Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Anatomy of a song


Anatomy of a song: Have as many hooks as you can, strong hooks, sharp hooks, fish hooks, wild, original but familiar and splendid lyrics, guitar passages that run like horses fresh and fed from the stables, a deep bass that stuns and groans and grunts and drives like a taxi on speed. Drums that crash as waves on far away beaches, booming and bombing, tinkling and signalling some crisis or triumph while cymbals ring with deliberate collisions. Somewhere a voice rises above all this, screwed down, turned up, going in any and every way, telling stories and jokes, pictures and soundscapes, great escape, lovers and ghosts and a long way down and no way back in the well of souls and lost love. Drama and theatre, squeezed in some digital box, shiny disks blown through the wires and cables, unstable but able to consume, command and make you obsessed, make you guess, unwind or rewind in the stress.

You need to learn each word and know each chord, to imagine and fantasise on tricks and techniques, picture the moment and hold if for yourself your own time, spent in the cans, some strange and private land, only you go there, following the footsteps of a million other listeners and trailblazing for a million more to come, because this song cycle never stops, we echo every step, in reality, memory and lives soundtracked. In music and song there is and can be no turning back – but I still miss the times I spent studying the gatefold sleeve and scribbling doodles on the inner liner.

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