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Old 12-27-2013, 12:01 PM   #1 (permalink)
watching the wheels
 
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Default The Unquiet Grave

Once upon a long ago a child was born. He was named Jesus and then he found a company called McDonalds. You know, the usual story. However one day he decided to become a Music Banter member because his father accidentally exploded his head and Jesus did not want to clean that awful bloody mess.

Even ancient dinosaurs knew the meaning of the lost chords. I sadly don't, but I will. Anyway the reason I'm writing this is because I'm a loser and I have no life on my own. So I got to do something to waste my time and so I'll become Jesus (or Stilton Drunkenness).

I have heard rumors that some people say that Bob Dylan ain't a good singer. So I have been wondering and wandering around my mind gardens to find the answer. How can one tell who is good singer and who is not?

EDITOR'S NOTE: I KNOW. Sincerely yours, Allah.

So who decides that? I have been thinking about it a lot (five minutes, exactly), and I have come up with a theory. It is illuminati.

There are many kind of singers out there:

1) Technically good, able to express emotions, good sounding

That class includes singers like Paul McCartney. Nobody can deny they can not sing or anything. Usually everyone admits their singing talents.

2) Technically bad, able to express emotions, good sounding
That class includes for example, Willie Nelson. He sounds good even if he's out of time. Usually nobody complaints, usually they get compliments because their unique style.

3) Technically bad, able to express emotions, bad sounding

Ok, what sounds bad and what not is usually a matter of opinions. But some people consider Bob Dylan as one of those. I don't agree but still. Emotions are the most important thing in music which is why I always prefer Bob over

4) Technically good, unable to express emotions, good sounding.

Like Freddy Mercury. With all respect, he never sang any sincere sentence. Just awful pretentiousness and coldness. I respect their music but I never get any emotional effect from it. It just sounds so cold.

So there's more to the picture than meets the eye. You can be technically good but that is not enough. The lack of true emotions can not he saved by your singing skills but the lack of skills can be saved with sincerity.

So what I'm trying to say? I don't know but let's pretend I do.
This is an allegory. A biblical allegory. It seems like many people are good when you look at them for the first time, but soon you'll notice they're as empty as hell. I mean, usually nowadays everything sounds pleasant but not much more.

That means it is a faud. Too good production can make an empty picture look like Da Vinci. A musician who is virtuoso can make a song that is no song look like a song. But it is still not a real song, mind you.
So I always get annoyed when people talk about musicianship and how technical perfection matters a much. But it is songwriting that matters the much.

So in this world of ours we have too many guitar heroes and people like that, but not too many great songwriters. You can take a dookie and make it look a like a cutlet but still it tastes like a dookie. And smells like one.

Last edited by Taxman; 12-27-2013 at 12:48 PM.
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Old 12-27-2013, 12:18 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Good to see you decided to start a journal, looking forward to it!
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Old 12-27-2013, 12:29 PM   #3 (permalink)
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My biggest problem is that I can't write seriously even if I try. Too much Mark Prindle, too much John Lennon, too much Bob Dylan,too less serious poetry or literary like Shakespeare or our beloved Moody Blues and their over pretentious drummer.
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Old 12-27-2013, 01:27 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Let's get it straight. Some people say that The Beatles sucked before the year 1965 or 66 because some people are snobs. Every snob has to have moustache, and he has to like snob music. Snob like his tea with lemon and his coffee with cream. Snob loves to be snob.
However, being a snob ain't a crime.

But for me, the Beatles were at least as good when they were "just" a pop band. I can't help it, but nothing strikes me more than carefully crafted catchy pop song.
That was some kind of introduction. But the reason why I wrote it is because now I'm gonna talk about early Beatles.

Live At BBC vol 2 was released recently so I bought it. (Of course it is a cash-in and do not include anything new but I could not help but buy it anyway.) One thing that Vol 2 and it's predecessor Vol 1 prove is, contrary the rumors, the Beatles were not a ****ty live band. How could they had been? They were the ones who ruled the whole Hamburg with their stage show. So while I'm ready to admit they were not instrumentally extraordinary talented, they sure knew how to play.
However, this is not the point. The point is that these releases give us many clues about their roots. Their love for early rock n roll has been well documented.

