allaboutgeorge + songwriting   302

Scientists record singing by rare right whale for first time
To be a song, the sounds have to contain rhythmically patterned series of units produced in a consistent manner to form clearly recognizable patterns, Crance wrote in a paper for the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America.
songwriting  animals  climate  climatechange  nature  music  creativity  science 
6 days ago by allaboutgeorge
Flying Lotus Interview: Flamagra, Mac Miller, David Lynch
I can’t let darkness be what guides my decisions. I can’t let that be what guides how I treat people. I can’t let that be what drives my art either. I’m supposed to do the thing that helps people, not the thing that makes people feel shitty.
music  jazz  songwriting  art  creativity 
28 days ago by allaboutgeorge
At BMI Pop Awards, Sting, Imagine Dragons, Martin Bandier Accept Kudos – Variety
There’s something mysterious and powerful encoded inside that form of verses, choruses, a middle eight and a coda. This form somehow gives people comfort and solace in the most dire circumstances — personal, emotional, political. Whatever is encoded in that form is immensely powerful. And our job as songwriters is to work within that form and create touchstones in the emotional landscape and memories of those who listen, creating a semblance of all that out of apparent chaos.
songwriting  music  creativity  culture  rock  pop 
4 weeks ago by allaboutgeorge
Born lippy: how I helped Underworld write a socialist banger | Music | The Guardian
“‘What are you listening to?’ ‘What did you see on your walk?’ That’s as viable as a big kick drum, if you follow your heart.”
music  homeless  songwriting  uk  techno  socialism  poverty  society  culture 
5 weeks ago by allaboutgeorge
I think you need a musical sensibility, and you need to work with other people who understand the mechanics of music, but you don't need much of a music background to write the song.
writing  songwriting  business  creativity  media  language  popmusic  pop  culture  beauty  music 
7 weeks ago by allaboutgeorge
How Bikini Kill Got Back Together | Pitchfork
“When I feel the least powerful, I try to figure out: What’s the most powerful I can be? What’s something I’m the best at?” she says. “It came down to a basic survival strategy: How am I gonna live? I realized that music is my survival strategy.”
music  rock  aging  feminism  songwriting  power 
8 weeks ago by allaboutgeorge
Punjabi Convoy – Popula
Punjabi music is a point where diasporic cultural identity, immigrant rights, and organized labor converge. That’s part of the reason I’ve developed an increasing fascination with this growing body of music.
music  india  transportation  culture  labor  immigration  songwriting 
march 2019 by allaboutgeorge
“When I found out about ‘La Bamba’ going into the registry, the first thing that went through my mind was a memory of the home girls in east L.A. I’d see them walking by looking all royal with their teased-up hair and their eye makeup, a pack of Marlboro reds and a brush in one hand, and the other hand had a finger looped through a stack of 45s. And ‘La Bamba’ was always somewhere in that stack.”
1950s  art  rock  music  arts  latinx  songwriting  culture 
march 2019 by allaboutgeorge
Valerie Simpson Interview - Songwriting, Ashford & Simpson
You know, it’s a very interesting process when you’ve had a partner as long as I did. And suddenly (after Nick passed away), you find yourself having to examine songs differently, because I never had to think about a lyric. So now, I think about lyrics and I write lyrics. I now write the whole song, and I realize I’m able to do it.
songwriting  creativity  relationships  music  popmusic  art  writing  language 
march 2019 by allaboutgeorge
Róisín Murphy: 'Pop’s about putting across the primitive parts of yourself' | Music | The Guardian
“It’s weird in a way – it’s like I’ve bypassed my past. But Sheffield gave me the sense of where all music came from, and it’s good to remember that. It was the perfect size of city, where I worked out the connection between electro into house into hip-hop into soul music and back again. And it saved me, you know, music: being something just to immerse yourself into and be obsessed with, which leads you to be interested in other things.” She smiles. “Do you know what I mean? It all started with music for me. Everything still does.”
news  music  culture  cities  uk  london  pop  creativity  art  dance  songwriting 
december 2018 by allaboutgeorge
Jazz singer Nancy Wilson dies - The Washington Post
“Never have I gone anywhere and said, ‘Make me somebody,’ ” she said. “I came here as somebody. Consequently, you can’t turn me away from what I believe. These are the songs I like. And I’ve never recorded anything that totally wasn’t my choice.”
identity  songwriting  business  black  music  jazz  livemusic  popmusic 
december 2018 by allaboutgeorge
Remembering Buzzcocks’ Pete Shelley, The First Sensitive Punk | Pitchfork
“There isn't any implied gender in our songs now because we think it's boring singing about one thing when it could apply to both sexes,” Shelley told the music paper Sounds in 1977. “Our songs are bisexual."
music  culture  songwriting  bisexual  creativity  rock  indie  uk 
december 2018 by allaboutgeorge
Nicholas Krgovich: “Ouch” Album Review | Pitchfork
“She had just put out a breakup album and said something like she didn’t write about the specifics of the relationship because she didn’t want to build a totem to this one particular person,” Krgovich explains. “What I had just made with “Ouch” was all specificity.”
songwriting  creativity  music  writing  art 
november 2018 by allaboutgeorge
Read Jeff Tweedy from Wilco's New Let's Go (So We Can Get Back) Book Excerpt
The trick I was trying to teach myself at the time was how to find a balance between leaving enough room for someone to pour themselves into a song and giving them something concrete and engaging enough to want to be intimately collaborating with you on meaning.
songwriting  art  writing  creativity  books  rock  music 
november 2018 by allaboutgeorge
Silent Party #1 | Pitchfork
You may have one or several of these stories yourself: Moments when you realized that an active approach toward listening could be more than recombining track orders, and that research could be as rewarding as the listening process itself. Like any other form of media, we should look at music not so much as a "thing" but as "a way of doing something." Music is a process: An active, never-ceasing dialogue between creators and listeners with infinite outcomes.
music  copyright  creativity  law  media  songwriting  listening  hiphop 
november 2018 by allaboutgeorge
Neil Tennant: ‘Sometimes I think, where’s the art, the poetry in all this?’ | Music | The Guardian
“Really quite often, a publisher says, ‘Let’s get Neil Tennant to write his autobiography’ and it’s quite nice that they do,” its author muses. “I’m not convinced my life’s been interesting enough. This is my autobiography.”
songwriting  uk  creativity  music  pop  popmusic  history  biography 
october 2018 by allaboutgeorge
How Robyn, Pop’s Glittery Rebel, Danced Her Way Back From Darkness - The New York Times
When we had spoken in 2010 for a magazine profile while the “Body Talk” albums were in full swing, Robyn had mused on what she called the three big pillars of pop songwriting: love, the club and feeling like an outsider.

