Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Three Sublime Albums

So, the songs I promised are still to come, but here's something to keep you going. These albums are, in my subjective opinion, faultless. They make me think of Sunday afternoons and melancholia. In a good way.

Nick Drake Five Leaves Left

Beck Sea Change

Feist The Reminder

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Song 1

They say that you should always start an album with your strongest song.

They also say that you should not start with a disclaimer.

This is not my strongest pick. Sorry.

The reason for it being the first song on my list of strikingly beautiful songs is that it was written first. Whether I continue chronologically is yet to be determined. I almost had a song from every decade starting from the 30s but was struggling for a 1950s pick. This one kind of covers both the 30s and the 50s, as it turns out .

Anyway, the music was written in 1936 by Charlie Chaplin, and the lyrics were written by John Turner and Geoffrey Parsons in 1954.


Smile tho' your heart is aching,
Smile even tho' it's breaking,
When there are clouds in the sky
You'll get by,
If you smile
thro' your fear and sorrow,
Smile and maybe tomorrow,
You'll see the sun come shin-ing thro' for you

Light up your face with gladness,
Hide ev-'ry trace of sadness,
Al -'tho a tear may be ever so near,
That's the time,
You must keep on trying,
Smile, what's the use of crying,
You'll find that life is still worth-while,
If you just smile.

I, until recently, laboured under the misapprehension that Charlie Chaplin wrote the lyrics. This added to its beauty, in my mind, with the idea of it being written by a melancholy clown.

The melody and lyrics do work beautifully together, though. The melody is kind of a sedate rollercoaster. There are lots of sequences heading generally down the scale, but kind of heading up, and then ending where they started. The lyrics reflect this rolling continuity. They are kind of one long line made up lots of little phrases.

They convey the co-existence of melancholy and optimism which is simply part of life. Well, mine anyway. There are time when I would find these lyrics irritating. There's no point in pretending that everything is okay- and certainly 'putting on a happy face' is not necessarily going to solve anything.

But sometimes smiling is all you can do.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Subjectively Speaking: Songs You Should Like

There are some songs that are so beautiful that you simply must stop whatever you are doing and listen to them. Listen to them with your whole being. Lay down on the floor, close your eyes and put it on repeat. And wonder if there is anyone else out there who feels this way about a song.

Sometimes the songs are more poignant because they are associated with something else: a place, a person, a kiss, or even a film. Sometimes it is because they are associated with nothing real at all. They allow you to forget everything and to simply be.

These are the songs that melt my cynicism, or confirm my cynicism, and make me so conscious of my heart and everything that it holds. And yet, I know if I listened to only these songs it would be unbearable.

Over the next few weeks, I'd like to share these songs with you, beginning with a song penned in 1936.

Friday, June 19, 2009

What would you expect from a counsellor?

As you may or may not know, I am studying to be a counsellor. I'm not sure how this will act out at this point in time- maybe school chaplaincy, maybe as part of an organisation, maybe private practice, maybe connected to a church.

I have a question that I would love to hear your answers to. What would you expect from a counsellor? Or, perhaps, what do you see as the role of a counsellor?

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Plodding along

I'm planning. Planning what kind of sound I want my songs to have. Planning who I might ask to play them with me. Planning where I might perform.
That one song per week thing hasn't worked out exactly as planned but it has certainly gotten the creative juices flowing. In that drifting state between wakefulness and sleep I find lyrics running through my head and I write them on a scrap piece of paper on my bedside table. Light off.
More lyrics. Light back on. Scribble.
See! It's happening. It's exciting. It will rock.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Ninja? I don't think so

Two guys came into the office today. They were wearing ill-fitting black suits and had an 'I.T.' air about them. One had buck teeth, the other one had longish greasy hair. I thought maybe they were Debt Collectors. It turns out they were Process Servers. Close.

They were promoting their new business- Ninja. The most unlikely looking Ninjas I've ever seen...

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Have I failed you?

I haven't written a song in the last week, I confess. I have moved into Essayland. I have four essays due in the next four weeks.

What's good about the whole songwriting thing is that it is there, on the radar. I do spend time thinking about what direction I want to take and jot down lyrics every few days. I do feel like it will come together in some way or other. Welcome to the creative process.

Maybe the whole 12 song thing was too ambitious. But maybe it was actually what I needed as a guideline to get something happening. I think it's the latter.

I choose to not be too hard on myself.