rolled down my eyes. Someone wrote something I felt, but could never articulate… someone understood. So F-U Rolling Stone (and “cheer down” sometimes, lol)
Music explores the human condition, the good, the bad and the ugly (Hmm, great movie title) – We need our hopeful, giddy tunes to remind us that there is sunshine and laughter. But darkness is a part of life as well. Pain, sorrow, tears are part of the tapestry and I need those songs as well. I find them, cathartic.
My CD “Not A Viable Commercial Product” makes Mann’s “Lost in Space” seem absolutely cheerful by comparison. I was in a bleak, hopeless state of mind – it was a time when I battled with thoughts of suicide, and nothing seemed to be working. The song “Happy” was about one Christmas when I found out my father was in the hospital after being beaten and kicked into unconsciousness. I felt helpless; all I could do was pick up my guitar and rage. “Monster” was about a fight with my wife and our crumbling marriage. And “Gravity” was about hopelessness, loss and wanting to escape all the pain. It was a black song, pitch black. I listen to it now and think, “Jesus, was life really that horrible?”
Everyone who heard the album mentioned how dark it was. There was one person I gave a CD to who called and gave me some feedback, my first words to him were…. “Yeah I know it’s overboard on the hopelessness…” But he stopped me and said, “No, I thought it was great, “Gravity”, I know what your talking about, it hit me where I live.” I was stunned, this guy had it all. A career, family, he was successful and always seems confident and positive about life. But he opened up about some struggles he was having and how he sometimes wished he could just end it all.
Well, I talked to him for a long time and convinced him to talk to a professional and get this stuff off his chest because it was eating him up inside. He did, and it helped and he’s doing well (neither of us mention suicide anymore so I guess we are both doing okay).
I look at the lyrics to Gravity and it’s not a pretty sight, but that’s kind of how it is when you’re clinically depressed. A therapist once said, it’s like you’ve fallen in a deep hole and you’d like to get out, but you don’t have the tools, so you just walk in circles and bump into walls and go nowhere. Therapy just gives you the tools. First you get thrown a rope and you slowly climb out of the hole and after a while you can see the horizon, a vast openness – that’s hope, that’s possibility. A guy who was still in the hole and couldn’t find any way out wrote “Gravity”. He seems like a person apart from me these days.
Click on title to listen (Of note, the original lyric was “My wrists are bleeding….” But for some reason I pulled back from that, changed it to the image of walking on broken glass)
Gravity Words and Music: Shawn David Produced and arranged by S. David and J. Cring Engineered, mixed and mastered by Jerrod Cring at Clazzy Studios, Tennessee Ophelia’s Kiss: Shawn David: Rhythm Guitars, Vocals * Goose Downing: Lead Guitar * Russ Cring, Bass * Jerrod Cring, Drums
Miles and mile of atmosphere, nothing but freedom, from the fear
Every bubble burst its clear
Every gentle whisper, is burned until it blisters
Every gentle whisper, is burned until it blisters
Break free from the angry grip of gravity (2x) Gravity
Miles and miles of broken glass, my feet are bleeding cut to bone
Every single person dies alone
Every gentle dream gets beaten till it screams
Every gentle dream gets beaten till it screams
Break free from the angry grip of gravity (2x) Gravity
Post by Mighty Jack on Aug 19, 2010 3:35:36 GMT -5
The Greatest Power Popping, Finger Snapping, Hook Laden Rock Songs: Part 5 - Songs #8 & 9
I changed my avatar - With the last one (Have a heart) I was trying to remind myself to be kinder to people while on line. I wonder, did it work? Now I'm getting excited for football so I changed it. To think, in no time at all I'll have to come up with a Halloween costume, yeowza!
Anyway, onto the list.
In this 5th entry we look at a couple of fake Bands Unlike the Monkees, (who I'll get to soon) most of the folks represented on screen didn't play their own insruments, and the first group didn't even do the vocals. Still, these are 2 of my favorite pop tunes.