Sipping a pilsner at the restaurant in Stockholm’s Moderna Museet on an August afternoon, she said she’d add a few others to the mix now: “Eternity and death. And losing control.”

“In a way, I still agree that those are the three pillars of pop music. Those are pillars of youth,” she went on. “Everyone deals with sadness and lack of love when they’re kids, and all this abandonment. Most people do. Hopefully you want to learn something new and you want to move on to this other place, and I think for me, it was like, I really didn’t know how to calm myself down.”
art  music  songwriting  creativity  love  death  pop 
september 2018 by allaboutgeorge
Charting the Charts / Observable
Something happened around 2000 that increased the homogeneity of the Billboard Top 10. The article explores some ideas, which include a change in the way record sales were tabulated, the dominance of a few producers and the increased prevalence of digital music-making. More recently, however, the charts have seen the return of some musical diversity.
data  popmusic  songwriting  code  culture  BillboardHot100  music  radio 
august 2018 by allaboutgeorge
Life, Death, and John Prine | Pitchfork
“I guess I just process death differently than some folks,” he admits. “Realizing you’re not going to see that person again is always the most difficult part about it. But that feeling settles, and then you are glad you had that person in your life, and then the happiness and the sadness get all swirled up inside you. And then you’re this great, awful candy bar, walking around in a pair of shoes.”
death  songwriting  emotions  happiness  country  folk  music 
april 2018 by allaboutgeorge
Divine Fits: The Unquiet Life :: Music :: Features :: Divine Fits :: Paste
“It’s a breakup song,” he admits. “I wrote it in about as long as it takes to play it. The guitar chords were floating around, and I wrote and recorded it up in my room at Britt’s place. Being in music—at least the way I’ve been doing it the last six or seven years—is like having a post with the Merchant Marines. You go out and you do your tour of duty. It’s different than quote-unquote civilian life. Sometimes people don’t want to do that forever.”
songwriting  indie  rock  relationships  music 
january 2018 by allaboutgeorge
Jen Cloher on music and Courtney Barnett: ‘It’s been three years since I kissed envy goodbye’ | Music | The Guardian
“I lived my life outside of Catholic girls’ school largely as a boy … At Loreto [College], I was daily confused by the endless rules and protocol of being a young lady … I lived for the weekends when I could transform once again into that confident, sexy little man in black: John Cloher.”
australia  indie  rock  music  writing  songwriting  creativity 
january 2018 by allaboutgeorge
Jen Cloher review – a slow-burning masterpiece from a first-class songwriter | Music | The Guardian
It finishes with just Cloher and a few plucked acoustic guitar notes on Dark Art. It is the simplest and saddest of love songs, and beautiful in its selflessness. “The other side of love’s joy is shadow / Jealousy, fear, loss, anger, sorrow / If you never stay to sit in love’s shadow / A part of you will always be hollow.” Cloher, though, has surely sat in her love’s shadow long enough. This album is a masterpiece.
songwriting  indie  rock  australia 
january 2018 by allaboutgeorge
How I fell in love with the Go-Betweens | Pádraig Collins | Opinion | The Guardian
Seeing them for the first time was probably as close as I’ll ever get to a religious experience. Seeing them again a night later ran it close. They seemed blown away by the reception they got, particularly Grant, who after the third song said, almost as if to convince himself, “We’re the Go-Betweens.”
music  australia  indie  rock  love  songwriting 
january 2018 by allaboutgeorge
QA: David Lee Roth Vents About Van Halen's Future | Music News | Rolling Stone
When I talk to young musicians or authors and they ask for advice, I say, "You gotta learn all the letters of your own personal alphabet. With music, you need to know all the different kinds of music and everything in and around your given instrument." They say, "Well, why would I want to learn somebody else's alphabet?" "Son, you're not gonna invent any new letters in the alphabet, but if you do learn all of them and you can start creating words with them, well, last I looked, the Bible is written in the identical alphabet as all of my favorite pornography. At least you can make an informed choice." [Laughs] Which way is the porn store?
music  writing  songwriting  creativity  rock  language 
february 2013 by allaboutgeorge
The neuroscience of Bob Dylan's genius | Music | The Guardian
Just look at poets, who often rely on literary forms with strict requirements, such as haikus and sonnets. At first glance, this writing method makes little sense, since the creative act then becomes much more difficult. Instead of composing freely, poets frustrate themselves with structural constraints. Unless poets are stumped by the form, unless they are forced to look beyond the obvious associations, they'll never invent an original line. They'll be stuck with clichés and conventions, with predictable adjectives and boring verbs. And this is why poetic forms are so important. When a poet needs to find a rhyming word with exactly three syllables or an adjective that fits the iambic scheme, he ends up uncovering all sorts of unexpected connections; the difficulty of the task accelerates the insight process.
creativity  music  science  brain  dylan  poetry  writing  songwriting 
april 2012 by allaboutgeorge
A Conversation With John Flansburgh And Jonathan Coulton | The Awl
k a lot of the performance aspect of what we do is about that sharp shock of just finding out that there are different levels of what’s going on. There’s a communal level, a literary level, a personal level. I feel like this kind of writing and performing at its best gets at something that’s normally found more in prose. Nobody reads a novel, and thinks, “The guy who wrote this must be a serial killer,” although maybe David Mamet has screwed that up. They know that the author is working to push ideas to extremes. We talk a lot about unreliable narrators and trying to push the point of view beyond just first person singular singer-songwriter stuff. It can be done. The popular song is not over. It’s not like all the good songs have been written and we’re just going to write some more because we like songs. There’s a future there. And if you really think about it, you can do some good stuff.
songwriting  music  beauty  rock  aesthetics  story 
august 2011 by allaboutgeorge
The Grid TO | The uncanny allure of couples who make music together
When a band involves romance, there’s also a certain voyeuristic thrill for the audienc
music  creativity  love  relationships  writing  rock  songwriting  indie 
july 2011 by allaboutgeorge
The Sunday Conversation: Barry Manilow -
So I was surprised to learn that you wrote the music for "Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there."

