I'm pretty open to most music, as long as it's made with passion and heart and isn't just a tick the boxes formulaic hit the notes sort of the thing. I don't know what my favourite sort of music is. I can listen to good quality country, pop, indie, jazz, blues, folk, rock. I probably don't 'get' dance music or techno music or music that abuses you, or most rap music, but sometimes something crosses over. So what does make good music for me?
Well, I love to dance to music, but I also love to sing along, and I think that one of the most important thing in a good song are strong, lyrics: witty, intelligent, simple, to the point, flowery... I like any of these types as long as they hit the spot.
For me, lyrics don't have to make sense, or tell a story, but they should seem like they do. I'm a huge fan of Sparklehorse and I often have no idea what his songs are about (You are a car, you are a hospital, play good keyboard with horse's teeth, on Saturday...), but they touch something in me and I find them inherently beautiful (Keep all the crows away, keep skinny wolves at bay, with big piles of smiles, may all your days be gold my child). One of my all time favourite Sparklehorse songs is Most Beautiful Widow in Town.
The words are simple but they create such an atmosphere of longing and sadness and even a slight twist of humour. I think it's absolutely beautiful. Anyone who can listen to that song and not be touched by it at all must be made of stone or have ears clogged with sawdust, the lyrics run:
'We were both standing in your mothers living room
Sweating up a storm in that terrible month of June
And the sweat rolled down your cheek and into your mouth
I knew it must have been a dream
'Cause your mother would never let me in her house.
You are the most beautiful widow.
You are the most beautiful widow.
I bet you are the most beautiful widow in town,'
And that's just the opening verse and chorus.
I also love Sparklehorse's style. His album artworks, his sense of experimentation with his lyrics, his obvious love of language. His music is probably an acquired taste. He plays with his instruments and arrangements, his songs are a mix of electronica, acoustic, rock, folk and pop. He is slightly indefinable, and I like that. I like that he makes you work a little. Have a listen to him - even if you think it's awful, I think you'll agree it's done with love and sensitivity and originality. Sadly, Mark Lincus, the guy behind Sparklehorse, died earlier this year. He shot himself through the heart. I think the music world is a slightly less sparkly place without him. You only have to hear his album titles to get a sense of his uniqueness, they are like poetry in themselves:
Good Morning Spider,
It's a Wonderful Life,
Dreamt for Light Years in the Belly of a Mountain,
Dark Night of the Soul,
In the Fishtank.
Dreamt for Light Years... is probably the most easily accessible album, and a good place to start if you want to get to know him. You can also visit his website: http://www.sparklehorse.com.
I could talk for ages about lyrics and my favourite song writers (Van Morrison, Devendra Banheart, Adem, Blondie... the list would go on and on). But I'm going to end with a small nod at The Smiths who I have only really started appreciating this year. I find their song lyrics so refreshingly simple and direct compared to many other songs. They are blunt and unusual and wonderful. Here's a selection of my favourite. I've deliberately not said which songs they are from, or copied them exactly word for word, but if you'd like to know, then I'll be happy to tell you. I think they stand alone rather well though:
'Punctured bicycle on a hill top, desolate...'
'I was looking for a job and then I found a job, and heaven knows I'm miserable now...'
'How can someone so young, write words so sad?'
'Girlfriend in a coma, I know, I know, it's serious...'
'Shyness can stop you from doing all the things in life you'd like to... so ask me ask me ask me, I won't say no, how could I?'
'And if it's not love than it's the bomb, the bomb, the bomb, the bomb that will bring us together.'
What I'd really like to do, if I was slightly less lazy and slightly more talented, is create art journal pages for all these. Maybe I will one day.
Are there any song lyrics that stand out for you? Is there anybody out there who feels compelled or inspired to create some art pages from these lyrics or any others? I'd love to know.
Until then, add some music to your day and see what it inspires you to do...