Archive | September, 2009

Song of the Day #63: “Mornings Eleven,” by The Magic Numbers

30 Sep

Well we have had a role reversal today. Anthony took the lyric of the day from me. He just snatched it from me behind my back. Unfortunately, I cannot photoshop, so I will just settle for a Song of the Day. No particular reason for this one except for the fact that it is an incredible work of harmony and infectious rhythm and sound.

The Magic Numbers are from Greenford in West London and consist of a pair of brothers and sisters which I think is just splendid. In 2002 they released their first album The Magic Numbers and it hit major success among the indie crowd. I’d like to talk about why and the big reason for it is the title track, “Mornings Eleven.”

The Magic Numbers

I will be frank. I say a lot of songs are good. What would be the point of running a blog and specifically focusing on bad music. Well, if you remember from the summer, we tried to start a bad music portion where we could just pan horrible music. It did not carry like expected but, what the heck, maybe we will bring it back. With good songs comes a lot of loquacious mumbo jumbo from me in an attempt to make you agree. Here, with “Mornings Eleven,” I know you will like it.  The song is perfectly crafted. Its use of harmony is impecable. It changes effortlessly and each new portion is better then the other. It is an absolute delight to here this song and I hope to share it with you.

Just Click this Link: (The video is wierdly cute)


“Visual Music” & Lyric of the Day

30 Sep

At long last I have (somewhat) returned. Here’s the scoop on my technological delinquency situation. My HP laptop (which had all my saved pictures and my photo-editing software) is completely FUBAR. Done. Kaput. I removed the hard drive and am waiting for a SerialATA/USB2 adaptor to come in the mail so I can retrieve my saved work. My Asus netbook has been completely wiped clean and is now running Fedora instead of XP. It works, sometimes, but is crushingly slow, and photo-editing doesn’t seem to like running on low-end hardware. So the Visual Music itself is still on hiatus, but I can at least make posts as I see fit.

Now on to the point. I’m gonna make something kinda like a VM here, using only words. The answer is a lyric, and is today’s Lyric of the Day. It’s a pretty obscure song, so dont be surprised if you don’t get.


p iff q
(r^s) -> p

There exists x : p = 1

r= love (out)
s= love (in)

Find x such that q = 1


The answer to that is from Bright Eyes’ song “Method Acting,” and is my single favorite line in any song I’ve ever heard. That line is as follows:

“We’ve got a problem with no solution but to love, and to be loved.”

This is a theme that comes up in several of Bright Eyes’ songs. While most of the lyrics are very existential and depressing, they always have hidden behind them a ray of hope. Even in this crappy world where soldiers kill, lovers leave, and children cry, there is a way out; a solution. People bicker amongst themselves about the meaning of life, and why we’re all here. This is the answer. The grand experiment of human interaction has this one true goal. Love. There is no evil that cannot be vanquished, and no hardship that cannot be overcome. To borrow some lyrics from another of Bright Eyes’ songs, Bowl of Oranges…

“I came upon a doctor who appeared in quite poor health, I said ‘There’s nothing that I can do for you you can’t do for yourself.’ He said ‘Oh, yes you can, just hold my hand. I think that that would help.’ So I sat with him a while and I asked him how he felt. He said ‘I think I’m cured. No, in fact, I’m sure of it. Thank you, stranger, for your therapeutic smile.”

Lyric #6

29 Sep

Hey guys, after a long weekend, this one may not be as easy as the others, but I think you can all handle it.

” I wish we could live forever/ then melt into the sun”

Fun fact/ hint: His father was of African and Cherokee descent, and his mother is Jewish. The song literally implies that there is currently darkness, yet eventually it will dissipate.

Answer: There will be a light, by Ben Harper

Lyric of the Day #62: Top 100 Lyricists #85

28 Sep

He wrote hundreds of songs. He lived to 36, committing suicide in 1976 after succumbing to bi-polar disorder, alcoholism. The sheer enormity of his work is astounding. One must also keep in mind the the man wrote the majority of his songs in the 1960’s starting in 1962. His music was folk and his lyric was “topical,” an interesting mix  of humanism and political activism that was always quite witty but at times rather sardonic. Minus the suicide many may conclude this is definitely Bob Dylan. Folk, protest singer, who wrote hundreds of songs in the 1960’s. Yet, the lyricist I am talking about is less known but, in many ways, just as influential to the protest music cause.

Phil Ochs

Phil Ochs came to the realization that he wanted to be a musician when sleeping on a park bench in Miami at the age of 18. He was arrested but the important conclusion was reached that he would go back to college and study journalism and write. This is the second time I have profiled a lyricist who was an aspiring journalist. I am beginning to get jealous of all of these succesful musicians who used journalism as a stepping stone to greatness. Why can’t I write lyrics!!!!! Okay, enough of my stupidity, back to Phil Ochs.

Ochs became known quickly for his smart brand of passionate protest songs about events like war and civil rights. He described himself as a “singing journalist,” and no trust me as much as I would enjoy this newsrooms do not sing story information. He build his songs from news stories. “Topical” songs.  He started performing at numerous folk festivals and was even at the famous Dylan electric experience which he actually commended. He also became rather fixated on John F. Kennedy and he admired him greatly. After his assasination Ochs fell into a deep depression and told his wife that night that he thought he was going to die.

Pleasures of the Harbor

It is safe to conclude that Ochs was a wise man and his music and incredible feeling was beyond his time, and even our time.  His music defined him and like for many others before and after him, it became a necessary catharsis. Let’s take a look at some of his music. The song I want to focus on displays Ochs’ incredible skill. It appears on his fourth studio album, Pleasures of the Harbor, and it will forever remain as the awe-inspiring last track. Here is a little taste from “The Crucifixion”

“Time takes her toll and the memory fades
but his glory is broken, in the magic that he made.
Reality is ruined; it’s the freeing from the fear
The drama is distorted, to what they want to hear
Swimming in their sorrow, in the twisting of a tear
As they wait for a new thrill parade.

The eyes of the rebel have been branded by the blind
To the safety of sterility, the threat has been refined
The child was created to the slaughterhouse he’s led
So good to be alive when the eulogy is read
The climax of emotion, the worship of the dead
And the cycle of sacrifice unwinds.

So dance dance dance
Teach us to be true
Come dance dance dance
‘Cause we love you

And the night comes again to the circle studded sky
The stars settle slowly, in lonliness they lie
‘Till the universe explodes as a falling star is raised
Planets are paralyzed, mountains are amazed
But they all glow brighter from the briliance of the blaze
With the speed of insanity, then he died.”

Let that sink in. It is about John F. Kennedy’s death, by the way. Well, the death of any hero for that matter. The allusion to Chris is clear. “A falling star is raised,” with brilliance and speed and the title. Yet, what makes this song so awesome is Ochs’ sheer rawness. While he may have believed that the eight minute recording was a failure it did wonders in representing the meaning in the song. The song brought Robert Kennedy to tears when Ochs performed it for him a cappella.  Check out the song with a cool video:

Court Links: Jimi Hendrix and Inspiring Music

24 Sep

Jimi Hendrix

Proving once again that dead musicians refuse to remain dead, Jimi Hendrix’s family has another decade of unreleased Jimi recordings. I don’t know but I have a wierd feeling that any musician who has died a suspicious death is living on a special music island making awesome music together in perfect harmony. I guess some people would call this heaven but I call it Music Island, this fall’s new reality show. Jimi’s family has several copies of each official bootleg that they keep in temperature controlled vaults. Seems a little extreme but, hey, I guess it really is precious material that I know I will end up listening to.

Check out the article:

Want proof that teaching music is important in schools? Try this.

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