Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Albums to Look Forward to in 2018


Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - Wrong Creatures
Ty Tabor - Alien Beans

Glenn Hansard - Between Two Shores
tUnE - yArDs - I Can Feel You Creep Into My Private Life
Inara George - Dearest Everybody

Jeffrey Gaines - Alright (Pledgemusic)
Ampline - Passion Relapse

Son Lux - Brighter Wounds

S. Carey - Hundred Acres
Charlotte Day Wilson - Stone Woman

Jonathan Wilson - Rare Birds
Seun Kuti & Egypt 80 - Black Times
The Breeders - All Nerve

David Kitt - Yous

Lissie - Castles

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Poetic LIcense...or...In Other Words #4

Every now and then your favorite songs are so good that they allow you to look past certain quirks and nuances that are so contrary that in a lesser work they would be the subject of ridicule. It's Okay by Land of Talk is one of my all-time favorite song & likely my all-time favorite ballad. But leave it to me to find one line that I feel was either purposely changed to avoid being cliche, or... I don't know why they would make the creative choice they did other than to just do something different that wasn't so obvious. But in this case I feel the obvious lyrical choice would do the sentiment of the song so much Justice and it wouldn't detract from the lyric at all.

It's Okay
It's okay,
I don't even cry
all I think about is a memory
and the dream when you kissed my arm
as I look away, don't hear what I say
That maybe when I die,
I'll get to be a car
driving in the night
lighting up the dark.
something in your voice
it sparks a little hope
I'll wait up for that noise
your voice become my home
One way road, don't care what I find
A little thunder's good, I thought maybe you would
but it's okay, we all feel left out
sometimes growing up, it can get you down.
I give you something that no one's going to give you
my sleepin' skin and my heart deep down in you
I'll never tell you, but you're my little scar
Goodbyes are hard and they're hard and they're hard
Maybe when I die
I'll get to be a car
driving in the night
Lighting up the dark
Something in your voice,
sparks a little hope
I'll wait up for that noise
your voice becomes my home
Songwriters: Elizabeth Powell
It's Okay lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.

So here is the phrase:

Maybe when die
I'll get to be a car
driving in the night
lighting up the dark.

The obvious change:

Maybe when I die
I'll get to be a star
Shining through the night
Lighting up the dark

Poetic Embellishment:

Maybe when I die
I'll live on in your heart
Spirits intertwined
Never drawn apart

There are plenty of ways to spin it but none are necessary because Elizabeth sings the original with vulnerability and sincerity so potent that thr curious imagery of automotive reinCarnation is totally acceptable.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Poetic License...or In Other Words #3

I've been sitting on this one for a minute, cause it's an easy fix in my head, and also one that adds a little something to the power of the song. What song?

My Name Is Human by Highly Suspect


I'm only of a mind to tweak 1 line in the main chorus that goes:

"Get up off your knees, boy
Stand face to face with your God
And find out what you are(Hello, my name is human)Hello, my name is humanAnd I came down from the stars(Hello, my name is human)"

It's ironic that the only phrase I have a problem with is the title of the song when it's echoed. There's just so much potential there for pathos since this is in essence a sing-a-long chorus. My first thought was to just change the phrase to:

Get up off your knees
Stand face to face with your God
And find out what you are
(I know I'm only human)
Hello, my name is human

And I cam down from the stars
(I know I'm more than human)

Either of those replacement lines work, and there's no need to use both, but I like the way using both represents the conflict people have with their ideas about their limits and their potential. It's a representation of the existential dilemma that comes with reconciling consciousness, mortality, and, infinity.

Regardless, I dig the song and the way it uses a cadence you'd heard in contemporary r & b for the delivery of the verses. It's the modern equivalent of a spoken verse, but with melody and rhythm giving it a coolness that doesn't compromise the groove. It allows for the the wordplay to be so straight-forward, but still deceptively clever, in plain spoken vernacular. Tweaking those two lines would have been the final revision that put it over the top for me, though credit where credit is due, if you can't get people to sing something that in context, sounds kind of odd, you've struck musical gold.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

2017's Albums to Look Forward To

Here's what's on my radar so far:


Colony House - Only the Lonely


Cuddle Magic - Ashes/Axis


Elbow - Little Fictions
Big Wreck - Grace Street
Shannon Wright - Division


Mother Mother - No Culture


Son Volt - Notes of Blue
Eisley - I'm Only Dreaming
Ryan Adams - Prisoner
The Verve Pipe - Parachutes
Soft Sleep - Infinite Circles


