Obsessed Part I: Words

It all started with a Talking Head …

… or ‘heads?’

Not just any old image of ‘Talking Heads’ – but an image that was originally developed for the band – and then rejected. Too obvious for them?

This Chap became aware during that last piece that there are obsessions afoot …

I see what you did there.

… in rock music. But where to start? Maybe with the ones that came up previously, and go from there.

Words. We were talking about words.

Then of course Tom Tom Club had “Wordy Rappinghood”

And wouldn’t you just know it, all kinds of songsters have things to say about Words, from Neil Young …

to Extreme …

to the Other Chap’s suggestion, Hawk Nelson …

John wants to clarify …

Yes indeed, it was he who suggested this particular visual ‘delight’, but To be clear – not because he enjoyed the music – or even the video (as in its entirety), but rather the nifty mechanism at the beginning of – and then throughout the video that had all the words swirling about. It seemed to play to the other chap’s theme of ‘words’.

… but – there’s another thing. Play the video through and that clever word thing does work and to this chap at least – seems quite original. In complete contrast to the other main video effect – the three-person band playing in some large warehouse with essentially no equipment, no wires and no audience. It makes this chap wonder if they are trying to win you over by demonstrating that nobody likes them – so they are that rare commodity … and you could be the first person to discover them.

… kind of like wine – or restaurants … you know like you love it – until everyone else finds out about it … and then you need to move on. Does that work in music?

Oh – and another thing … why are all our musical references taken from our genration …. allow me to break the mould and re-introduce you to ‘Maurice’.

Touché ! Almost enough, though, to turn a Chap Brexiteer. (That and the paedophilia …) … but that’s another thing … entirely.

.That said, there does appear to be some universal aberration here. Or at least some small omission? R.E.M. are rarely quiet on literary stuff.

Turns out the Stipe obsessions may lie elsewhere. Who’d a thought?



not to mention “Memphis Train Blues” and others.

I never understand why someone writes ‘not to mention’ – they immediately go on and mention that which they have already declared should not be mentioned – and even expounds further. Is it just me?

Yes. It’s not uncommon (pace Orwell).

And they are not alone… Wikipedia lists over 1,000 songs about or featuring trains — the earliest, “Carrollton March,” dating back to 1828 — even before there were any public trains in the USA.

Much more to come on this — but as a small taste …

  • TomE

    Sparks in all directions on this one. In that spirit:

    – To my eye, Tina has never moved comfortably on stage. Bass too heavy or something.

    – Train songs. A guitar provides idea resources with which to imitate a train. So why not. (And if you promise not to ask for details, I’ll reveal that I was recently playing Fulsome Prison Blues on a ukulele. There’s no way not to pulse that with train track rhythms, though the person I was jamming with tried – ugh.)

    – So great question: why all the example from our generation? I think I’d argue that rap has replaced many expected musical elements with words, or at least the sounds of words (but not rhyme or rhythm). So there must be some meta-level rap songs out there, though I don’t listen enough to suggest any.

    – I seldom listen to lyrics.

    • I think tom and I were separated at birth – lyrics – who needs’em ?

      • Graham Watson

        Well, as a long-time REM fan, I’d say in general that hearing rock lyrics is a bonus, but actually understanding them them… (sorry, Mr Stipe!)

    • Graham Watson

      I do acknowledge the restricted range of my own sources — that is, for a certain era, extremely good, but lately… I should get out/off-island more.

      • Isn’t that why they have Google and Spotify

        • Graham Watson

          True, but try and listen to your own music with a teenager in residence… Also, there’s this: Many times I can quote lyrics from memory, but would not know they exist outside my range. There’s an old SF story–Dick, Asimov? not Adams, different story — about the computer that can answer the ultimate question. All you have to do is ask it — if you know what it is, but noone does. Conclusion is that to ask the right question, you already have to know most of the answer. Which is to say, I might search for new lyrics/references if I knew they were there. Like not bothering to hunt through the fridge for cream cheese unless you’re pretty sure there is some.

          • I say headphones to part one and ….

            drugs to the cream cheese ….

            as for asking the computer the question – up there with needing to know how to spell a word to look it up in a dictionary to find out how to spell it.

    • Graham Watson

      Oh, but look at Tina in the Hall of Fame induction concert — at 60+, looking very good and easy.

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