2 Small Words, Josie and the Pussycats The Pussycat part of the soundtrack was just pure undiluted fun - This is the same kind of energy-fueled rock that made “A Hard Days Night” a great listen. Wish people made more like this. This track in particular was a kick in the pants. With clever lyrics (I love the count down thing), biting guitar licks and drumming that punches through my speakers. The project brought together the likes of Matthew Sweet, Jane Weidlen, with the voice provided by Kay Hanley – I don’t think any of the actresses on screen could actually play.
I Think I Love You, The Partridge Family Go ahead and make fun, but I wont apologize. I don’t worry if a song is considered un-cool, If I like it I like it, period. So I admit it, I own the Partridge Family’s greatest hits, they had some good tunes and this one was their best. In this fake band only Shirley and David could actually sing or play. I think this is actually well written and David Cassidy sings with passion, though he does enunciate a bit too much. The bridge is different –lead by bass notes- but effective.
Pop Songs of the Week: The list My Sharona, The Knack Dizzy, Tommy Roe Everywhere With Helicopter, Guided by Voices Mayor of Simpleton, XTC Veronica, Elvis Costello Headache, Frank Black Candy-O, The Cars 3 Small Words, Josie and the Pussycats I Think I Love You, The Partrige Family
Post by Mighty Jack on Aug 21, 2010 0:15:10 GMT -5
I came across another stack of old songs from around 1999. Some I couldn't remember, most were m'eh and a few were worth saving on CD. I also had about 6 new songs and I took a wee sliver of an unfinished song I found on cassette and re-worked it. I titled it "From Saturn With Love", I might share it once I finish mixing it (and if it sounds good as an MP3)
Because I was bored I made a mock album cover for this CD. It's based on the Beatles US release, "Something New" (the song titles are real... the movie isn't
Edit: While I was being playful with the cover - the CD title is actually a quote from Alexander Pope and can be taken as referring to putting massive effort into achieving something minor or unimportant.
Post by Mighty Jack on Aug 26, 2010 0:40:23 GMT -5
The Greatest Power Popping, Finger Snapping, Hook Laden Rock Songs: Part 6 - Are we not men? Edition
Another week, another new avatar. This week I'm gonna offer up some pop from the spud boys.
Beautiful World, Devo I was going to talk about Devo’s “Girl U Want” on this edition, but then I went to the Rifftrax live show, and saw that woman attacked by animated fire and it reminded me of this video. So lets do 2 from the spud boys. “New Traditionalists” was the first Devo album I wasn’t ecstatic about. It was okay, but it didn’t wow me like the previous 3 studio LPs – still, there was one really good song, and later it was released with arguably their best video. So here’s a little Beautiful World, sung by Gerald Casale, with Booji Boy at the controls. (Trivia: Booji Boy sang this song in concert)
Girl U Want, Devo I bought “Freedom of Choice” on the morning of its release, rushed home and quickly placed it on the turntable. From the first strains of electronic music I was gone daddy gone. This tune got the album off to a bang and while I liked “Whip It”, I seriously thought “Girl U Want” had everything required for a hit single and believed this would be their big hit. Boy was I in for a surprise. Still, even to this day in terms of their more straightforward poppy sounding numbers, I feel this is their catchiest and best. Mark Mothersbaugh is on vocals on this one (and he has one of the best new wave voices ever)
Pop Songs of the Week: The list My Sharona, The Knack Dizzy, Tommy Roe Everywhere With Helicopter, Guided by Voices Mayor of Simpleton, XTC Veronica, Elvis Costello Headache, Frank Black Candy-O, The Cars 3 Small Words, Josie and the Pussycats I Think I Love You, The Partrige Family Beautiful World, Devo Girl U Want, Devo
Post by Mighty Jack on Aug 28, 2010 5:48:09 GMT -5
Why am I such a bonehead?