Acceptance - Colliding By Design (Pledgemusic)
Jeff Lang - Alone in Bad Company


Minus the Bear - Voids
Beth Bombara - Map & No Direction (Pledgemusic)
Junius - Eternal Rituals for the Accretion of Light


David Bazan - Care


KXM - Scatterbrain
Ari Hest - Natural (bandcamp)
Depeche Mode - Spirit


Will Johnson - Hatteras Night, A Good Luck Charm
Bridget Kearney - Won't Let You Down
Aaron Sprinkle - Real Life


Aimee Mann - Mental Illness
Richard Edwards (Margot & the Nuclear So and Sos) - Lemon Cotton Candy Sunset



Anders Parker - The Man Who Fell From Earth (Pledgemusic)
John Mayer - The Search for Everything


Incububs - 8


Mark Lanegan Band - Gargoyle
Juliana Hatfield - Pussycat
R. Ring - Ignite the Rest
The Classic Crime - How To Be Human (Kickstarter)
Feist - Pleasure
Violents - Awake and Pretty Much Sober


Paul Weller - A Kind of Revolution


Land Of Talk - Life After Youth


Ben Ottewell - A Man Apart
Sarah Jaffe - Bad Baby


Dan Auerbach - Waiting On A Song


Phoenix - Ti Amo
Rise Against - Wolves
Lindsey Buckingham & Christine McVie


Steve Earle - So You Wanna Be An Outlaw
Ours - Spectacular Sight


Jeff Tweedy - Together At Last
UNKLE - The Road Part 1


Broken Social Scene - Hug of Thunder


The Dears - Times Infinity: Volume Two


Manchester Orchestra - A Black Mile to the Surface

Paul Draper (Mansun) - Spooky Action


Grizzly Bear - Painted Ruins

Queens of the Stone Age - Villains
Filthy Friends - Invitation


Starsailor - All This Life

Tori Amos - Native Invader
Alex Cameron - Forced Witness
Victor Wooten - Trypnotyx
Ted Leo - The Hanged Man (Kickstarter)


Foo Fighters - Concrete and Gold
Emily Haines & the Soft Skeleton - Choir of the Mind


Circa Survive - The Amulet

Moses Sumney - Aromanticism
Phoebe Bridgers - Stranger In the Alps
Chelsea Wolfe - Hiss Spun

Wolf Alice - Visions of A Life

Craig Wedren - Adult Desire

Liam Gallagher - As You Were
Dhani Harrison - IN///PARALLEL

The Barr Brothers - Queen of the Breakers
St. Vincent - Masseducation
Matt Cameron - Cavedweller
stars - There Is No Love In Fluorescent ight
Billy Corgan - Ogilala
Robert Plant - Carry Fire

Kele Okereke - Fatherland
Brand New - Science Fiction

Julien Baker - Turn Out The Lights
Weezer - Pacific Daydream
Joe Henry - Thrum

Lalah Hathaway - Honestly

Quicksand - Interiors

Sharon Jones - Soul of a Woman
Charlotte Gainsbourg - Rest
Mavis Staples - If All I Was Was Black

Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds - Who Built The Moon
Bjork - Utopia

The Dear Hunter - All Is As All Should Be
Gord Downey - Introduce Yourself
U2 - Songs of Experience
Miguel - War & Leisure
Neil Young and the Promise of the Real - The Visitor

The New Trust - Upset the Tides

Lovedrug - Relive

Complete -Uncertain release date that I am aware of:

Will Johnson - Little Raider 2, two 7"s, The 901 LP
Kimbra - Primal Heart Jan 19th 2018
David Kitt - Yous

Ongoing Scheduled releases

Sleeping At Last - Astronomy

Definitely in Production:

Ty Tabor

Now Now
Raphael Saadiq
My Brightest Diamond

Rumored to be in Production

The Cure - 4:14 Scream

Friday, December 16, 2016

Poetic License or... In Other Words: #2

Once upon a time there was a song, a song featured in many live performances upon the release of an album by a band that had managed to ascend the charts and critical consciousness of the music industry in the early 2000s. Up to the moment of this song, their lyricism of their material wasn't put under much scrutiny, but in retrospect, "Yellow" is worthy of a little scorn.  That said, when the most prominent couplet in the song is the most offensive to poetic sensibilities, it's a lightning rod for further scrutiny. That being said, Coldplay's "Fix You", initially my favorite song on X & Y before it got incredibly overplayed and lost the power of sentiment it held, is up to bat.

