Friday, 16 January 2009


Sorry 'bout the shakes at the beginning.

Listening to this song makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. The lyric 'have I found you, flightless bird?' has lodged itself under my skin and keeps on repeating. Why? I know why, and it's the beauty of interpretation. I've taken from that lyric what I needed to, and gave my own inner monologue an outward voice. Over the past eight years, I've always written down lyrics or passages or quotes that refused to let me go, for whatever reason. I've got books, and books of them cluttering up the drawer space in my little room.
This will be the first enty of 2009.

Two things.

I'm setting the whole contents of my Ipod on shuffle as I write this a.) because I'm going to be here for a while, and b.) because it's exactly what I'm trying to say.

Two things have got me here, one is X-Factor and the other is this

Alexandra Burke's version of Hallelujah was Number One at Christmas, Jeff Buckley was Number Two. Now, this can be looked at two ways - it could be that people simply wanted the definitive edition of the song as introduced by Burke, which my less cynic-fuelled side can see in perhaps 0.2% of cases. The truth is that the music consuming public (forgive me for the generalisation) showed all it's colours. Distinct. Not blurred.
I don't want to use the word 'revolution' because it's far too premature and throwaway, besides
I'm reluctant to believe there will be a revolution that bursts at its seams - I think what we're experiencing now is the product of years of undercurrents but something that will continue without any loss of pace, tenacity or importance for the rest of my music consuming life. My business degree was not completely wasted on me, as I recognise the various types of music consumer and the needs inherent to each. I quite enjoy being able to at least read the other side of it whilst sitting firmly in my chair on my side of the divide. Balance, understanding, all that good shit.
Music is consumed. Consumption and its methods and mediums adapt over time. Music adapts.
You don't argue with people about how they listen to music, in all its forms. We can fight till our teeth itch about dwindling physical sales, about the liner notes, about how it used to be. I'm not advocating that people don't fight against it, I'm just not sure how much resistance is there to meet the fight. Record companies want to make money by whichever means possible. That's a fact, money drives it and turns it around and makes it stick. No fighting there.
But... and here's where the two don't meet.... the industry is only as good as the music coming out of it. Perhaps what we're seeing now is the result of a decade (if not more) of poor development, greed, more poor development and yeah, more greed? And sadly, a numbness of consumer.

Wiki says:
In the music industry, a record label can be a brand and a trademark associated with the marketing of music recordings and music videos. Most commonly, a record label is the company that manages such brands and trademarks, coordinates the production, manufacture, distribution, marketing and promotion, and enforcement of copyright protection of sound recordings and music videos; conducts A&R; and maintains contracts with recording artists and their managers.

Lots of elements there, huh? I'm not differentiating between majors, independents, sub-labels or any other 'type' of label the industry creates. The loosest definition in my eyes would be that a record company should be a distributor, a supporter, a management matrix. It's exploitative by it's very nature, but what seems to have happened is that the divide has become so wide that it takes an almighty run-up to get you safely to the other side. The run-up involves money, or a favour, or a famous daddy, or luck and occasionally talent.

My rub with record companies lies in the lack of artist development, and subtle ignorance of the men with the money. There are so many artists who should have their music made available and that's exactly what's been happening. That is the ongoing nature of the revolution. People are consuming music that they find, not the music that's been made for them. The Internet is picking up the pieces the record labels are missing, they're holding up the distribution arm of the deal. Music is being made that people want to listen to, and not be pummelled by. Artists have stopped trying to get a record deal, they've stop manipulating their decisions to reflect the expectations of others. They're making music for themselves and just keeping their fingers crossed instead.

And that's what makes it so fucking brilliant.

This will always win.

Saturday, 3 January 2009


There are an awful lot of artists, both dead and alive, who I would have loved to see in smoky old venues. This song just rips my heart out. Otis Redding is my favourite soul singer, hands-down-absolutely-no-contest.

And this, is my favourite song of all time.

Cigarettes & Coffee

It's early in the morning, about a quarter till three
I'm sitting here talking with my baby, over cigarettes and coffee.
And to tell you that, darling, I've been so satisfied
Honey, since I met you, baby since I met you.
All the places that I've been around, and all the good looking girls I've met
They just don't seem to fit in, knowing this particularly sad, yeah.
But it seemed so natural, darling, that you and I are here
Just talking over cigarettes and drinking coffee.
And oh, my heart cries out, love at last I've found you,
And honey won't you let me, just build my whole life around
And while I complete, I complete my whole life would be, yeah
If you would take things under consideration, And walk down this aisle with me
And I would love it, yeah
People I say it's so early in the morning, it's a quarter till three
We're sitting here talking, over cigarettes and drinking coffee, now.
And I'll like to show you, well, I've known nothing but good old joy
Since I met you, darling, honey, since I've met you, baby.
I would love to have another drink of coffee, now
And please, darling, help me smoke this one more cigarette, now
I don't want no cream and sugar, cause I've got you, now darling
But just let me enjoy, help me to enjoy this good time that we'll have,
Baby it's so early, so early in the morning
So early, so early in the morning
And I've got you, and you've got me
And we'll have each other
And we don't, we don't want nothing but joy, y'all
Nothing but joy...

There's some debate over the lyrics, but I think sometimes you just hear what you want to hear.
I've kept one of them in, 'knowing this particular sad', and altered 'walk down this aisle (hour?)' to what I think he's singing.
Every time this song comes on, I know exactly where I'm supposed to be. I'm right there.