I posted some automatic writing not long ago. I actually did polished it up and made a song out of it. But I just went back and listened to the CD I burned (a few months ago) with the track, and great googily moogily what a horror. Oh the song was well done, my voice had this resigned smoky quality to it, my fingers danced upon the bass with ease, the background vocals were tight as a drum… and it’s all for naught!
The damn thing is too hot! Meaning, it broke the goofy meter (or rather that little meter that shows if you’re playing a track too loud. The EQ I think it’s called. I’m not good with terms so when I record I refer to items as “deelios” and “thingies” and “doohickeys”). There’s a lot of buzzing, feedback and at one time the bass floods the piece and obliterates everything else. Why I didn’t I hear this when I first recorded it is beyond me. Actually I did, I knew it was hot but not this hot. I had a different system then; this new one picks up the bass much better.
I could just let it go; after all I’m only recording this to have a record of the song I wrote. The pisser is, my obsessive-compulsive brain simply will not let this stand. This gnawing urge is gnawing at me urgently...
"Re-record it, go back to formula, do it, DO IT NOW!”[/b][/I][/size][/color]
The original is gone; I had no room in the memory bank so I had to cut loose old material. Otherwise I’d just fiddle with each track and fix it. Damn it, and I nailed it too, the actual music, voice and instrumentation was golden - my skills as an engineer was what was sorely lacking. I’m wondering if I can get lightening to strike twice?
Post by Mighty Jack on Sept 9, 2010 3:04:15 GMT -5
The Greatest Power Popping, Finger Snapping, Hook Laden Rock Songs: Part 7
Lead by lead singer Graham Nash (who would leave to join CS&N), the Hollies were primarily a singles band that released one radio friendly hit after another. My top 3 favorites would be… Bus Stop (written by future 10CC member Graham Gouldman) and “Long Cool Woman With A Black Dress”, but the featured number and my all time favorite Hollies song is…
Carrie Anne Though there’s nothing fancy about the chord structure (It’s your garden variety C, F, G) Carrie Anne is everything I like in a pop rocker – As with the Beatles HOF pop number "She Loves You", we get steady verses which draws you into the story the singer shares and then “bam” the hook filled chorus, layered with harmony, grabs me and never lets go… “Hey Carrie Anne, what’s you game, can anybody play”. The steel drum is a nice touch too.
Of Note: It could have been called “Marianne”, after Marianne Faithful, but Graham Nash says he chickened out and renamed it. Actress Carrie Anne Moss, born when the song charted, was named after the tune.
And since I mentioned the Beatles, it’s about time I add something from the fab four.
She Loves You, The Beatles Though they didn’t invent the style, Beatlemania is a font of many an inspired pop number. To me “She Loves You” is quintessential pop rock; if you need a definition of the genre you would receive no better instruction than listening to this classic from the fab four. While both “I Saw Her Standing There” and “I Want To Hold Your Hand” is Beatlemania in fine form, I feel that She Loves You was Beatlemania at it’s purest.
Sure it’s ear candy, with its catchy chant of “YEAH! YEAH YEAH!” but it also embraces past genres (The final note, which George Martin feared was too old hat, but the Beatles argued that it was new to rock and roll) explodes taboos (The falsetto “OOOO’S” were considered effeminate) and the construction had a maturity rarely seen in pop circles. IMHO it is the greatest song of the genre.
and an extra, for the fun of it – not a great pop song but an interesting curiosity, Cher’s first single… a song about her favorite Beatle, Ringo.
Post by Mighty Jack on Sept 16, 2010 5:20:32 GMT -5
The Greatest Power Popping, Finger Snapping, Hook Laden Rock Songs: Part 8
Note: I had this all ready to go, when the joker who posted these songs decided to go private. You can only access them now if you join youtube and become this guys friend... no thanks. Anyway this is what I wrote about this weeks song, sorry I can't find any audio to share.