I wrote a lot of those in those days.

That's probably your biggest hit. Do you still get royalties on that?

I got $500. They buy you out. And in those days I was happy to get the $500.
songwriting  music  business  pop  marketing 
july 2011 by allaboutgeorge
Duncan Sheik Uncovers Hope For The '80s : The Record : NPR
For musicians, mining the 1980s has proven very fruitful on a sonic and stylistic level. Synth-pop's colonization of indie rock during the past decade occurred partly because of technology; making electronic music is now such an accessible and self-contained process that going the rock band route seems almost ecologically unsound.

I also wonder if youthful fans of synth pop and New Wave style are looking for ways to be expressive but not overly earnest. To be a party person is to create a safe space for individual liberation and experimentation, and the 1980s model of a party person — crazily clothed, like some kind of exotic bird or Muppet — seems exceptionally well guarded from the risk of being taken too seriously.
1980s  music  pop  memory  songwriting  art  technology  electronica 
june 2011 by allaboutgeorge
The Boss, the Big Man, and the Best Rock Song of the '70s < PopMatters
From the languid, strings and piano introduction to the gradual build-up (“As secret debts are paid / Contacts made, they vanish unseen), to the guitar solo (3.00 - 3.27), the tension, at once joyous and foreboding, builds and then, instead of crashing, it crests. Enter Clemons at 3.54: the solo. It is extended, totally in charge and almost indescribably affecting. He wails, establishes a groove and then (right around the 5.43 mark) goes to that other place. Finally, just as the strings and piano take over, that last gasp, like a light going out or a life being saved. It is his moment, and in addition to being the best thing he ever did, it ranks as one of the best things anyone has done in a rock song.
music  songwriting  rock  1970s  beauty 
june 2011 by allaboutgeorge
Berry Gordy Jr. | What's Going On | When Marvin Gaye Broke Pattern | Cultural Conversation by Marc Myers -
Interestingly, two of the most singular aspects of "What's Going On" that were extended to the album began as errors. The opening alto-sax solo by Eli Fontaine actually was a warm-up phrase for an overdub that Gaye decided to keep. And Gaye's harmonized duets with himself occurred when Ken Sands, the engineer, accidentally played back two of his vocal versions on one mono tape.
music  r&b  pop  rock  songwriting 
june 2011 by allaboutgeorge
Baltimore band Wye Oak: Juggling loneliness and aloneness on their new 'Civilian' | Pop & Hiss | Los Angeles Times
“I used to keep a journal," she said, “but I would always forget to carry it around, and my ideas come when I’m out and about. My iPhone, though, is the one thing I have on my person at all times. So when I think of a guitar part or a vocal line or some lyrics, I put them on my iPhone. That way, when I have time to work on songs, I don’t face that blank-page syndrome like I used to. I played back that guitar riff and started singing scat syllables over it.
songwriting  art  iphone  mobile  memory  attention  creativity  technology 
april 2011 by allaboutgeorge
Pitchfork: Interviews: tUnE-yArDs
What brings it into a new light in this album is moving to Oakland. In Montreal, I got away with living in a pretty idyllic state with other Anglo musicians. It was a small city with a really warm environment for being a young artist and then I come to Oakland and there's a new kind of fear I have walking around. You've got to watch your back. It reminded me of how my dad used to talk about New York in the 1970s. Gunshots and muggings-- that happens a lot around here. It threw my awareness of what the state is right now back in my face. I never want to be a political songwriter; I don't want to tell people what my opinions are. And writing from a character's point of view is a way that I employ to understand that view. To get the personal story rather than "I believe this and so should you." You get to the humanity of a riot or a shooting or whatever it's about. There's a visceral connection rather than an overarching personal sense.
Oakland  music  songwriting  power  politics 
april 2011 by allaboutgeorge
Pitchfork: Interviews: TV on the Radio
Pitchfork: People say the protest song is dead, but maybe it's just not as specific anymore.

