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What's in a song?


Argus

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Recently, though, some of the "bad" that's passing for music seems to concentrate on cop killing and abusing women, so if there was anything in the past to compare to that, I'm unaware of it -- but ready to be enlightened if anyone can show me otherwise.

I certainly can't claim to know anything about rap music, and I have no plan to learn anything about it either. I can't really say if the violence and misogyny in rap music that's often talked about is real or is sensationalized.

However, listen to the lyrics of "Hey Joe", made classic by Jimi Hendrix... or "Brown Sugar" and "Under My Thumb" by the Rolling Stones...

-k

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I certainly can't claim to know anything about rap music, and I have no plan to learn anything about it either. I can't really say if the violence and misogyny in rap music that's often talked about is real or is sensationalized.

However, listen to the lyrics of "Hey Joe", made classic by Jimi Hendrix... or "Brown Sugar" and "Under My Thumb" by the Rolling Stones...

-k

Or the entire Spinal Tap album "Smell The Glove"!

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Guest American Woman
I certainly can't claim to know anything about rap music, and I have no plan to learn anything about it either. I can't really say if the violence and misogyny in rap music that's often talked about is real or is sensationalized.

However, listen to the lyrics of "Hey Joe", made classic by Jimi Hendrix... or "Brown Sugar" and "Under My Thumb" by the Rolling Stones...

The violence and attitude towards women is real and it's not just a couple of crude songs, but a style of rap music, by several artists. Since you have no plans to learn anything about it, I won't bother commenting further or citing any examples, but will just point out that the songs you mentioned aren't representative of a style of music/recurring themes of a particular era, which is what I was referring to.

Edited by American Woman
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Guest American Woman
Or The Beatles "Run For Your Life" or "You Can't Do That".

The words to "Run for you Life" are terrible, but again, it's not a style or recurring theme like in Gangsta Hip Hop, but I get the point. Other eras of music/singers/groups had some pretty bad lyrics too.

Edited by American Woman
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[/i]

Me and Willie Dixon and Old Bill Brown

Tuk a load a' corn to town

Our ol' dog raised sech a fuss

We jist had him foller us

As we passed by the gen'ral store

A crowd of farmers around the door

Seed our dog 'neath the wagon blocks

And they pelted him with a bunch of rocks

chorus: Now every time I go to town

The boys start kickin my dog around

I don't care that he is a hound

They gotta stop kickin my dog around

They tied a tin-can to his tail

And run him past the county jail

That jist natcherly made me sore

and Wilie cussed - and Billie swore.

Me and Willie Dixon and old Bill Brown

Lost no time in a-hoppin down

We sure cleaned up them boys in town

Fer kickin my old dog around.

chorus: Now every time I go to town

The boys start kickin my dog around

I don't care that he is a hound

They gotta stop kickin my dog around

Folks say a dog cain't hold no grudge

But onct when I had too much (budge) (fudge)

Some fellers tried to do me up

They didn't count on my old pup.

He seed his duty thar and then

He lit right into them gentlemen

He sure messed up that courthouse square

With rags and meat and hide and hair.

chorus: Now every time I go to town

The boys start kickin my dog around

I don't care that he is a hound

They gotta stop kickin my dog around...

Edited by DogOnPorch
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Now go ahead, write a pop song for yourself. One rule. Don't write it in your mother tongue.

Funny that you should mention that. When I listen to music on YouTube, I usually listen to J-Pop. Not the really trippy stuff that is out there and does exist, but the stuff that is more or less similar to our pop but in Japanese.

Usually I find that I am not a big fan of the translated lyrics, but it could be the sort of Lost In Translation phenomenon. Ironically, when I was younger I used to say I did not like Opera much because I could not understand what they were singing, but I find that with Japanese songs that I listen to, I can enjoy just the sound of it.

Here is a pop song from Japan, by a band that actually started its first albums in English, Asian Kung Fu Generation (they started out in university, so you do not have to fear it being teens at least).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hGeOhuO10s8...E7C461BB59D097B

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In English, Cole Porter wrote good lyrics and wrote the delightful lyric "how strange the change, from major to minor" when
changed exactly from major to minor. That's hard to beat!

Actually, the key doesn't change; the chords do (from a major one to a minor one). And not to diminish Cole Porter, but chords change from major to minor and back again all the time. I think Leonard Cohen beat him in Hallelujah by describing the 1-4-5 structure that is universal to music (from the sacred to the blues to pop), again, all while it's happening.

