Sunday, January 31, 2010

A Nervous Tic Motion of The Head To The Left; Andrew Bird

Maybe this one is the most Andrew’s famous songs of all. As incredible as it may seem, I found nothing that led me to discover its origin. For now, I leave this part blank. If it is one of the best known, it was only to be expected that I’ve begun to posting his songs with it, right? Right. But I didn’t because the whistlings that permeate it didn’t seem really whistlings — well, the videos on YouTube made that very clear to me.

‘Cause I have nothing to tell you about this song, I’ll say that Andrew still has many other songs with whistling, but I’ll change a little bit the way of this blog. After all, it isn’t only a catalog, it’s also a music blog and walk in accordance with my musical wanders...

So, get ready, it’s your last picture, Andy!

Oh! The head...
Over prescribed
Under the mister
We had survived to turn on the History Channel
And ask our esteemed panel why are we alive?
And here’s how they replied
You’re what happens when two substances collide
And by all accounts you really should’ve died

Stretched out on the tarmac
Six miles South of North Platte
He can’t stand to look back
At sixteen tons of hazmat
And it’s what goes
Undelivered, undelivered

And it’s a nervous tic motion of the head to the left
It’s a nervous tic motion of the head to the left
So exorcise your cells till you’re bereft
‘Cause it’s a nervous tic motion of the head to the left

Splayed out on a bathmat
Six miles North of South Platte
And he just wants his life back
What’s in that paper knapsack
It’s what goes
Undelivered, undelivered

And it’s a nervous tic motion of the head to the left
It’s a nervous tic motion of the head to the left

Over imbibed
Under the mister
Barely alive
We cover the blisters in flannel
Though the words we speak are banal
Not one of them’s a lie
Not one of them’s a lie
You’re what happens when two substances collide
And by all accounts you really should’ve died

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Masterfade; Andrew Bird, my friends:

Your lyrics are so strangely evocative. A line [from the song Masterfade] like 'You took my hand and led me down to watch a Kewpie doll parade’ really makes me wonder what inspired it.

“I wrote that one when I first moved out to my barn in the country. And I was trying to reconcile being in nature with also trying to set up a studio and struggling with technology. So I’d struggle with it and then go for long walks on the farm and I couldn’t separate the two. I kept seeing zeros and ones in everything. And also as with almost every song it’s not that simple, there’s several threads that go though it. I could also be talking about a relationship, you know. One person in a relationship has their finger on the master fade and can kind of control the reality of the other person with the fade dial. So there’s like three or four stories in that song.

Here he is!

Well you sure didn't look like you were having any fun
with that heavy-metal gaze they'll have to measure in tonsand when you look up at the sky all you see are zeros
All you see are zeros and ones

You took my hand and lead me down
to watch a Kewpie doll parade
We let the kittens lick our hair and drank our chalky lemonade
It's not that I just didn't care I must admit I was afraid
And I'm awfully glad my finger's resting gently on the masterfade,

Masterfade I could played along
Masterfade I could played mahjong but it just takes too long
And I just can't remember which way the east wind blows
does it matter? If we're all matter what's it matter does it matter
if we're all matter when we're done?
When the sky is full of zeros and ones

I saw you standing all alone in the electrostatic rain
I thought at last I'd found a situation you can't explain
with GPS you know it's all just a matter of degrees
Your happiness won't find you underneath that canopy of trees

If the green grass is 6 the soybeans are 7
the junebugs are 8 the weeds and thistles are 11
And if the 1s just hold thier place the zeros a smiley face
when they come floating down from the heavens

You took my hand and lead me down to watch a papillon parade
We let the kittens lick our hair and drank our chalky lemonade
You squeezed my hand and told me softly that I shouldn't be afraid
'Cause all the while your finger's resting gently on the masterfade, the masterfade

I could played along the masterfade
I could played mahjong but it just takes too long
And who the hell can remember which way the east wind blows
when your lying on the ground staring up at an inverted compass
I mean Christ who knows?

Monday, January 25, 2010

MX Missiles; Andrew Bird

Somewhere in Andrew Bird’s website I found a text about his early influences:

Sometime in 1977 - A four-year-old Andrew Bird picks up his first violin at the age of 4. Actually, it is a Cracker Jack box with a ruler taped to it, as the first of his many Suzuki music lessons involve simply bowing to the teacher and going home. So begins a formative period soaking up classical repertoire completely by ear followed by a teenage expansion into Hungarian Gypsy music, early jazz, country blues, South Indian music and more, as well as the discovery of an uncanny whistling ability.

Although this excerpt from his bio doesn’t say, I think Andrew (at least on the album “Mysterious Production of Eggs”) received some influence of French-folk by Yann Tiersen (“Sovay” is an example of this) and also The Beatles (The first verse of “MX Missiles” reminds me a lot the brigde in “All You Need Is Love”).