TA: Yeah, it's not like historical documentary-- you have to be a really talented writer if you're trying to encapsulate a news story with a song and have it live after the event. I don't have the focus to do that, really.

Pitchfork: But would you want to?

TA: Not particularly. My feelings aren't as concrete or based in time. Like, any human being oppressing another human being-- I don't care who it is-- I'm not for that.

KM: You could write a song called "I'm Not for That". [laughs]

TA: Like a 22-minute song of things I'm not for-- [sings in country voice] "I don't like my pizza in a personal pan." [laughs]

KM: [sings] "Don't take me back to Vietnam."

TA: [sings] "I'm not for that." It's great! Liquid gold!
songwriting  rock  indie  politics  music 
april 2011 by allaboutgeorge
Richard Thompson – I don’t think there are rules « Americana and Roots Music - No Depression
The thing is not to be satisfied with the style of the folksinger sort of singer-songwriter; to come out and push the limits of what you can do to accompany yourself as a singer, on the guitar.
There can be something kind of seductive about somebody who’s very introverted onstage, who stares at those shoes, strums, doesn’t say very much — and draws you into their world. I think that can work, in terms of performance, though it’s not the right way for me. I was nervous onstage, and didn’t want to be standing there looking nervous, so I figured I’d use some bluster, use the personalities of a couple of male friends of mine…
ND: Would you like to name names?
RT: Uh — no! They were a couple of loud bass players who shout in restaurants. I decided to be loud onstage, tell jokes between numbers, so if the songs were kind of quiet and introverted, there’d be some contrast. I could put the audience a little off-balance; they wouldn’t know what to expect.
music  livemusic  songwriting 
april 2011 by allaboutgeorge
Steve Reich revisits tragedy with 'WTC 9/11'
The three-movement piece opens with a violin drone in F, the note a phone makes when left off the hook. The strings then amplify recorded voices, edited to evocative sentences. They include the voice of the first ambulance driver to arrive at the World Trade Center and an air traffic controller who rhythmically utters, "No contact with the pilot, no contact with the pilot whatsoever."

Reich acquired the voices of emergency officials from public-domain sources. He also made recordings of those who lived near the World Trade Center, including his son's neighbor, who eerily states in the piece, "Suddenly it was black outside."
classicalmusic  classical  music  songwriting  wtc  september11  nyc 
april 2011 by allaboutgeorge
Adele: 'I want to discover my own sound' - Telegraph
“Country was never part of my life growing up but I really liked the storytelling. Contemporary records can take three minutes to get to the point, and sometimes you don’t know what the song was about even when its finished. Whereas in the first 20 seconds of a country song you know exactly what’s going on.

“I found it easy to imagine myself in those situations and kind of pick an old memory of mine and think about it as I listened. I like the feel, it’s quite euphoric and triumphant-sounding but also really dangerous and bitter. It’s more emotional than pop music, as emotional as the soul singers I enjoyed from when I was little. I really like Wanda Jackson, who’s more rockabilly, but she’s got this bit of grit in her voice, she’s like a bitch! I love it!”
country  songwriting  music  usa  writing  creativity  travel 
march 2011 by allaboutgeorge
New Music From Adele, Lucinda Williams and Cuong Vu -
“I know I have a fickle heart, and a bitterness/And a wandering eye, and a heaviness in my head,” she sings, more declarative than regretful. But then comes the moan. “Don’t you remember,” she asks — stretching that last word out over a few seconds and many more syllables — “the reason you loved me before” — on those last two words, more seconds, more syllables. But like a responsible repository of style history, Adele never truly unravels, tying the sentiment together with a bow: “Baby, please remember me once more.”
songwriting  music 
march 2011 by allaboutgeorge
How and Why Every Song Can Be an App | Epicenter |
For reviewers with permission from a band, label or publicist to build an app around a song, things get potentially even more interesting. I’ve been wondering whether app integration might be able to save music journalism by allowing people to listen to music as they read its latest reviews on their mobile devices, and from the looks of things, Songpier (or something else like it) will make that happen as well, rendering the act of writing about music far more accurate than dancing about architecture, as the saying goes.
music  songwriting  technology  mobile  html  creativity  software  business  mp3 
january 2011 by allaboutgeorge
Suicide Demo for Kara Walker | Music For Kids Who Can't Read Good: Making It 1997 Again Through Science Or Magic
Much has been said about the album’s vintage 80’s sound (referred to as soft-rock, smooth jazz, or “ambient disco” depending on who you’re talking to) but I find it amazing how Bejar has taken a style of music that is easily laughed off and used it as the medium for his most ravishing work. The album strikes a balance of being faithful to the sound, with it’s palette of airy synths, extravagant woodwinds and soulful back-up singers, and creating something entirely new that’s both whimsical and stunning.
music  indie  rock  canada  songwriting 
january 2011 by allaboutgeorge
One Song: Daniel Bejar's Destroyer finds a different angle on Kara Walker's words | Pop & Hiss | Los Angeles Times
“Kaputt” rethinks Destroyer's noisy, rococo indie rock within the startling context of New Romantic smooth jazz, in the process changing the meaning of clichés like “mellow” and “art rock.”
indie  rock  canada  songwriting 
january 2011 by allaboutgeorge
Pitchfork: Album Reviews: Destroyer: Kaputt
The production and arrangements evoke a narrow window of time-- sometime between, say, 1977 and 1984, or between Chuck Mangione's "Feels So Good" and Sade's Diamond Life with stops along the way for Roxy Music's Avalon and Steely Dan's Gaucho. It slides between soft rock, smooth jazz, and new romantic pop. The bass is fretless; the synths have the blocky contrast of a Nagel painting; there are heavily reverbed trumpets and saxophones that almost serve as a Greek chorus, trilling away at the end of every line to enforce the beautiful plasticity of these songs.
music  canada  songwriting  rock  indie  creativity 
january 2011 by allaboutgeorge
Breaking Down the DNA of a Hit Song - Speakeasy - WSJ
Going the way of long intros, at least in pop, is the ballad. In a field littered with thumping club tracks (see Taio Cruz’s “Dynamite”) and mid-tempo “sex jams,” as Frank calls them, the top-selling ballad was “If I Die Young” by the young country act The Band Perry—which topped out at only No. 59. With only a handful of rock bands represented in the top 100, including Paramore and Neon Trees, rockers vying for crossover success should take cues from prevailing pop trends, Frank says: “Now is not the time to go esoteric or to go heavy. No power ballads, for sure.”