Many of those straight fast rock n roll numbers, many of them by Chuck Berry, were sung by John. He really shows the power of his voice. Say, who could sing them better? Usually their versions are nearly equal to originals, though their version of Johnny Be Good is somehow a bit of pale when you compare it to the original by Chuck. But well, I have not hear even a single cover that would be better than Chuck's original Johhny Be Goode.

Then there's sappy stuff. Paul sings many of these and they are usually quite allright, although The Honeymoon Song is too, well, too sappy and honeymoonish even for me. (And I usually tolerate sappy stuff pretty well. However, Paul's greatest achievements are those times when he does his Little Richard impersonation and nearly surpasses the inventor. I mean, listen how he sings Long Tall Sally, and listen how the band groove. And after that, are you still capable to say that they did not know how to rock? They nearly put the early Stones to the shame. (I'm overstating now, but still.)

The biggest surprise is that George sings nearly as many songs as John and Paul did. Also it shows George's obsession with rockabilly and especially Carl Perkins. And he sings quite well, too. Unlike on the early studio records, his vocals works pretty well on Live at BBC. Also his guitar playing is good. He draws very much influence from Carl Perkins and Eddie Cochran and other rockabilly pioneers. But well, listen to his solo, for example, on I Saw Her Standing There and then listen to some classic Perkins and you can hear it clearly.

That leaves us with Ringo. Didn't he have such a friendly tone? Sadly his vocals are quite off key sometimes, maybe it was too hard to bang the drums and sing at the same time. Drummers are not supposed to sing, ya know.

Anyway these two records shows too how they played pretty obscure numbers. Also it shows, especially those Motown numbers, that they sang harmonies correctly even when they played live.

Also, I'll Be On My Way reminds us how profilic songwriters they were. It is as catchy as hell and pretty much equal to their other early hits. But they threw it away. They gave so many great songs to other artists. Bad To Me, I'll Be On My Way, I'm In Love and so on, it is an endless list. For example, Bad To Me. A perfect pop number, catchy as hell, great melody and all. Some songwriters like Noel Gallagher could kill for this kind of stuff.
John hated it, of course, but he hated every song he ever wrote.

I tried to be more serious now and left those stupid offtopic jokes out. Hope it helps. I have not decide yet should I try be myself or should I try to be serious. The best option would be to make some kind of mix between those styles but I have not learned how to do it yet.
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Old 12-27-2013, 05:17 PM   #5 (permalink)
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First, welcome to the journals section! Looking forward to seeing what you can do.

Second, Freddie Mercury not emotional? Come on! Have you heard "Who wants to live forever" or "The show must go on"? The guy had emotion to spare.

Third, where would you place Springsteen in your rankings?

Good start though!
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Old 12-28-2013, 02:48 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trollheart View Post
First, welcome to the journals section! Looking forward to seeing what you can do.

Second, Freddie Mercury not emotional? Come on! Have you heard "Who wants to live forever" or "The show must go on"? The guy had emotion to spare.

Third, where would you place Springsteen in your rankings?

Good start though!
Freddie was too much showman to show how he truly felt. Just like the whole band. I like their music, they were talented players and Freddie surely had a great voice. They were diverse, occasionally even original.

But, first their lyrics were kinda awful. Pretentious stories about pretentious things, and their music did not help that. You know, they mixed opera with rock and it is a good allegory. Opera is a show. And it includes actors.
Same goes for Queen. It was merely an act. Just like, Mick Jagger.

Just read those lyrics. Let's take Bohemian Rhapsody as an example. It would work as an allegory of Freddy's homosexualism and all, and be sincere statement, cos it starts like one. If a song starts as a sincere-sounding piano ballad, you should not spoil it with a nonsensical operatic bridge. I mean, musically that bridge is great and makes that song for me, but it spoils the whole emotional side of that song.
Same goes for nearly everyone of their songs. Too overblown and pretentious, both lyrically and musically.
It could be possible that for example, Who Wants To Live Forever was a sincere song when it was written, but when it was brought to the studio and recorded, it became too overblown to cause any kind of emotional reaction.

