Friday, July 29, 2011

"Sing into my mouth"

There's a lyric I love from the talking heads song 'This Must Be the Place':

"Sing into my mouth"

It's a funny line and a bit of a gross idea if you take it literally, someone else singing directly into your mouth.

My thoughts on it were that he's imaging the singing coming to him rather than from him, as if his own words are feeding him, his own creativity sustaining him.

With that and lots of other things in mind here are some lyrics I'm working on at the moment. No recording of them yet because they don't have a melody yet:

Waiting for it all to fall into place
For when the words fall into my mouth
For ripeness to reach it's peak
The stem will break
But not before
The falling fruit
It's sweetness take
From branch to fruit
From fruit to me
From me to you

Monday, July 25, 2011

Oh Lord Please Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood

I'm reading a biography of Nina Simone (a brilliant page turner of a book and a brilliant page turner of a life). The highs and lows of Nina Simone's life are enthralling. One second she's got a hit in the charts but she's broke working as a maid, the next she's a rich socialite in Liberia with more suitors than she can keep track of, the next she's an old crank living in France sneaking into her neighbors swimming pools to go skinny dipping and getting her gun out to shoot at their kids when they make too much noise. It's hard to keep track, but David Brun-Lambert (the biographer) does it well. He set himself a hard task of trying to decipher fact from rumor and at the same time he gives great snapshots of the civil rights movement in America. But I don't want to talk about her life, I want to talk about her music.

The first album I ever bought was a Nina Simone compilation entitled 'The After Hours' (the first single I ever bought was Dustin the Turkey' *facepalm*). It's a very odd collection of tracks. A mix of studio recordings of full band arrangements with strings, and live recordings, some completely unaccompanied A cappella. Now that I'm reading her biography I'm realising it's probably a pirate album. The bad quality live recording probably done without her consent. Of course I'm not for piracy and I'd be much happier knowing she earned what she was due from these recording, but I'm still glad they exist.

I bought this album (when I was ten or eleven) because at home we had a Nina Simone CD of her hits that we listened to a lot. My Baby Just Cares For Me, Love me or Leave Me, See Line Woman...but when I got this CD home I was pretty shocked.

Instead of:

I got:

I was hooked. Nina (I feel we should be on first name terms, I have no justification other than ego) can deliver a lyric. In the live recordings you can feel the tension in the crowd. She can draw out a word for miles, waiting till the very last second to resolve, like when she sings 'Don't............look for me'. She has this raw intensity in her voice that she can use to absolutely hypnotise a crowd.

But somehow I get the feeling that now days she's probably better known for Coke and diet yohgurt adds. I get the feeling she's known for happy go lucky pop, gospel anthems when, in my completely personal and subjective opinion, this is not the area she shines in at all. Her pop gospel tunes might be great but they are nowhere near the genius of tunes like 'Four Women' or 'Images of a wayward soul'.

Misunderstood? Probably.

Friday, July 1, 2011

I'm working on a few new tunes at the moment so I thought I'd post up some of the works in progress as I go along. Bits and pieces: a nose here, an arm there that will eventually become songs with their own identities and personalities. They'll grow up and ignore me someday, but for now they're all mine, live under my roof and obey my rules....right that's the end of comparing songs to children, or pets, or golems.

One of the fragments of a song that I'm working on at the moment is called 'Hand Holding' (or at least it is for now).

So here's a rough, home recorded sketch of some of the lyrics:

Hand holding, remolding our fingerprints, histories.
Find me here.

Hips joining, unfolding the romance of alchemy.
Find me here.

Often when I'm working on lyrics I'll read up about a certain subject a bit and even though everything I read about doesn't necessarily end up in the song (not directly anyway) I think it still influence it. So here are some interesting things I've read lately that I've got filed in my brain under 'Hand Holding':

From the Wikipedia entry on Polycephaly:

"A live two headed turtle named Janus can be seen at the Natural History Museum in Geneva Switzerland"

There is some speculation that the inbreeding of snakes in captivity increases the chances of a two-headed birth...snake heads may attack and even attempt to swallow each other"

With humans, dicephalic conjoined twins as Abigail and Brittany Hensel are considered "twins", i.e., two individuals....On the other hand, Syafitri, born 2006 in Indonesia, were given one name by their parents because they only had one heart."

And of course I can't do anything these days without tying it in with my current obsession (Frida Kahlo's self portraits) so I file this under Hand Holding too:

Self Portrait as a Tehuana
(Diego on My Mind)