Murphy and Frank also delved into subject matter, breaking lyrics down into some thematic categories. In pop, Frank found that 21% of the top 100 sellers dealt with maneuvering someone into bed (typically from the dancefloor); testifying about love was less common (17%); followed by falling out of love (16%), partying (16%) and sheer boasting (9%).
songwriting  pop  music  writing  attention  research 
january 2011 by allaboutgeorge
Singer tackles gay bashing, suicide in new video
"I think many musicians separate themselves from what they're actually going through in real life for fear of being judged for, you know, what their political views are (and) what they feel personally about things that are going on in the real world," she said. "Music for me is personal and that's the only way I know how to approach it."
music  gay  songwriting  suicide  video  art  creativity  identity  violence 
january 2011 by allaboutgeorge
An Interview with Jimmy Webb - Americana and roots music - No Depression
I listened very carefully. And my conclusion was that a new age was upon us and that you would either adapt or you would essentially be back-burnered. You would recede in importance unless you at least made the attempt to get on the train and become a singer/songwriter. I wasn’t very successful at it, but I sure as hell gave it a good try.
songwriting  music  rock  writing  creativity 
december 2010 by allaboutgeorge
At 25, Turtle Island Quartet turns back to Hendrix
"Sometimes you want to take a piece and really reinvent it. But this is music that I loved as a kid, and it was holy ground to me. I didn't want to undo it, I wanted to just be it. Hendrix was layering lines on top of each other, overdubbing them into a soundscape. It was perfect for a string quartet."
classical  classicalmusic  jazz  livemusic  sanfrancisco  rock  music  songwriting  beauty 
december 2010 by allaboutgeorge
Kanye West Releases My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy and Develops New Side Businesses - The Daily Beast
"There aren’t a hundred brands interested in Kanye like they are Jay-Z. The partners that are interested in him are niche and select. But that’s not a bad thing. He can position himself with brands as exactly what he is, which is a curator of high-end lifestyle products. Instead of being a mile wide and an inch deep, his strategy is to be an inch wide and a mile deep."
hiphop  marketing  business  fashion  music  songwriting 
november 2010 by allaboutgeorge
Paris Review – The Tao of Prince, Dan Piepenbring
Take “Raspberry Beret" [...] Peopled by such rural mainstays as Mr. McGee (the hardnosed boss of a five-and-dime) and Old Man Johnson (a farmer, of course), the song testifies to the bucolic joys of “doing something close to nothing,” shirking workaday life, and having a literal romp in the hay. All’s well and good until this arcadia is interrupted by another form of pastoral, the elegy. It creeps in with the beautiful, obscure line “Overcast days never turned me on, but something ’bout the clouds and her mixed.” Then comes a quiet reference to lost youth: He “wouldn’t change a stroke … with a girl as fine as she was then.” The last line brings a full-on lament, as Prince sings, “Tell me, where have all the raspberry women gone?” We could argue all day about what a raspberry woman is—for my money, it’s got nothing to do with fruit—and this is Prince’s inscrutable charm. Having lured us in with a frothy romance, he ends by mourning something we can’t even fully understand.
songwriting  prince  1980s  music  rock  writing  death  love  sex 
november 2010 by allaboutgeorge
John Doe – Wolf at the door « Americana and Roots Music - No Depression
“So that’s what I aspire to. Having a few of those moments now and then. As you sing more, I find that you’re able to appreciate it more, and you’re able to put yourself in a totally open space so you’re not mentally trying to do something. You’re just letting it happen, which is great. Then you can find those moments, when it’s just happening. It’s not something you can do easily or by will. You just get into it.”
music  songwriting  attention  beauty 
november 2010 by allaboutgeorge
Murder Ballad Bash lets inner monsters out to play: Music | KQED Public Media for Northern CA
"Every single year, I just get so excited about all the amazing people that play, and this year is really no exception. The theme for the show has always been murder ballads and songs of misery and despair. There's a lot of ground you can cover under that cloak, I think. A lot of the songs, they're not specifically about murder, they might just be about the really dark side of love -- or just the dark side of life. You never know what to expect, but it always ends up being a really great show."
songwriting  berkeley  music  livemusic 
october 2010 by allaboutgeorge
Aimee Mann: 19 September 2010 - Chicago < PopMatters
Mann’s witty lyrics hit with a nod and a wink as she sang, “You got a lot of money but you can’t afford the freeway / The road to Orange County leaves an awful lot of leeway / Where everyone’s a doctor or a specialist in retail / They’ll sell you all the speed you want if you can take the blackmail.” Here lies Mann’s charm, her writer’s eye, her literary gift of imagery and metaphor. She has the uncanny ability to craft laconic rhythms and haunting melodies with a storyteller’s keen sense of observation.

