July 25, 2011

And Now For Something Completely Different: The "30 Songs" Series

UPDATE: Catch up with the whole sorry saga, now halfway through, using these links:

01 - Fatal Flaws: In The Beginning Was The Riff 7.29.11
02 - Mercy Rule: Chugging Candy-Coated Castor Oil 8.7.11
03 - Dilemma by Design: Disjointed Down-Tuned Decision-Making 8.14.11
04 - The Shivering Sand: Neo-Victorian Surf-Noir Love Letters 8.21.11
05 - Pisces Lullabye: How to Use and Misuse Your Empathetic Impulses 8.28.11
06 - Blacking Out: Bad Trips, Freaky Times, and No Catchy Chorus 9.4.11
07 - Hold Still: Too Much "Sabine Women," Not Enough "Guernica" 9.10.11
08 - Winner Take All: Desperate Driven Delusional Dreamer Ditty 9.18.11
09 - Water Into Wine: Jesus Complexes, Disney Films, and Other Gateway Drugs 9.26.11
10 - One Last Hallelujah: Blood of Ice, Brain of Mud, Liver of Steel 9.30.11
11 - The Peak of My Career: Sloppy Ironic Titles Won't Save You 10.9.11
12 - Sweet Oblivion: Enhanced by Extended Epic Endings 10.14.11
13 - Famous Last Words: Gimme Two Chords, and Get Two Melodies 10.23.11
14 - Island Fever: Epic Minimalism and Other Contradictions 10.30.11
15 - The Lightning Rod: From Alpha to Omega with a Boss DD3 11.5.11
16 - Kid Icarus: How to Cripple a Perfectly Good Tune, Part 1 11.11.11
17 - Wound Down: How to Cripple a Perfectly Good Tune, Part 2 11.20.11
18 - Sunset Down: Egyptian Rivers and Other Psychoses 11.27.11
19 - How Far Away: Cassandra Plath and the Bubble Man of Revenge 12.2.11
20 - You're On Your Own: Starring the Militant Dictator of Zullitown, USA 12.9.11
21 - Heart on a Platter: Life Ain't Worth Living Unless it's Got That Pop 12.18.11
22 - FM Blues: People Can Be Weird About Their First Band 12.25.11
23 - Can't Keep Warm: What Foulness Lurks Beneath Storke Tower? 1.1.12
24 - Wishing Well Blues: Same Thing We Do Every Night, Pinky 1.8.12
25 - Unprofessional: All the Gatekeepers Can Go Straight to Hell 1.13.12
26 - Blunt Instruments: Thow Back a Twelve Pack and Write It All Down, Jack 1.20.12
27 - Tempting Fate: Just Enough Awesome to Power Two Bands 1.27.12
28 - Historical Friction: Writing is the Most Hateful Kind of Work 2.3.12
29 - Stranded (Keep it Surreal): Broken Things from a Broken Past 2.11.12
30 - The Bronze Age: Back to the Beginning at the End of the Line 1.20.13

Read the whole series in reverse-chrono order here, and read on for the original threatening post that started it all:

So…I've threatened to re-purpose this blog for at least 6 months, away from the gonzo-political stuff and random fanboy-isms (neither of which had been very good either) to something more creative and/or personal. It's long past high time for something new here, and blathering on and on about my song lyrics seemed a good way to do that. Of course, Elvis Costello once said that "writing about music is like dancing about architecture," so this will be sort of like that, except I'm an awful dancer and I don't know how to use AutoCAD.

Anyway, t's not an original idea—I'm stealing it from one of my songwriting heroes, David Lowery of Cracker and Camper van Beethoven, who had this to say when beginning his own 300 Songs blog last year:

Over the course of my career as a singer-songwriter-musician-producer I estimate i’ve written, recorded and produced 300+ songs. I often get asked questions about different songs. I sometimes enjoy answering them but most of the time I don’t do a very good job of it. i’m really pretty anti-social. I can’t really help it. I think I was just born this way. So I came up with this idea to randomly select a hundred or so songs and write a few comments about each of the songs, like: with whom I recorded, what the song is about, or simply something funny or interesting that happened in the session. Nothing too in depth. Sometimes i’ll also provide the lyrics and basic guitar chords for the fans who like that sort of thing.
I want to do something like that here—i.e. someone else's idea executed less well and a fraction of quantity and quality; for my 15+ years of Amateur Rock Obscurity in the Mojo Wire, Honey White, Low Tide, and Radblaster, the number is much closer to a mere 30 songs than 300—which is nice, because that makes it manageable and finite. Also, since I wrote mostly lyrics and not as much music, I'll talk about the song as a whole more than as a musical composition. Or maybe I'll just go off on random tangents that you'll have to grin and bear, because you like reading this crap, right? Surely.

Further, I liked the non-chronological approach Lowery took with his stuff, so I'm doing that too, but instead of some intricate mathematical formula, I'll just write about whatever song I feel like writing about. The randomly-shuffleized series will begin next weekend. Mp3 links and lyrics will be handily provided, but I'm not bothering with tablature or chords because, well, I'm a bass player, and we're dumb like that. So there. Stay tuned...

1 comment:

  1. Well, if you need help in the guitar chord area I'm happy to oblige. (Though I can't really read tab myself, much less create one; my fingerpicking patterns on songs like "Island Fever" are things I'll never be able to accurately describe in writing, I think.)

    Great idea, Keir. I've been looking forward to seeing this stuff written out.


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