The offending line goes:

"Lights will guide you home
and ignite your bones..."


I honestly have mulled over a number of improvements to this line. It's not at all difficult since it already employs a slant rhyme.  I opted to use a true rhyme and a phrase that fit the context and added significance and come up with:

Deepening the relationship between the light and the journey
"Lights will guide you home, fading as you roam"

Focusing on the journey specifically retaining the slant rhyme
"Lights will guide you home, when you're lose and alone"

but initially when I first heard the song back then I thought the easiest fix was changing one simple word:

Lights will guide you home, and ignite your soul

In reality, for my writing still the first line works better as the closing line, and opens up the flow of the lyric as a declaration of devotion.

"If you're lost and alone lights will guide you home "

or more poetically

"When your hope is is all but gone lights will guide you home... and I will try to fix you"

Friday, December 9, 2016

Poetic License or... In Other Words: A new series.

For a while now I've wanted to rework lines from songs that I enjoy that have left me a wishing they were put another way, so I figured, that's a good theme for my blog. So here goes:

The first line I want to tackle comes from Eisley's "Marvelous Things", in the second verse they sing, "I followed a rabbit, through mermaid entwined shrubbery." It's a mouthful, the meter and melody force the words to be sung faster than any others in the song, and the word play has been the subject of a little embarrassment from the band, as depicted in this fan shot video.

Now, I love this song, but I won't deny that I always take a breath (mentally and physically) before I sing that lyric. They have a couple of doosies like that.  Needless to say, that's part of the charm of the band, the whimsy they had early on.  But being a lyricist, I was always curious if I could find a way to augment the line to flow rhythmically and poetically. I thought of a few versions, but here's what I came up with:

"I followed a rabbit, through sirens entwined, arranged in lines..."

That said, enjoy the "Marvelous Things" as I first experienced it.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Advice for the Young at Heart

I remember when I was in my early 20s and I had befriended some teenage patrons of the record store I was working at when I was away at college. I kept up contact with them via email and written correspondence after I'd come home. One of the teens wrote me about the trials and tribulations of their romantic life and made mention of someone wanting to be "Friends with Benefits".  It was the first time I'd heard of the concept. I recoiled because to me it sounded like the kind of hustle you run on someone who is obviously into you, but you're not into them enough to commit to. My response was to say, "You can't have your cake and eat it too". That made no sense to the teen, and I don't think I had the wherewithal to use the phrase, "You can't have it both ways." though I might have invoked, "You can't serve two masters." without explaining that in such as case the masters would be the varying desires of the "Friends" when one wants companionship without commitment and the other consents because it's as close as they can get with the person offering, though they want more.

Now lets circle back in time to me in 5th or 6th grade watching the show Wiseguy with my Mom. A A scene took place in the 1st season where at a wedding reception a protagonist questioned another about his relationship status and why he wasn't hitched. Someone responded "Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free???" That quip drew laughter from the wiseguys so I thought it was a pretty clever saying, not recognizing the misogyny and disrespect inherent in it.

Later that year our family was down in Kentucky for a reunion and we all got to meet my great aunt's significant other. Someone asked that older gentleman she was seeing about his relationship status and guess who was primed to jump in with a Screenwriter's Guild certified zinger? The men in the room laughed, the women, not so much...  I was in trouble and I didn't really understand why.  I was raised to "not hit girls" but I was used to verbal and physical abuse as the vocabulary of socialization. It would take years to figure out how degrading the joke was in regards to the values of my elders, and how attitudes that invested in that sort of mentality, which renders a person's vulnerability a commodity to exploit, distorted and corrupted the relationships of people in my life.

So, flash forward to me reading this letter from a friend after years and years of seeing people used, abused, bemused, and confused in the pursuit of romance. The clarity of the ills of games of the heart were crystal clear. Friends with benefits threw up all sorts of red flags as a clever way to re-branding of compromising someone to get something you wanted without giving them proper consideration and compensation.

Whenever the subject of these sorts of relationships are broached, I made it a matter of principle to implore people not to settle for that hustle. Don't compromise your desire and nature to pursue something you don't really want, or devalue something you have to offer of worth by exchanging it for less. Don't let anyone call that a friendship. Friends don't use each other or welcome seeing their friends being used. The benefits that should come from a friend should include empathy and integrity. Anything exchanged absent both of those things isn't a product of Friendship. It's a con to fleece you.