Take “Little Bombs” for example, sounding something like a shimmering and luminous ballad but in tone a deadpan, introspective look at the banality of the quotidian where “life just kind of empties out, more a deluge than a drought.” The brutal imagery striking the listener with the tersest of couplets and rhythmic iambs.
music  reviews  songwriting  rock  chicago 
october 2010 by allaboutgeorge
A New Country Masterpiece | Jamey Johnson's The Guitar Song | By Barry Mazor -
"The traditional country music—or as it's commonly called in my house, 'music'—that's where you learned things," he said. "In the little town I grew up in, that music came in, and it fed the soul and challenged the spirit. It got you thinking about everything, every aspect of life, as songs should—not just the funny times, not just the good ones, but the serious ones, too. There was a language that country-music writers, singers and listeners in general understood. That language is not being passed down these days; not a lot of people can really speak it. But you can still learn it if you try, and that's the fine art of country music."
country  music  songwriting  livemusic  aesthetics  language 
september 2010 by allaboutgeorge
Music Is Science Fiction: An Interview With The Lisps | Lightspeed Magazine
Over the past two weeks, I’ve exchanged several e-mails with The Lisps. In the interview that follows, we touch on topics such as self-help songs, The Difference Engine, string theory, and, of course, The Singularity.
music  songwriting  sciencefiction  writing  creativity  art  indie  rock  literature  books  science 
july 2010 by allaboutgeorge
Hans Zimmer Extracts the Secrets of the ‘Inception’ Score - ArtsBeat Blog -
“I had to go and extract these two notes out of a recording. I love technology, so it was a lot of fun for me to go and get the original master out of the French national archives. And then find some crazy scientist in France who would actually go and take that one cell out of the DNA.”

“Just for the game of it,” Mr. Zimmer said, “all the music in the score is subdivisions and multiplications of the tempo of the Édith Piaf track. So I could slip into half-time; I could slip into a third of a time. Anything could go anywhere. At any moment I could drop into a different level of time.”

“Everybody thinks the dream is the important part. For me, the time was the important part: the idea that, in a peculiar way, Chris had made a time-travel movie that actually worked.”
songwriting  movies  technology  time  cinema  film  creativity  france 
july 2010 by allaboutgeorge
Suzanne Vega | interviews | musicOMH
"First of all I think as a young girl I felt very cynical about love," she recalls. "But as time goes on and you lose people in your life, you realise that love is the thing that matters most of all. It's not something to be cynical about or be embarrassed or inhibited by. It takes all forms and it takes all shapes - it's really much deeper and wider than you can ever imagine at the age of 20. It can be the guiding force of your life and there's no shame in having a deep and wide and full love life. I don't mean that in the sense of just having lots of boyfriends, I mean how do you connect to the community, what is your feeling towards mankind? You feel it in that sense, which is not something I felt 25 years ago."
songwriting  love  art  music  creativity  relationships 
june 2010 by allaboutgeorge
Sting's classical effect -
"I can't imagine a more conservative music than rock 'n' roll," he said. "It's tyranny in the backbeat. It's 4/4 time. It's the same three chords 'round and 'round. It's almost like a fundamentalist religion. Stravinsky is more rebellious than rock 'n' roll by far. Rock 'n' roll has become like a dead art."

The criticism Sting's endured over his long career for weaving jazz or Algerian music into rock has only inspired him. "People want to keep you in the box they've given you," he said. "It's a tribal consciousness. Stay in your class. Stay in your country. Because if you move you're trouble. But the fact is, that volatile molecule is the one that transforms everything for the better. So I think it's always worth doing."
music  songwriting  classical  classicalmusic  livemusic  rock 
june 2010 by allaboutgeorge
Sade As Wounded Warrior « liner notes
And this is really what I want to say about the new album: it may be that Sade now goes into the studio simply trying to initiate the purge she believes is expected of her. In that way I believe she’s gradually misconstrued, by small degrees, what her job as a musician is. At the other extreme we have artists that push the boundaries as far as possible with each new album to break out of the shell of what’s expected. I feel the best work happens somewhere in the middle, in a space when original ideas are allowed to flow naturally with little reaction to what’s worked before. And the best songs seem to come when the conscious mind vaguely teases the subconscious out, but it is not always helpful to approach the studio expecting drawn-out martyrdom. I want Sade to have fun writing the music she presents to us.
music  songwriting  sade  aesthetics  writing  art 
june 2010 by allaboutgeorge
Music - James Taylor and Carole King’s ‘Troubadour Reunion’ Tour -
As reunions go, this one is less dramatic than some others from the period. While Ms. King and Mr. Taylor performed and recorded together quite a bit in the early 1970s, they were never formally a duo. They never fell out and never broke up. Most significantly — and highly uncharacteristically for those freewheeling times — they were never lovers, so there was no complicated personal history to resolve. If the tour can be said to have a message, it’s that not everything has to end — or end badly.