"It goes like this, the fourth, the fifth, the minor fall, the major lift."
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I've explained that the good old days just weren't as good as you remember, because you've forgotten the dog-crap that made up 95% of everything that was on TV and in theatres and on the radio. I'll stand pat; there's nothing more for me to add.

Not unlike the crap that's on am and TV today Kimmy, which I'm sure our kids will be calling the good old days down the road.

Edited by scorpio
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In English, Cole Porter wrote good lyrics and wrote the delightful lyric "how strange the change, from major to minor" when
changed exactly from major to minor.

Now i'm going to get really boring, but I happened to come across the sheet music to Everytime We Say Goodbye today. We were both wrong. It's just a chord change and, on that particular line, it goes from minor to major, not major to minor.

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Actually, the key doesn't change; the chords do (from a major one to a minor one). And not to diminish Cole Porter, but chords change from major to minor and back again all the time. I think Leonard Cohen beat him in Hallelujah by describing the 1-4-5 structure that is universal to music (from the sacred to the blues to pop), again, all while it's happening.
This is hardly my area of expertise but I did some quick research and you are right, Bubbler. In fact, this chord change is more common than I thought. The Porter example happens to be pronounced.

On a similar note (sorry!), I just realized that hip-hop music shares with waltzes 3/4 time as opposed to the more common 4/4 time.

----

I don't want to belabour my point but your example of Leonard Cohen is illustrative. He's a sixties has-been but he can still do well selling plastic because his clientele still buys it - or charge to play his music in elevators because people now know him. Cole Porter was on the first wave of musicians to benefit from plastic and protected intellectual property rights. Prior to the 1920s, intellectual property rights were only protected by lavish theatrical productions. Sheet music and a home piano were the 19th century equivalent of an mp3 file.

Nowadays, technology works against musicians and protecting their property rights. One (partial) solution is to put lush music in cinema. It is very hard for a new musician to start nowadays. As they say, there's no money in it.

Now i'm going to get really boring, but I happened to come across the sheet music to Everytime We Say Goodbye today. We were both wrong. It's just a chord change and, on that particular line, it goes from minor to major, not major to minor.
True, and until you pointed it out, I had never noticed it.

BTW, "minor to major" wrecks the rhyming scheme.

Edited by August1991
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BTW, "minor to major" wrecks the rhyming scheme.

It would wreck the meaning too.

I particularly like lyrics, like that one, that are actually perfectly grammatical sentences that extend through multiple bars. The first line of "The Way You Look Tonight" does that as well.

Someday, when I'm all alone, when the world is cold, I will feel a glow just thinking of you, and the way you look tonight."

But hip-hop uses all sorts of beats. That's what makes it hip-hop.

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My point exactly.

-k

Well, your point (if I understand it properly) is wrong.

If you know anything about art history - looking back several thousand years, there are Periods (centuries/decades) of great art and then periods of, well, less than great art. Ancient Egypt is a good example. Sometimes people innovate, and sometimes they don't. Sometimes the innovations take root.

As a simple, practical example: the accurate two dimensional representation of three dimensional life was a great innovation in painting - and it was a consequence of the so-called European Renaissance.

----

Kimmy, not all eras are the same. Some music is simply better. By what measure? As Ernest Hemingway said, it lasts.

I have a different idea, but the result is the same. I happen to think that if artists think they'll benefit from their creation, they'll try more. Like Homer, Mozart and Lennon/McCartney.

But hip-hop uses all sorts of beats. That's what makes it hip-hop.
No, it's basically 3/4. Listen to it. Bah-bah-Boom. Just like Strauss.

Edited to add: I'm no expert.

Edited by August1991
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I have a different idea, but the result is the same. I happen to think that if artists think they'll benefit from their creation, they'll try more. Like Homer, Mozart and Lennon/McCartney.

I am not sure that Mozart would be a great example for your argument, August, as his father brought him into music, or his love of it did, rather than any material reward.

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My point exactly.

-k

Yes, so many people are still playing those wonderfully catchy tunes from the days of disco.

Why do you think it is that people who grew up in the `70s - like me - would rather listen to music from the `60s or `80s?

When music is crap, it's crap. Maybe a lot of my friends were wild about disco in their youth (I was too smart - not to mention too geeky) but none of them care for it now.

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Yes, so many people are still playing those wonderfully catchy tunes from the days of disco.

Why do you think it is that people who grew up in the `70s - like me - would rather listen to music from the `60s or `80s?

When music is crap, it's crap. Maybe a lot of my friends were wild about disco in their youth (I was too smart - not to mention too geeky) but none of them care for it now.

You opened the thread with the supposition that these songs are classics that will endure...