In spite of all those complaints, I really like Queen. They were a great, diverse and pretty original band. I just get annoyed when they are claimed to some kind of gods. But while I like to listen to their music and I get a lot of inspiration and satisfaction from it, I won't get any emotional refund from it.

Although, to be fair, I believe The Show Must Go On and Those Were The Days Of Our Lifes are sincere emotional statements. But nobody would notice it if he was still alive cos again. The Show Must Go On. Definitely so. Show indeed.
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Old 12-28-2013, 03:16 AM   #7 (permalink)
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When it comes to Bruce, well, this is gonna be hard to explain.

He surely have a great voice. Good sound, mighty roar and all. He surely knows how to reach people's hearts (hell, that is what he is all about).
He surely have a knack to write a catchy melody every now and then. His band surely is great and professional and I like saxophones.
He surely knows how to rock and most of all, he surely is one of the greatest live acts nowadays.

But, in spite of all those compliments, I don't like him.
And now one may ask why and I'm gonna try to explain.

First, it seems like Bruce is a way too American. He writes lyrics that tell stories. Stories of working class heroes, tales of ordinary men. Sagas of American people with American dream. And that annoys me. This is my personal problem, I know. But personally I don't wanna hear stories like that when I listen to rock music.
Now someone is gonna point out that it is not what you say, it is how you say it. And that's the biggest problem.

Bob Dylan used to also write about ordinary things. But he wasn't so straightforward. You know, when I listen to the words of Dylan's song, it took some time to get into, but once I get it, the refund is pretty big.
On the other hand, Bruce wants that everybody knows what he's talking about. He makes a statement and it is right there on your face. You get all you can get from it when you listen to it once. A bit cheap trick, ain't it?

Basically Mr Tambourine Man and Born To Run have the same message. We were born to run. Where Dylan uses allegories and give us hope, Bruce just makes one realistic stupid statement that tells nothing new. Of course we were born to run, you don't have to mention it.

Okay, what if we do not care about lyrics and think about his music?
But the problem is, Bruce wants that his lyrics are understood, he wants them to be well-known, he makes them sound important. That is Because the way he performs them.

Many people have a delusion that Born In The USA is a patriotic anthem that celebrates USA. Of course it is not. Say what you say, Bruce is clever enough to not to do song like that. Actually those words criticize America and Vietnam War, but no one notices it without thinking about it. Why? Because it is an arena rocker, that is why. It includes overblown eighties production, a refrain that was designed for arena concerts. Bruce perform it with a high energy, he wants people to shout along "I was born in the USA".
So even when his lyrics are unpretentious, he spoils them with pretentious and overblown music. He wants to be loved, he wants to affect people and so he uses many cheap tricks and that is why I don't like him.

He is a heartland rocker. No irony, no humor, no sarcasm, oh no, no. That is not merely a bad thing, but it is not my personal cup of tea.

But the world needs someone like him, so if he was not born, someone should invent him. Bruce loves his fans and his fans love Bruce, so who am I to complain? Everyone is free to like, even love, him, I won't accuse anyone for that.
But hopefully I made clear why Bruce is not my personal favorite.
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Old 12-28-2013, 05:33 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Have you ever though how important diversity is when it comes to music? It seems like nowadays many bands take something from their idols and then just copy it. And that's all. For example, Led Zeppelin, while they were hard rock/blues band, were also heavily influenced by British Folk among the other things. But when someone says that Zeppelin is his idol, he usually takes only that hard rock thing from them.
And Stones. The myth of Stones Formula is a lie. There's more to the picture than meets the eye. They played country, pop, even reggae, disco and early rock n roll, blues and also of course riff-based rock.
And Beatles, can anybody even define their sound? It changed between every album. And if a band is able to make one record that includes piano pop, psychedelic music, Motown- pastiche, baroque pop, a song for children, an Indian tune, and then straight guitar rock, ain't that pretty diverse? Nearly everyone of those songs on Revolver sound different

But nowadays every have to have their own sound. People think that band have not found their style yet if they have more than one sound. People want to categorize them "You are punk rock band, if you record a ballad, you are a sell-out" or "What they think they are? They are just a pop band. They're completely inadequate to do anything like that" and so on.
But that is a shame. A big shame.