She’s Only Cool, Cotton Mather One of the best albums I own is an unknown to most people. Cotton Mather was a band out of Austin Texas, and their LP “Kon Tiki” was filled with Beatlesque hooks and arrangements. “She’s Only Cool” is a mid tempo tune with nice harmonies, and that’s why I picked it for song of the week, but the whole disc is a marvel (if you can get past the lead singers nasaly voice). With a great mix of fast pop (Password) the quirky (Private Ruth - Aurora Bori Alice) as well as a few ballads.
I'd like to own the follow ups to this LP, but the bands work is out of print and the prices at Amazon can be outrageous ($200 for an import of "Hotel Baltimore"?). The group split after 3 albums, the leader, Robert Harrison now fronts a band named "Future Clouds and Radar".
Since I can't share that one, I went searching and found the pretty ballad, ”Lilly Dreams On” - so while it's not fiinger snapping, it's a good one.
Pop Songs of the Week: The list My Sharona, The Knack Dizzy, Tommy Roe Everywhere With Helicopter, Guided by Voices Mayor of Simpleton, XTC Veronica, Elvis Costello Headache, Frank Black Candy-O, The Cars 3 Small Words, Josie and the Pussycats I Think I Love You, The Partrige Family Beautiful World, Devo Girl U Want, Devo Carrie Ann, the Hollies She Loves You, The Beatles She's Only Cool, Cotton Mather
Post by Mighty Jack on Sept 22, 2010 4:01:55 GMT -5
I love E and Em - I love it too much and use it too much.
But the sound of an E is a thing of beauty - it can be haunting, bluesy, it can rock yer bleedin socks off!
I plowed through another stack of 20 cassettes and of the lost or fragmented songs, the ones I enjoyed the most were all in the key of E or Em. 1 pumped E/Em and A on one - the other E to G, the 3rd and 4th went from an Em to the C.
On the one hand I cringe and think what an uncreative toad I am, on the other I think "But damn, I love the sound of 'em.
I thought I might as well share 2 of these tracks. "Afflicted" and "Don't Go". The tapes I found them on was filled with - Untitled, Untitled, Untitled... on 2 of the many untitled snippets I had written... (has potential) - I'm not sure why I never got back to them (I wrote them in 2000 and 2002) and I had to write lyrics for them this past weekend. Here are 2 of the "Untitled (Has potential) I recorded...
Click on title to listen
Affliction (Your Master Plan) Music 2002, Lyrics 9/15/2010 By Shawn David Note: This one isn't fancy, I plug away at the same chords. It's an angry tune - it's saying "I know you think I'm stupid, but I see the game your playing". It's funny how you can love someone, even though they are bad for you - even though your just another tool in the box.
You take my song and twist all the rhymes I don’t believe you half of the time You say you’ll slay all the infidels Then throw them a kiss and wish them all well
(Chorus) Your master plan is underway "I won’t deceive you", that’s what you say Yet as you speak the words, you turn away What affliction keeps you from looking me in the eye?
The crowd is at a fever pitch You make your play without a hitch You’ve convinced all the players on the board There are sides to you left unexplored
Watching your soldier’s march of to war As you sit on the sidelines, keeping score And as the bodies decompose You manage to come off smelling like a rose
Don't Go Words & Music 12/2000, lyrics updates 9/2010 By Shawn David Note: A short, simple folk tune about living in the past. This one used a capo on the 5th fret so I guess the E isn't an E anymore, though that's the chord I'm playing. lol
It was just a moment in my life – a moment I relive all the time I guess I always suspected that here, now, is where I’ll always stay Don’t go… go…. go
Close my eyes; I draw something from my mind I hear the street sounds, smell that crisp air Ah, there I see you clearly, you’re here, now, time never passed Don’t go… go… go
I still hear you mouth each precious word I still feel the warmth in your touch I can still remember every moment of that day I can still see you - walk away Don’t go… go… go