...but most of them haven't.

A grandparent once explained to me that The Tennessee Waltz was the greatest song of all time. I have no idea if it's true, but he told me it's been recorded by more artists and topped the charts more times than any other song. But ... heard it on the radio lately?

Your generation might remember "Charlene", but (and I've said this before in other threads...) that song won't be played again unless Will Ferrell uses it for big laughs in a period-comedy. Most of the songs you mention exist only in the record collections of baby boomers. You may have these songs on in your record collection, you may even play them from time to time... but except for two of them, they've vanished from the public eye.

"You Belong To Me" had vanished to the point that many people think it is a Bob Dylan original composition because it hadn't been played for years until he resurrected it. Guess what, it will vanish again.

"Hotel California" remains a staple of "classic rock" radio formats, but as your generation slowly moves from "classic rock" to "golden oldies", it'll lose its appeal, and will go the way of You Belong To Me... except I doubt anybody will bother to resurrect it in 50 years.

-k

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You opened the thread with the supposition that these songs are classics that will endure...

...but most of them haven't.

A grandparent once explained to me that The Tennessee Waltz was the greatest song of all time.

He's right. Tha was the song we chose to have our first dance at our wedding. The version done be the immortal Tom Jones and the Chieftans

Edited by M.Dancer
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"Hotel California" remains a staple of "classic rock" radio formats, but as your generation slowly moves from "classic rock" to "golden oldies", it'll lose its appeal, and will go the way of You Belong To Me... except I doubt anybody will bother to resurrect it in 50 years.

I don't think so....some people think that Diana Krall's "Peel Me A Grape" was new.

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I don't think so....some people think that Diana Krall's "Peel Me A Grape" was new.

Wanna see a hot new act - check out the Noisettes...sort of retro - this girl has the timing of a master - You will love it - don't get locked into the old generation thing - there is great new music - If you know where to look - check it out. Be young again - "Hotel California" is closed down - only useless old hippies listen to the past on a steady basis. Be new my friend- no point in rushing towards the grave by rushing into the past - go forward.

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You opened the thread with the supposition that these songs are classics that will endure...

...but most of them haven't.

I don't think I or anyone else has ever claimed that in any era, any decade, by far the largest chunk of music which comes out isn't - forgetable. Much of it is of a style, however, of a genre where the great songs among it continue to live on for decades, if not generations afterwards, keeping that particular genre alive.

And you know, there are eras and decades where even the so-so music, which doesn't live on, is still better than almost everything which comes out in other eras or decades. I'm betting that almost anything which came out in the sixties would be more ear catching to me than almost anything which came out in the last few years.

A grandparent once explained to me that The Tennessee Waltz was the greatest song of all time. I have no idea if it's true, but he told me it's been recorded by more artists and topped the charts more times than any other song. But ... heard it on the radio lately?

On occasion.

"You Belong To Me" had vanished to the point that many people think it is a Bob Dylan original composition because it hadn't been played for years until he resurrected it. Guess what, it will vanish again.

The point is he DID resurrect it. The good songs keep getting resurrected. What will be resurrected from today's music decades down the line? Btw, You Belong To Me was resurrected by Vonda Shepard. That's the version I like. It was recorded by everyone from Paul Anka, Judy Garland and Pat Boon to Ringo Starr, Tori Amos, and Rod Steward and was last recorded in 2008 by some group I never heard of called Those Poor Bastards.

"Hotel California" remains a staple of "classic rock" radio formats, but as your generation slowly moves from "classic rock" to "golden oldies", it'll lose its appeal, and will go the way of You Belong To Me... except I doubt anybody will bother to resurrect it in 50 years.

You Belong To Me is 57 years old. There have been over 75 recorded versions of it since 1952. And it's been on the soundtracks of three major movies since 2003, and a new version seems to be recorded by someone every couple of years. Good music lasts.

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In the heart of little old New York,

You'll find a thoroughfare.

It's the part of little old New York

That runs into Times Square.

A crazy quilt that "Wall Street Jack" built,

If you've got a little time to spare,

I want to take you there.

Come and meet those dancing feet,

On the avenue I'm taking you to...

Come and meet those dancing feet,

On the avenue I'm taking you to,

Forty-Second Street.

Hear the beat of dancing feet,

It's the song I love the melody of,

Forty-Second Street.

Little "nifties" from the Fifties,

Innocent and sweet;

Sexy ladies from the Eighties,

Who are indiscreet.

They're side by side, they're glorified

Where the underworld can meet the elite,

Forty-Second Street.

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