Sunday, January 10, 2010

Music & Lyrics

No, not the 2007 Drew Barrymore/ Hugh Grant film, thank god.

Just in general- my last post was about wordless music, but this one is to give credit to what I feel must be a very difficult task- writing songs that not only have meaningful lyrics, but also lyrics that perfectly match the tune/ tone/ rhythm of the song they accompany; lyrics that make a listener think "how does that singer know exactly how I'm feeling right now, and how were they able to put it into words?" because often times our own words fail us miserably.

Anyways, this topic of this post was prompted by a song I was listening to the other day, "New Romantic," by Laura Marling. It's a beautiful song, with lyrics that are just the sort that I'm talking about (note that this is my opinion- others might not agree, whatever).

While listening to "New Romantic," there are many lines that make me stop and wonder how Marling crawled into my soul and summed it all up in one simple, folksy little tune. But as I just spent a week at home over Christmas and am currently training for a marathon, the most potent line for me is "maybe I should give up giving, give up trying to be thin, give up and turn into my mother- God knows I love her."
How perfect.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Thanks, Paul Desmond...

...and Stan Getz, Herbie Hancock, Miles Davis, Bill Evans, Thelonious Monk, Oscar Peterson, etc., etc.

I cannot do work in silence, but conversely I am distracted by background noise. Also, when I listen to music with lyrics I cannot block out the words and therefore divert at least 30% of my attention to whatever is being sung. As such, I frequently plug in my headphones, and turn on instrumental music- specifically jazz and classical- to help me focus.

Today I am working on the next few Units for my class. While shuffling through my wordless jazz collection on iTunes, I had a delightful reunion with Mr. Dave Brubeck. It's been a while since I last took five, and I was actually drawn out of my focus by enrapture. As I am still hungover from nostalgia after being home for the holidays, my mind was brought back to my 12th year of life, when I took a break from classical piano studies to try and learn a little jazz. My father is a prodigious musician (who's gift I unfortunately did not inherit), and I remember sharing the piano bench with him at our baby grand Kawaii, as he explained and demonstrated syncopation (coincidentally one of my favorite words), and played "Take Five" (originally written by Paul Desmond)for me, explaining that its tricky 5/4 meter was unusual even for jazz, and difficult to play, to say the least. Nonetheless, I remember thinking as I sat and watched him play, that his hands made it look so easy.

Even then, that song affected me on a level that I didn't really comprehend. Now, years later, after hearing it time and time again, I still cannot shake the feeling it gives me, and I am still unsure how to put it into words. In an attempt to do so however, I think that "Take Five" might be the sexiest song ever written.