Wednesday, November 23, 2011
I have been going through my half-finished songs recently, and after sharing The Hero with you guys, i wanted to continue into a brief bout of songwriting i did while i was learning the ins and outs of Record, the audio/ engineering program by Propellerhead. I knew the basics of programming synths etc within Reason, but Record gave you all the benefits that Reason provides PLUS the addition of live audio tracks into their already awesome grid-like song building layout.
At some point a few years ago, I was looking through old 20 second loops i had created to see if i had left something cool behind, something not fully thought out. I came upon the loop that begins Bishops Mother; it was a solo guitar track, just the palm-muted guitar progression that starts the song. I dug it, so i added bass and drum tracks to the guitar and created a 2 chord loop that i recorded a guitar solo over. I continued on writing, thinking that i would be able to come up with some vocals to go over it, but i never could realize the proper words to fill out the song. The second section is one of my favorite pop achievements. Vocals please?
Bishops Mother by ninko
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Im gonna kick off this Pop Music Challenge with an old favorite. Feist is just lovely; not only is she a hot lady who plays music, but she also writes some really catchy shit. Shes been a part of some really neat side projects, like her work in Broken Social Scene and her awesome rendition of 1234 for Sesame Street, and her solo works have been continuing into more interesting territory. From her debut forward (2004s Let It Die) she had my attention, kicking off her career with tracks like One Evening and Secret Heart, but really snaring me in with track 2, Mushaboom.
Again, this shit is just pop gold, and the video compliments the song greatly: from the start of the video, she gets out of bed singing along to her own song being played on the radio. The lyrics talk about optimism and being happy with what you have, with dreamy undertones of the possibilities of life and love with a properly stoked imagination. When she suddenly enters the dream world, where everyone on the streets turn into her backup dancers and things happen because she wills them into existence, it is just so damned fun and happy. I love the effect of having the song enter full range stereo as she transitions from her life in the apartment to her dream life in the streets.
let it die
I have officially hijacked the Swords to fill it up with pop music, new and old, and I have no shame in this action (my facebook post of The King of Wishful Thinking notwithstanding; it IS catchy, and damned hilarious).
To continue on, i must mention this favorite of mine for the last few years. I will get straight to the point: This Must Be The Place, off of their live album Stop Making Sense, is Talking Heads at their very very super-berry best. I have been listening to it a lot recently; it instantly puts me in a good mood. I first critically noticed how very repetitive the rhythm section is in the track.. The bass, guitar and percussion play precisely the same progression through the duration of the song, which in certain instances can mean a very redundant sound, but David Byrnes varying vocal melodies (with the great harmonies provided by his backup singers) lend the track many unique sections, with such nice lyrics behind them:
"Home is where i want to be/ But i guess im already there
I come home/ she lifted up her wings/ i guess that this must be the place"
stop making sense
As another "thanks" (as we quickly and quietly passed our 30,000 views milestone), and also as an inclusion to the Pop Music Challenge, i wanted to show you guys another song of mine. It came about while i was listening to a lot of Flying Lotus, and set out to create an 8-bit sounding instrumental track in his style; i wrote up to the 40 second mark without any further thoughts and decided to take a break for a shower, when the vocal melody hit me. And bam, in about 5 hours i completed the entire track; sometimes you get rolling and cannot stop it. The lyrics are about wishing you were The Hero in your story, the guy who saves the day and rescues the princess. Blam!
06 The Hero by ninko
Monday, November 21, 2011
I realize now that, by this point, i have not posted half as much Bloc Party as i should have. Though the crew and our readers here at the Swords favor a more mathy steez, and i definitely love the massive amount of awesome music coming from our blog, Bloc Party fits a way more mainstream mold of songcraft. I feel as to issue a challenge to my fellow Sworders, to post or comment current pop music that tickles your fancy. I have a nostalgic love of musicians who make songs that are not only tight and interesting, but also refined in their skills at making a more simplified chord progression unique, and at writing songs that catch you on an emotional level.
I Still Remember is probably the most sentimental example i could use for a starting point though: the lyrics are pure emo pop gold. The verses talk about fleeting moments with a person you are crushing on, and the longing for something more to come of the times you spent with that person. Then the chorus hits, with lines about wishing the signals had been more clear between the two of you. This can all easily be read as simplicity expounded upon, but the song craft lies within its execution. The instrumental layers and catchy melodies really kick my ass, and even though its cheesy, i can rely upon this song to remind me that love can be more a reaction than a feeling in uncertain instances.
it comes at the tail end of a darkly optimistic album that i have loved for many years now. the link is below; more to come.
a weekend in the city