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Posts Tagged ‘deep meaning’

  1. Every Musician Should Have Heard… The Bends

    July 26, 2011 by RedSheep

    In my experience there are very, very few albums where you love every song.    For every song in isolation or as a trip start to finish, “The Bends” is a rare and beautiful exception to the rule.  

    The Bends Album Cover

    Your face while listening to The Bends

    The first time I heard Radiohead was seeing them perform  on Later with Jools Holland.  They blasted straight into this song that had so much energy and such a cool sound that I couldn’t help but watch.

    As the song went on Jonny Greenwood did this weird thing with his guitar where he pulls the high E string off the guitar making a crazy wild effect that shouldn’t work but does.  I was left stunned by the crazy effects, the power, the awesome. From that point on I was hooked.

    The Bends was released in 1995 at the height of the Brit Pop movement. Facing bands like Oasis and Blur, Radiohead offered the “alternative sound” to the 90’s.  The whole album is effortlessly unique.  The music flows beautifully and on first listen the whole sound seems so simple, but the music is very sophisticated.  Crammed with emotion, energy and depth in both the music and lyrics this is one of those albums that has been crafted to near perfection.

    The mood is one of despair throughout.  Thom Yorke’s haunting vocals echo a man deep pessimism, mulling over his dark thoughts on life.  Street Spirit(fade out) was a song about death; how eventually we all fade out of life without exception.  In Yorke’s Words

    ‘Street Spirit’ is about staring the fucking devil right in the eyes, and knowing, no matter what the hell you do, he’ll get the last laugh. And it’s real, and true. The devil really will get the last laugh in all cases without exception, and if I let myself think about that too long, I’d crack.”

    Highlights

    “High and Dry” is a great example of how you can layer relatively simple sounds to get great depth.  a quick glance at the chords and the song seems fairly simple.  the song builds, then drops, then builds more, and drops, and repeat.  The power in this song lies in the clever nuances.  For example the note sung during ‘high’ is a colour tone(a note outside the key or chord being played) which enhances the chord first time, then resolves.[source]

    “Iron Lung” starts as a clean-cut spanky sounding song then out of nowhere descends into a grunge-rock showcase of weird twists and turns.  The way this song gets you is by keeping a predictable clean chorus build,next verse pattern so that the second time when the pattern is broken the grunge riff is extra effective.  Like a dog with a stick, if you throw the stick first time it jumps straight away, if you pretend to throw it first time then it’s surprised when you actually throw it the second.  Then the clean verse comes back, chorus and back into the grunge riff.  Only this time after the riff there’s a solo, then a new section, another solo! Truly a master-class in building and releasing tension.

     

    The Verdict

    So deep an atmosphere you could fall into it for 48mins 37seconds, The Bends secured Radiohead as one of the greatest British bands to grace this planet.  Excuse me while fall…


  2. On Writing Lyrics With Meaning

    July 19, 2011 by RedSheep

    all songs have a meaning, in this case I’m talking about lyrics which address big issues.  Ideas like free will, mass manipulation, racism, war, terror, cynicism,self doubt, improvement or faith.

    Powerful ideas change the world

    Freedom, Injustice,  Narcissism, Discipline, Power, Authority, Superstition, Sexuality, Indifference, Obedience, Nationalism.  All concepts that people have wondered about for a long time, and considered from many, many angles.  By stepping into the world of your own thoughts and beliefs you can write lyrics that change the world.

    I’m not a big listener of Bob Dylan, but his lyrics are extremely powerful and have been hugely influential in their time and ours.  Songs like “The Times They are a Changing“, “Hurricane” and “Blowin’ in the Wind” reflected how Dylan viewed the world, and undoubtedly changed the world.  There are also many ways to play with meaning and interpretation for example Growing On Me by the Darkness.

    Song plots can get extremely complex when you get to bands like tool who write songs about the eternal constant phi – a number that recurs throughout nature, but the underlying meaning they try to convey is that our nature is inescapable, like we are trapped in a foregone conclusion.  Parabol/Parabola

    The message I seem to be finding recently around the place is that few artists write about big issues anymore. The anti war movement of the 60’s, the punk revolution, the rebellion of rock and roll.  The last modern song I can think of was Michael Jackson’s “Earth Song” way back in 1995.

    Unique ideas make for unique lyrics

    I’ve recently been watching alot of George Carlin, Bill Hicks and Bill Maher.  One of the messages they put out there is that American citizens are losing all their privileges of freedom and are too comfortable to do anything about it. George Carlin calls it ‘circling the drain

    What’s special about these 3 is that the message they convey is incredibly compelling and powerful.  It’s the same as the punk rock, the 60’s protest songs and Rage Against the Machine.  The only difference is the method of sharing the message.

    It doesn’t have to be a message of outrage or apathy, it doesn’t even have to be a massive issue with every song, but write about what you really feel strongly about, and bring back that spirit of power in your songs.

    The number one song on the day I started writing this was Louder, and the meaning is… bullshit.  I guarantee you this song will be completely forgotten about in 2 months.  Compare that to Blowin in the wind, Sweet Child of Mine and Candle in the Wind, songs that are powerful enough to change the way you think, songs that lasted lifetimes even to this day.

    Some songs have even changed my life, and I’m sure you can relate. A big one for me was Michael Jackson’s Man in the Mirror.

    Writing this way adds new depth to your lyrics, hope to hear them soon.