Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Lyrics & their meaning Part 9- A Horse with no name


This continuing story of song lyrics and their meaning in some of the worlds best loved songs.

A Horse With No Name- America (1972)

This is one song that the writer admitted at the time of release that it was about nothing, but changed it to a different kind of nothing years later.
The band AMERICA is full of contradictions. The bands founding members; Lee “Dewey” Bunnell, Gerry Beckley and Dan Peek were all sons of U.S Air Force personnel, who by the time they met in England were seasoned world travellers.
Here was a band formed in England by American citizens who were ineligible for the draft during the Vietnam war even though the U.S military were paying their parents wages.
They were no doubt a talented crew, being picked up by Warners Record Label while still teenagers. And in 1971 recorded their first album, the self titled AMERICA.
The band were not named after their country of origin but of an old Americana juke box in a coffee shop the frequented.
The album was critically hailed but didn’t shift many units, their live performances keeping the public interested. This lack of record sales didn’t deter Warners though and the label continued to push the band getting support gigs with such diverse acts as Elton John, Pink Floyd and The Who. They were the first band featured on the classic television show case “ The Old Grey Whistle Test”.
Five months after the release of the album, in a display of faith not usually attributed to record companies, the band was sent back to the studio to record extra songs to find a single to spark interest in the album.
One of these songs was a track originally titled “ the Desert Song” . It was changed to “ A Horse With No Name” after the band was asked to change it because it was the same title as an old musical.
The song was included as an extra track on the re-released album and as the next single to an unsuspecting world and what would be a reward for the faith shown by the label.
“ A Horse with no name” went onto become one of the biggest songs of 1972, and with it the album sales followed. It reached No.1 in the U.K and U.S in both single and album charts.
The song was unfavourably compared to something in the Neil Young vein, whose song Heart of Gold incidentally was knocked from the top spot on the US charts by the song.
When challenged about the songs meaning Bunnell the songs writer admitted it was about nothing the classic words , tune , melody mix was just what people were attracted to.
© 2005 Shidot Prod.

Monday, 17 March 2008

Lyrics & their meaning Part 8 - Smells like teen spirit


Part 8 of a 19 part series If your lucky!

Smells Like Teen Spirit (1990) Nirvana
Nirvana’s impact on the youth of the early nineties is comparable to the Beatles of the mid sixties. Its just that kids in the 90’s didn’t express their emotions as extremely as their Mum’s & Dads (or should that be their Grandparents).
As analogies goes these two bands lend a strong argument that song lyrics contribute nothing in the grand scheme of things. In the end it boils down to the music wether it be energy or attitude and how the singers express themselves.
Do you really believe ‘She loves you yeah, yeah, yeah’ was responsible for the way the sixties were shaped. Just as “ A mulatto, an albino, a mosquito, my libido, yah” was instrumental in getting Generation X’s to dress up in baggy clothes and get all moody and mumble a lot.
Smells Like Teen Spirit propelled Nirvana to mega-star status in 1991 when it was the first single released from the Nevermind album. It was released at a pivotal moment that seemed right for the youth of the time and joined the ‘Circle of Life’.
The periodical renewal that seems to breathe new life into popular music that bought us Rock ‘N’ Roll itself, as well as the British invasion, Punk as well as Disco, Heavy Rock and the New Romantics.
Songwriter Kurt Cobain never wanted to change the world and definitely didn’t want to be a spokesperson for his generation.
But much to his dismay that did become the case and the pressure of this attention drove him to suicide. And in a strange twist to these events, the fans rather than start wondering if he was really dead started pointing the finger on who really did it.
Smells like Teen Spirit (named after a deodorant marketed at a youth audience) despite its anthemic title means nothing, Cobain’ s lyrics were typically random and using his unique voice he would make throwaway lines come alive by growling one minute and whispering the next. Late in 1992 Cobain has been put on record as saying:
‘At the time I wrote those songs, I really didn’t know what I was trying to say.
There’s no point in my even trying to analyse or explain it’
Jonathan Poneman Co-Owner of Sub-Pop the bands old record label added:
‘Nirvana are incredibly misinterpreted. Nobody is listening to what the band has to say. The songs subject matter and lyrics are meaningless. What’s meaningful is that they’re connecting with people, and saying, you make the decision what are we going to do now?’
Probably the most heartening thing to take from all this is the fact that the fans have all seemed to take heed of this advice and unlike their 60’s & 70’s counterparts don’t look for things that don’t exist.
In a case of actions speak louder than words, the ‘Seattle Sound’ or ‘Grunge’ as the music that Nirvana spearheaded was known, influenced much of the nineties.
In fashions; the dressing down from the ‘Greed is Good’ eighties. In music the re-emergence of guitar based rock. But it also had its down side with spectre of heroin making a big comeback. Coburn himself a victim of that scourge.
Coburn said his lyrics were meaningless, it’s sad he followed a life style which followed the same philosophy.

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

War of the Worlds EComic



This is a fantastic piece of work based on the original novel by H.G Wells and well worth the time to take a peek.