“I Love Having Written, But I Hate Writing”–Billy Joel says “Go Ahead With Your Own Life, Leave Me Alone” to Critics, Columbia Records and Sir Elton

joel 1

(via New York Times Magazine)

Billy Joel hasn’t put out an album of new songs in decades, but the last few years have brought about a burnishing of his musical legacy. Most recently, he stole the show at the 12-12-12 Sandy relief concert, no trifling feat considering he shared the stage with the Who, the Rolling Stones and Paul McCartney. His set, characterized by remarkably robust vocals and a tight backing band, allowed songs like “Only the Good Die Young” and “You May Be Right” to be considered anew; the passage of time has cleansed the songs of any of the annoyance-factor wrought by FM overplay. A generation who never appreciated him, who judged him uncool, are now at the age at which they might actually suffer one of those heart attack-ack-ack-ack-ack-acks of “Movin’ Out (Anthony’s Song).” Even the haters, grown up now, would have a hard time continuing to begrudge Joel his mastery of songwriting…

Read more: http://mobile.nytimes.com/2013/05/26/magazine/billy-joel-on-not-working-and-not-giving-up-drinking.html

Video of the Week: Axis of Awesome–Four Chords

Songs You May Have Missed #532


Bobby Bland: “Ain’t No Love in the Heart of the City” (1974)

If ever an artist should have been forcefully prevented from sampling a song of a previous era, that artist would be Jay-Z, whose unholy appropriation of Bobby Bland’s soulful ’74 ballad checks most every box on the offensive lyric checklist.

The real crime here, in addition to that of artistically spinning silk thread somehow into a burlap dress, is that young fans of the Kanye Wests and Jay-Z’s of the world are typically uninformed as to the true source of inspiration, and come away with the impression that their favorite rap artist has created, when he has merely synthesized.

It is not true to say that all the best music was created in decades past. But the rap genre seems to be making the most convincing arguments that it was.

11 Obscure References in Classic Songs—Explained!


(via mental floss)

by Kara Kovalchik

We’ve all heard these classic pop and rock hits a thousand times. But even if you know all the words, do you know what they were about?

1. “You’re So Vain,” Carly Simon

“You had one eye in the mirror as you watched yourself gavotte.”

The gavotte is a French folk dance that was popular in the late 16th century. It was somewhat majestic and pose-y, long before vogueing came into … well, vogue. Simon has stated in interviews that she pictured the character in her song making a dramatic entrance, one hand raised and the other on his hip, much like those elegant pantaloon-wearing Baroque folks did back in the day.

Read more: http://mentalfloss.com/article/32295/11-obscure-references-classic-songs%E2%80%94explained

Songs You May Have Missed #531


Courtney Barnett: “Dead Fox” (2015)

barnettIf we have to be subjected to absurd “new Dylan” comparisons every few years or so, it’s refreshing at least to hear them applied to a female for a change. Australian singer-songwriter Courtney Barnett’s dry, witty, rambling lyrics have called a lot of attention to her debut album, Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit.

But she rocks too, coming as she does from a grunge/garage band.

“Dead Fox” illustrates the toll exacted on animal and even human life by dangerous highway freight trucking in the name of big business and lower supermarket prices (I know, another song about that).

But Barnett’s sardonic stream of consciousness lyric style makes what should be a pedantic diatribe instead sound like a droll (if pointed) anecdotal musing.

It’s pretty catchy too.

The video, animated and directed by Rory Kerr and Paul Ruttledge, drives home the song’s point in rather grisly fashion.

See also: https://edcyphers.com/2018/06/02/songs-you-may-have-missed-627/

See also: https://edcyphers.com/2021/12/23/songs-you-may-have-missed-720/

Video of the Week: Grand Funk Railroad–Footstompin’ Music (Live 1974)

Songs You May Have Missed #530


Kirsty MacColl: “The Butcher Boy” (1995)

Such was Kirsty MacColl’s gift that even when she tried her hand at traditional folk balladry–a form in which she had no real background–the results were transcendent.

This gem of a B-side, sparsely arranged and featuring the haunting penny whistle of The Pogues’ Spider Stacey, puts MacColl’s voice to the forefront to achingly beautiful effect, perhaps made sadder still in light of her own premature and tragic demise.

See also: https://edcyphers.com/2013/07/27/songs-you-may-have-missed-452/

Rare Robert Johnson Record Turns up at Jerry’s Records


(via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette online)

by Scott Mervis

You never know what you’ll find in a stack of old records, which is part of what has driven Jerry Weber for four decades.

Last week, the owner of the world-famous Jerry’s Records in Squirrel Hill gave a man he didn’t know $50 for several boxes of old albums found while cleaning out an attic. They sat in a hallway at Jerry’s for a couple days before anyone looked at them. Among a collection of mostly junky, water-damaged, stuck-together discs, he found what he calls “the holy grail of 78s.”

It’s a 78 rpm copy of “I Believe I’ll Dust My Broom” (on Vocalion), the second song ever recorded by late Mississippi blues legend Robert Johnson, in 1936…

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/ae/music/2012/11/16/Rare-Robert-Johnson-record-turns-up-at-Jerry-s-Records/stories/201211160170

The Loudness War: Good and Bad News from the Front


(via msn entertainment)

by Matt Medved

In honor of last month’s Dynamic Range Day, mastering engineer Ian Shepherd made an infographic comparing the loudness of popular albums — and the results may surprise you.

Take Taylor Swift‘s 1989, which clocked in at a fairly compressed DR6 rating. While Shepherd says that’s pretty standard for modern pop music, it’s still much louder than classic heavy metal LPs like AC/DC‘s Back in Black (DR12) and Metallica‘s The Black Album (DR11). Metallica’s more recent Death Magnetic reached a blistering DR3 level, while Skrillex‘s Recess charts at DR4…

…There may be hope on the horizon. As YouTube joins platforms like Spotify and iTunes Radio in employing loudness normalization to even out track volumes, Shepherd believes artists and engineers will realize the audio arms race is “pointless.”

Read more: http://www.msn.com/en-us/music/news/taylor-swifts-1989-is-louder-than-ac-dcs-back-in-black-heres-why/ar-AAbEi07

Adobe Photoshop PDF

Pop Sonnets: Creating Shakespearean Sonnets from Top 40 Tunes



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