The “MX Missiles” whistling intro is one of the most beautiful of all I’ve ever heard. The lyrics, which has the war as a backdrop and speaks of the condition of equality of all people ‘cause “maybe you were not really MX Missiles-proof” (...) “it gives me the proof that I need, it's the proof that you bleed,” was wonderfully written.

I found in the meaning of this song but I don’t know from where they took this information: “Mr. Bird himself says: The song MX Missiles is about how, when I was 19 or 20, my hometown was filled with bizarre, almost ritualistic suicides. I remember every week my mom would have another story, like ‘Remember so-and-so? He poured gasoline on himself and went up in flames.’ It’s kind of about how people seem very two-dimensional till they kill themselves and then suicide makes them really seem alive”.

By the way, there is here an explanation about the MX Missile Project.

Those that will judge will say you’re aloof
But you know the truth is a seed
You know what you need
Is a conflagration
'Cause when I see your blood
And the bits of your broken tooth
It gives me the proof that I need
It’s the proof that you bleed
And it’s a revelation,
Yeah, it’s a revelation,
It’s a revelation

I thought you were a life-sized paper doll
Propped up in the hardware store
Propped up on the front lawn watching the parade
of the legionnaires with 2/4s marching off to wars

I didn’t know what you were made of
color of your blood what you’re afraid of
Are you made of calcium or are you carbon based
Cause if you’re made of calcium I’ll have to take a taste
Calcium is deadly, but tender to the tooth
but it’s one sure-fire way to know if you’re MX-Missile proof
Or if you’re just aloof

And you were in the ground in late November
Though the leaves and Earth were damp
Did you think they would remember
How you almost made state champ
and when you’re running for the game against Alfonsus
And you fell up on the ground and chipped your tooth
That might really have surprised us
To learn that maybe you weren’t really MX-Missiles proof

I thought you were a life-sized paper doll
Propped up in the hardware store
Propped up on the front lawn watching the parade
of the legionnaires with 2/4s marching off to wars

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Sovay; Andrew Bird

Andrew Bird is a multi-instrumentalist born in Chicago. He plays, among others instruments, mandolin, glockenspiel and violin. He is also a great whistler. As good as Axl Rose and Caetano Veloso. But Andrew Bird does more: he abuses of the beauty and depth of his whistling and uses the whistling as the main “instrument” in his songs. During this week and maybe the next too, I’ll post only Bird’s songs, with as much information as I can gather.

Bird’s music style is a mix of folk, blues, rock’n’roll and baroque pop. His songs are so soothing and melancholic that I feel like they're shelter me in a cloudy day. I could hear them for hours and hours just to be warmed by Andrew’s whistlings.

The song of today is called “Sovay” and was recorded on the 2005 album “The Mysterious Production of Eggs”, which is the first album that I downloaded and I’m listening. Which is his third studio album. According Wikipedia, “‘Sovay’, was originally released as a single before appearing as the second track on his album Andrew Bird & the Mysterious Production of Eggs.
Bird, when asked about the title of the song, reportedly said that the word ‘Sovay’ was one he had heard in an old English nursery rhyme, but had never bothered to actually research. He also said that he preferred to misunderstand the meanings of songs rather than [getting] a lyric sheet.”

To bad for me. Tomorrow I’ll come with more info about himself.
I was getting ready to be a threat
I was getting set for my
Accidental suicide
The kind where no one dies
No one looks too surprised
Then you realize
That you’re riding on a para-success
Of a heavy-handed metaphor
And a feeling like you’ve been here before
Because you’ve been here before
And you’ve been here before
Then a word washed ashore
A word washed ashore
Then a word washed ashore

Sovay, sovay, sovay
All along the day

I was getting ready to consider my next plan of attack
I think I’m gonna sack
The whole board of trustees
All those don quixotes un their b-17s
And I swear this time
Yeah this time
They’ll blow us back to the 70's
And this time
They’re playin’ Ride of the Valkyries
With no semblance of grace or ease
And they’re acting on vagaries
With their violent proclivities
And they’re playing ride
Ride of the Valkyries

Sovay, sovay, sovay
All along the day

Monday, January 4, 2010

Lawyers in Love; Jackson Browne

Days ago I received a very nice e-mail from someone who really liked my blog and gave me a tip about a whistling song which I hadn’t posted yet. In fact, I never knew this song until the mail arrives. So I really have to thank Gulphora for write to me. ;D

“Lawyers In Love” was composed by the American country / rock / folk singer Jackson Browne. He born in Heidelberg, German, but moved to USA when he was 3 years old. (Would you believe if I said that there isn’t any article in Wikipedia in Portuguese language about Jackson Browne? For sure! But I’m providing it. ‘Cause this I’m learning a lot about his life and music, but I won’t share here. Bleh!)

