Saturday, April 11, 2009

Raise the Alarm

I rarely get around to listening to the radio these days.  However I've recently succumbed to the aural airwaves because the CD player in my car tends to chew out more CDs than it accepts. I enjoy listening to CDs in the car because that's usually the space where I can unobtrusively practice my singing, which I imagine, sounds invariably like a dog barking, or a coyote howling. So with my CD player playing up on me I tune into the radio where I hear what are likely to be new releases, but I'm so out of the loop now I wouldn't know which songs are new or which of those are five or so years old.

What annoys me so much is that the songs I hear are hideously stupid. I can't believe that most of the tripe you hear passes off as "music", the lyrics are dumb and so is everything else. Perhaps I set too-high standards, or expect high standards from that which I listen to. The song that is really
riling me at the moment is this thing called 'Raise the alarm'. It's rock, basic rock, and the simplistic lyrics are screamed out by this mutton-head band (I've no idea who they are) whereby the lyrical premise appears to be about the planet dying and thus..."raise the alarm".

What annoys me so much about "raise the alarm !" is that I have a song that's a thousand times better, and that's 'End of a
Civilisationist', currently on MySpace page. These songs share similar themes although my song appeared first, I do add. I've never thought of EofC as being much chop really, more of a rant than anything, and certainly nowhere near coming close to any of my best songs. But when you compare my chord progressions - all those chromatic, jazzy twists & turns, moving into a new key in the lyrically-faded bridge, and then coming back into the final verse and chorus - and with that, a genuine set of lyrics that are beyond kindergarten level, I have no compunction in declaring my song is ONE thousand times better! Even if, truth be told, it's heavily influenced by early-Church in the verses and a Cold Chisel song in the chorus ("Conversations"). It is still MY song though, and I played all the instruments, produced it, mixed it, everything. Except the drums, someone else always does that.

So why are the composers & performers of "raise the alarm !" played on the radio and I ain't? It's because I don't speak to anyone. I find it tiring to promote my music, so therefore I don't,
preferring instead to spread it around discreetly via facebook & myspace and at live gigs. I take individuals for who they are but I don't appreciate having to deal with "positions" in the music "industry" - why should I have to crawl and deal with people in the biz when I can play and perform all of my own songs and these songs all speak for themselves anyway??

I can live with that. I'm a working musician and I love playing with other people. I'm playing with an astoundingly great singer-songwriter right now and I'm loving it and it is an absolute privilege to me to be working with her.

I can't help that, under the surface of how people know and perceive me, I do have a somewhat steely ego, particularly when it comes to music. I'm very
Beethovenian in my approach to loving music, and like Beethoven, I know music. Beethoven is one of my heroes actually and I love his work totally and it quite annoys me when people tell me "i don't like beethoven that much" or whatever. J.S.Bach and Beethoven are it for me.

....and everyone thinks I'm the nicest person. Yes, I am most of the time. I have to be careful. Ego is useless when it goes beyond safe, reasonable boundaries. I still play, I still perform, but I'm not writing songs anymore. I feel that I've said everything I want to say in this format of songwriting and I'm looking instead for other avenues of written expression. The blog, and more writing, is where I see myself moving toward. At least for all of these people getting played on the radio, dud musicians they may be and crap song-creators, the fact is that they're doing it and in many ways that's better than not doing it. That said I may return to songwriting unexpectedly at any time, and soon.

I don't believe myself to be exceptionally or highly intelligent - although I do get told I am the latter - but when I listen to this pap on the radio I do feel it to be a genuine affront to my intelligence. When it comes to, say, which famous Australian songwriters I love my answer is unanimously Steve Kilbey and Don Walker. Both of these men are truly great songwriters, are remarkably clever and extraordinary good at their craft. I love their playing as well. That's the standard I set myself so the exercise of listening to songs of the radio puts me well and truly into dumb-land.

And it doesn't negate the fact that 'raise the alarm' is fucking Rubbish!!!

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