You see, most of the great bands were so diverse because every member had different musical background. But nowadays, if five GNR fans decided to found a band, they'd probably end up to sounds just like Guns and Roses- of course, that's what they want.
If you have even a slightly different music taste, it is hard to join a band with people who have different taste. This is just completely stupendous. How can you ever create anything new then??

So this is why, even if I don't like something new and exciting experience someone has come up with, I always respect even an unsuccessful experiment more than someone who does five same-sounding albums in a row. yep, I'm thinking about you, Noel Gallagher.
So everytime a band is called a sell-out or something because they have changed, I get pretty annoyed.

I don't mean that taking influences from others is wrong, no, no. Just he sure you are influenced by more than just one band. It is all right to love The Ramones (everyone should do so) but it is not allright to sound just like them.
No one can say that Ramones were not exactly diverse band. But they invented a new perfect sound. Now if they had just copied their sounds completely they would not be so good (I'd still like them because I love melodies, but I wouldn't respect them then.)

What I'm trying to say? don't know. I'm just sitting on a bus and getting bored. But maybe my point was that try to be original and it is not that you should actually invent anything. Usually it is enough just to make a new mix, ya know.
That is what I'm trying to do. When I write my little songs, I always try to tackle a new style. Just because I'm you don't do that, soon you have a formula that you cannot **** with. So everyone should **** with formula ( to misquote Mike Love)

Also I'd like to tell what I've been listening lately.
I have made an acquaintance with classic prog that I used to dislike but I'm not doing it anymore. Also I have fell in love with folk music, especially British/irish folk. A little history-nerd inside of me makes me wanna listen to those folk melodies...
Also I rediscovered my longtime love, fifties rock n roll and rockabilly. I know that my tastes may sound odd, but I can not help it.
Still one of the biggest genres I'm not familiar with is metal. Someday I should make an acquaintance with it, too. Just if it includes melodies. I'm a big sucker for melodies.

Last edited by Taxman; 12-28-2013 at 08:05 AM.
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Old 12-28-2013, 08:57 AM   #9 (permalink)
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OK well if you don't get an emotional reaction after hearing "Who wants to live forever" and you want to paint Queen as nothing more than an act, I can't help you. There are some excellent songs with great emotion in them, though I'm not the biggest Queen fan. And humour? "I want to break free"? "Radio Gaga"? Even "We are the champions" has a sense of laughing at the pomposity of such a statement about it. But we'll agree to disagree I guess.

As for Bruce, well I'm not sure how you can accuse him of being too American: that's where he's from after all. What would you prefer? He sang about Africa or Poland or Sweden? Or Finland? Come on: the guy has spent his career learning and perfecting his art. Seems to me you're just looking for things to not like artistes for, which seems a very close-minded way of going on. Not getting at you, but you do not seem to be open to different styles at all. If someone doesn't sing how you want them to, or about what you want them to, you don't rate them? Weird.

Well, good luck with the journal and as the Overseer/Caretaker of this place I'll continue to read your entries so I can include them in the update thread, but your entrenched attitude makes me reluctant to continue debating with you, as you seem to have your mind firmly set and nothing I say will change it, or make you see another way.
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Old 12-28-2013, 09:39 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Oh no, I just can't get Bruce. I have tried, though. But I know this is one of my problems that I made my statements sound like they were facts and all.
You know, after all, like I said, If I don't like something it is my problem. But maybe Bruce is easier get if you live in America, or something. I admit he has an extraordinary talent and he is good at affecting people and their feelings. It it just that arena-rock attitude that spoils it from me.

But well, maybe we disagree so badly that we cannot discuss Bruce. But it is always hard for me to explain why I like something or why I don't.

Last edited by Taxman; 12-28-2013 at 09:44 AM.
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