“It’s nice to see a man and a woman who have continually respected what they meant to each other professionally,” said Sheila Weller, the author of “Girls Like Us,” a book about Ms. King, Joni Mitchell and Carly Simon. “It’s like the people in ‘The Big Chill’: ‘I will never let you down. No matter where you are, call me and I’ll come.’ ”
friendship  music  livemusic  songwriting  1960s  1970s  women  men 
june 2010 by allaboutgeorge
Tracey Thorn, Singing Stories Of Fear And Loving : NPR
"If people carry on making music, but write lyrics always from the perspective of younger people, they're actually missing a trick," she says. "There are different stories to tell."
aging  songwriting  music  creativity  story  love  relationships 
may 2010 by allaboutgeorge
Rebel Music - Opinionator Blog -
When I am composing, I try to return to that time and place of inexperience when I was knocked sideways by dangerous sounds. Why else write? Why else listen?
music  classicalmusic  nytimes  songwriting  beauty  creativity 
may 2010 by allaboutgeorge
BELOVED STRANGER: Letter To A College Student
So maybe I gave up a few years there, did the mommy track, played nurse. I'm older now and I don't give a Flyin' Rats Ass that I don't sound a thing like Celine Dion. That's the beauty of gettin' on and doing things your own way.
music  women  business  songwriting  work  art  gender 
april 2010 by allaboutgeorge
Portrait of the artist: Rufus Wainwright, musician | Culture | The Guardian
What advice would you give a young musician? "Sing your songs in public at least twice a week – even if it's only at weddings and barmitzvahs. The more you do, the quicker you learn which songs travel."
music  songwriting  livemusic  advice  diy  attention  presence 
april 2010 by allaboutgeorge
The xx: 'We're very keen not to be… flash' | Music | The Guardian
"It always felt very comfortable and natural to be sort of sharing and collaging our lyrics," Madley Croft says. "We don't really have to explain to each other what we're singing about, because I already have such an emotional attachment to things Oliver is singing. It's in the same way that, with your favourite songs, you don't really want to know what the artist is writing about, because then you can put them into your own life, like, 'Oh, this is my song.'"
music  songwriting  uk 
april 2010 by allaboutgeorge
Timothy McSweeney's Internet Tendency: Dispatches From a Guy Trying Unsuccessfully to Sell a Song In Nashville.
When we were doing our first living room recordings for our band, with a little four-track recorder, my friend John coached me to imagine I was John Mellencamp, and not try to "sing" like some Methodist choir member. He was basically trying to get me to Yell on Key. That advice and my admiration for mid-to-late-sixties Dylan are the main influences on the voice I use for my now perhaps-understandably-infrequent performances.

Demand appears to have ebbed over the years.

Still, you can't be a singer-songwriter unless you try to be both sides of that hyphen.
songwriting  creativity  music  livemusic  humor  writing 
april 2010 by allaboutgeorge
For Sade, a Reluctant Return to the Spotlight -
For Sade, reticence is a matter of both temperament and songwriting strategy. “That’s the trick in a way, like conjuring,” she said. “You’ve got to allow so much to go in there. But it isn’t just your own, because then it’s T.M.I.” — too much information — “and when you listen to the song you’re thinking of the person rather than your own emotions. If it’s too attached to the performer,” she added, “it pushes you away, it’s a bit repulsive. Because that’s theirs — it’s not yours.”
songwriting  music  aesthetics  creativity  writing  identity  attention  relationships 
february 2010 by allaboutgeorge
Sinatra Song Often Strikes Deadly Chord -
“ ‘I did it my way’ — it’s so arrogant,” Mr. Albarracin said. “The lyrics evoke feelings of pride and arrogance in the singer, as if you’re somebody when you’re really nobody. It covers up your failures. That’s why it leads to fights.”
music  karaoke  philippines  livemusic  art  crime  death  murder  aesthetics  songwriting  men  behavior  reputation 
february 2010 by allaboutgeorge
Abroad - For Pierre Boulez, It’s Still About the Music -
“If you want to have a more interesting life, you will make some effort,” is how he put it. “It’s about the organization of one’s life. I am still shocked that so many people are not more creative, by which I mean more demanding of themselves.

“The main question we need to ask ourselves is: Do I try to be necessary to the evolution of language? Do I try to be original? And being original means using the tools necessary to be original, not just having the desire to be original.”
language  music  songwriting  classical  creativity 
january 2010 by allaboutgeorge
Restaurants Use Menu Psychology to Entice Diners -
“We thought long and hard about the psychology because this is a complete relaunch of a restaurant entirely through its menu and through the psychology of the menu,” Mr. Meyer said. “The chefs write the music and the menu becomes the lyrics, and sometimes the music is gorgeous and it’s got the wrong lyrics and the lyrics can torpedo the music.”
music  food  business  psychology  marketing  design  attention  songwriting 
december 2009 by allaboutgeorge
Will 2010 bring a new studio album from Tom Waits? Quite possibly. | Pop & Hiss | Los Angeles Times
“You have this device for capturing something that doesn't necessarily want to be captured,” he says. “Songs are really just emotional containers of abstract things. Nobody really knows what they are.
“It's like diamond-cutting or hunting for bear or dropping out of a tree. Sometimes, it's like ping-pong. Other times it's like operating on a flamingo. Every song's different. Some are like empty swimming pools, and you've got to be the water.”
december 2009 by allaboutgeorge
Vancouver Sun: Norah Jones channels her inner Tom Waits
I went through a breakup when I was writing a lot of these songs. A lot of the songs are not about that, and a lot are about friends who have broken up.