This song, “Lawyers in Love”, which names the 1983 album by this fabulous songwriter, was released as a single and peaked at # 13 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 charts. The Rolling Stone magazine reviewed the album as “a significant change from the feckless hyperconfessionality of 1980's Hold Out ('Anyway, I guess you wouldn't know unless I told you ... but I love you!'), a welcome widening of perspective that allows Browne to escape, once and for all, the L.A. albatross that has hung around his neck for the last eleven years. Even though Lawyers in Love does send Browne into uncharted waters-where he occasionally sounds a bit lost-it nevertheless is a more nervy, intelligent LP than its predecessor.
Below you can see a Browne's actual picture, but in the song's video music he's like 27 years younger. ^^

I can't keep up with what's been going on
I think my heart must just be slowing down
Among the human beings in their designer jeans
Am I the only one who hears the screams
And the strangled cries of lawyers in love

God sends his spaceships to America, the beautiful
They land at six o'clock and there we are, the dutiful
Eating from TV trays, tuned into to Happy Days
Waiting for World War III while Jesus slaves
To the mating calls of lawyers in love

Last night I watched the news from Washington, the capitol
The Russians escaped while we weren't watching them, like Russians will
Now we've got all this room, we've even got the moon
And I hear the U.S.S.R. will be open soon
As vacation land for lawyers in love

edit: Jackson Browne's Portuguese Wikipedia article

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Lazy Sunday; The Small Faces

The Small Faces were an English rock and roll band formed in the 60’s which was born and influenced by the mod subculture, as well as The Who and The Yardbirds. The classic lineup of The Small Faces was the following: Steve Marriott (vocals, guitar), Ronnie Lane (bass), Kenney Jones (drums) and Ian "Mac" McLagan (keyboards). The band was very successful during the 60s and ended in 69 when Marriott decided to leave it.

One year before their break, The Small Faces released the album “Ogdens’ Nut Gone Flake”, which reached # 1 in the UK Album Charts and held that position for six weeks. “Ogdens’...” is also listed in the book “1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die", but that I didn’t know even read its Wikipedia article... in this album is our today song, “Lazy Sunday”, which was recorded by Olympic Studios against the wishes of the band.

“Lazy Sunday” was written by Marriott and Lane and released as a single in 1968, making a huge success as to reach the #2 on the UK Singles Chart. The song was “inspired by Marriott’s feuds with his neighbors”.

The whistling is very very tiny… two seconds and it’s gone. But it’s there, right on the 1:25-1:27 in the song. :)

I wonder why they called the band “Small Faces”...
Wouldn't it be nice to get on wiv me neighbours
But they make it very clear they've got no room for ravers

They stop me from groovin', they bang on me wall
They're doin me crust in it's no good at all,

Lazy sunday afternoon,

I've got no mind to worry,
close my eyes and drift away.

Here we all are sittin in a rainbow
Cor blimey hallo missus Jones hows your Berts lumbago?
I'll sing you a song with no words and no tune
I'll sing at your party while you suss out the moon, oh yeah

Lazy sunday afternoon,

I got no mind to worry,
Close my eyes and drift away.

Aroo de de de do
Aroo de de de dido

Theres no one to see me theres nothin to say,
And no one can stop me from feelin this way

Lazy sunday afternoon

I've got no mind to worry
Close my eyes and drift away
Close my eyes and drit away
close my eyes and drift away...

Saturday, January 2, 2010

I Love You Because; Elvis Presley

Today I was here listening to the first studio album by Elvis wondering if some day the King would have recorded a song with whistling. His eponymous album (1956) contains many successes that immortalized him, as “Blue Suede Shoes”, “Blue Moon” and “Tutti Frutti”. This album is listed on the book “1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die” and that’s why I was listening to it (the book was a Christmas present :D) and recorded on it there is the song “I Love You Because”, which begins with a melancholic and depth whistling of our beloved Elvis Presley.

“I Love You Because” was composed by “the Blind Balladeer” Leon Payne at the end of 1949, inspired by his wife Myrtie. The song is one of Payne’s most successful hits. It was recorded by several artists (Jim Reeves, Al Martino, Johnny Cash...) but, apparently, it was only whistled for Elvis, and recorded two years before the release of his debut album*.

I love you because you understand, dear,
Every single thing I try to do.
You're always there to lend a helping hand, dear.
I love you most of all because you're you.

No matter what the world may say about me,
I know your love will always see me through.
I love you for the way you never doubt me.
But most of all I love you 'cause you're you.

No matter what may be the style or season,
I know your heart will always be true.
I love you for a hundred thousand reasons,
But most of all I love you 'cause you're you.