"A lot of it is very personal, a lot is deceptively fake. That's what songwriting is all about: massaging whatever it is into a great song. It's not about being my diary; I just want the songs to be good."
songwriting  relationships 
december 2009 by allaboutgeorge
Michael Chabon: Bonus Track 2: "Sailing By Ear"
The sound quality is probably still not anything close to what I used to get from the vinyl copy of Fragile that I picked up a couple of weeks after Bill took me shopping. And it’s definitely not everything that I need. Nothing is. That’s part of rock and roll, too, I suppose, and something that Bill and my mother and I all understood that day, without understanding it. And like Nemo at my keyboard, I will sail on, through 20,000 leagues or pages, chasing that mystery, and all the others that I can hear, once again, in the music.
music  writing  identity  aging  songwriting  beauty  books  parenting  technology 
november 2009 by allaboutgeorge
The Fall by Norah Jones, Music Review by Jim Fusilli -
"I don't mind that I'm a rudimentary guitar player," she said. "Limitations make music interesting. When you go with what you've got, it can become something great."
guitar  music  songwriting  reviews 
november 2009 by allaboutgeorge
The dark edges of Mika's deceptively sunny pop | Pop & Hiss | Los Angeles Times
“Pop enables you to hoodwink people. If you follow certain formulas and structures, people gravitate to a song and attach themselves to it, they instantly ‘get’ it. And once you’ve got them, you can get them to sing along to something bitterly sad.”
pop  music  songwriting  beauty  story 
october 2009 by allaboutgeorge
Thoughts on Ellie Greenwich from Brian Wilson, Diane Warren | Pop & Hiss | Los Angeles Times
“I never thought, ‘This is a woman writing these songs.’ I never looked at gender. Songs are great or they are not great. I think it’s great in that Ellie and [and Brill Building peers] Cynthia Weil and Carole King were pretty powerful women. But I never said ‘I want to be that woman.' I just wanted to write great songs, which is what they did.

“I don’t think there’s a female perspective; there’s a human perspective, and that’s why those songs are so popular," Warren said. "They were about human emotions. A lot of women sang them, but a lot of what they sang is universal.”
women  gender  songwriting  art  music  creativity 
august 2009 by allaboutgeorge
Sheryl Crow Sells Music Catalog for About $10 Million - Deal Journal - WSJ
Part of the attraction of Crow is that she performs concerts, a big source of revenue for the music industry, says Geordie Manolas, co-head of First State Media Group, and which increases the likelihood that radio stations and others will keep playing her music and thus generating royalties. In addition to Crow’s collection of previously-released music, the fund also has acquired the rights to songs from her next two albums and has a roster of writers who will work with Crow on new material, including scores for film productions.

Manolas added that music-publishing generally is attractive for its diverse income stream that has little correlation with other types of assets and long-term cash flows. The copyright owner can collect royalties for up to 90 years after the death of the song writer.
music  business  songwriting  money  publishing  writing  australia  film  bank 
august 2009 by allaboutgeorge
Aimee Mann clicks into a disturbed world | The Japan Times Online
"I'm always interested in the same thing," she says. "I like to write about messed up people who have relationships where the dynamic is strange. People are interesting, and most are fairly disturbed. I don't know anybody who you would call well adjusted. I know people who are flawed and who are trying to improve, and I applaud that." [...]

"I have a lot of compassion for people," she says briskly. "It's not easy being a person. I even feel sorry for giant celebrities. I think it's a tougher gig than people give them credit for." [...]

"I like to write in the first person but from somebody else's point of view," she explains. "How would it feel to be doing what they're doing, or feeling what they're feeling? The best way to do that is to figure out how you are alike. Maybe you take a person who you think isn't like you and it's not your story, and you start telling their story and discover the part of it that is your story."
songwriting  japan  music  livemusic  attention  writing  creativity  story  celebrity  psychology  relationships 
august 2009 by allaboutgeorge
In Los Angeles, Mexican Songs Without Borders -
Narcocorridos make you feel good, Pablo had told me, at a Oaxacan restaurant in downtown Los Angeles over mole and horchata, a sugary rice drink. Pablo has a sweet tooth. He also has a taste for bitter, bloody narco songs.

It has nothing to do with dealing or using drugs yourself, he said. It’s the stories — of power and vengeance, of lust and betrayal — all to that happy beer-hall beat. If you’ve had a bad day at work, you’re sad, or lonely, a jolt of corrido picks you up.

When he hears them, Pablo said, “Oh man, I feel like I don’t give a damn,” using another word for damn. “I feel free.” He laughed.

Pablo’s not a drug dealer or user. He’s not even Mexican. He’s from El Salvador. He was right, I thought — people everywhere have been writing, singing and drawing consolation from desolate songs forever.
songwriting  mexico  losangeles  california  creativity  music  food  beer 
august 2009 by allaboutgeorge
HALL AND OATES: Soul Survivors | American Songwriter
I think the best pop music writers are the ones that can communicate complex emotional things in very simplistic terms, and in a very direct way, that gets across in the restricted format of a pop song. You don’t have 86 words. You’ve got four words, and in those four words, every word has to count… you’ve got the added restrictions that they’ve got to rhyme too, for the most part, and you’ve got to be able to sing them. So you have words that have to be able to roll off the tongue and be sung, they have to somewhat rhyme or at least have a rhyme scheme, and then they have to say something-all in a very, very short period of time. To me, that’s the mark of a good pop song.
pop  music  songwriting  creativity  journalism  writing  rock 
august 2009 by allaboutgeorge
Meet Das Racist, the Smartest Stupid Guys in the Room -- New York Magazine
“We could have written a structured treatise attacking corporate proliferation. Or we could just say ‘Pizza Hut Taco Bell’ over and over. That shit’s way funnier.”
music  humor  comedy  songwriting  newyork  business  corporations  attention 
august 2009 by allaboutgeorge
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