May 27, 2005

Oh the drama!

Last night I was visiting a friend and there was some guitar-playing and singing, as you do... you don't? Oh... So our Australian import was playing the Counting Crows' 'Mr Jones', and I noted that rather than remember all the verses, he preferred to skip to the hard-out bits:
If I knew Picasso
I would buy myself a grey guitar and play
Mr! Jones! and! me! ...
We discussed the dramatics of it. While I've not been much of a Counting Crows fan since I was 13, I have recently joined the dots and realised that I do like my music theatrical.

Examples. My first favourite band - Queen. At age 10, I acquired a copy of a tape of their greatest hits that included 'Don't Stop Me Now':
I'm burning through the skies yeah
Two hundred degrees that's why they call me Mr Fahrenheit...
I loved it! I should also mention the anthemic 'I Want To Break Free', seeing as I'm all about cutting loose, when circumstances permit :) For me, Freddie was the genesis of theatrics in sound.

Then there's Faith No More. I'm a big fan, and I've often tried to convince people that there's a direct line between Queen and FNM. Take a song like 'Just A Man' from King For A Day. Sure, not all their songs are so operatic, but it's for illustrative purposes, so go with me, okay? 'Just A Man' is so damn cool! It has a full-on climax, culminating in a god-like voice over:
Man was born to love
Though often he has sought like Icarus to fly too high
And far too lonely than he ought
To kiss the sun of east and west
And hold the world at his behest...
Complete with reference to classical mythology - clearly a winner. To take another FNM example, a song like 'Mid-Life Crisis' from the superlative Angel Dust has a good dose of drama and it's a brilliant song for it. "Your menstruating heart" - say what?! And I've always loved the couplet:
You're perfect - yes it's true
But without me you're only you.
The arrogance! Irresistible!

Moving on to more current stuff, the Dears are the ultimate when it comes to injecting drama into music. How else could you explain a song like '22: The Death of All Romance':
I have never cried in anybody's arms
The way that I have often cried in yours.
Please be the one to take my tears away...
Pure genius. The entire No Cities Left album is positively burgeoning with drama, and it really makes the album for me. 'Pinned Together, Falling Apart', 'Who Are You, Defenders of the Universe' - you can almost hear the earnestness from the song titles alone. Love that album.

I think that the Arcade Fire are worthy of a mention here, too. You can't write a song about somebody's brother turning into a vampire ('Neighbourhood #2 (Laïka)') and not have a bit of drama in your blood.
When Daddy comes home you always start a fight
So the neighbours can dance
In the police disco lights
Fantastic stuff. Check the album. 'Neighbourhood #3 (Power Out)' is pretty much perfect.

It must be something to do with my love of melodrama - and a good narrative. Have you heard Arab Strap's 'Love Detective'? That accent doesn't do any harm either.

8 Comments:

Anonymous Lisa said...

My GOD you have fabulous taste in music woman.

1:12 PM  
Blogger Miss Marisol said...

i agree....
i love a dramatic pop/rock song...

1:59 PM  
Blogger Jessie said...

Thanks Lisa and Marisol! It's great to be able to share my half-baked theories :)

5:13 AM  
Anonymous Lisa said...

...Speaking of the Dears... yesterday while in Real Groovy I had 5 cents to go til my bonus so the girl said I should buy some gum (I hope that wasn't a hint... the bitch!) So instead I spent nearly 50 dollars buying this whacky live CD where Murray was (according to the little snippet in the cover) so drunk he had to be coached through the gig. Still sounds pretty goddamned fricken amazing. There's a 22 minute version of Pinned Together, Falling Apart... and 22: The Death of all the Romance (my personal favourite) is so ... crotch wettingly good they should be DRUGGED AND BROUGHT TO ME IMMEDIATELY!

11:58 AM  
Blogger Herge Smith said...

All good tunes (except counting crows - sorry, can't do them). FNM - fab, sadly not as respected as they should be.

My love of The Dears and Arcade Fire both well documented. I particularly love the line in 'Who are you, Defenders of the universe?' - "We're not all blood sucking leechs, for we all have families too" - Cool.

I got an Arcade Fire EP at the gig I went to a couple of weeks ago (I know, rubbing it in) - it's 7 tracks of non 'Funeral' bliss. Including the most wonderful No Cars Go! - If you haven't got it I'd recommend trying to get a copy off eBay (only available at gigs, sadly) - Defo worth it.

Jessie - you've got me listening to No Cities Left, again. Been a few weeks since I last heard it, damn it's good. Lost in the plot has such an epic quality to it, and an intro to die for.

9:10 PM  
Blogger Jessie said...

Lisa! I need to hear that!!

Herge, I like that line too - and the next part, "- but that don't mean that we really love them, or that we do." That song is so full of contradiction.

My love for 'Lost in the Plot' (and No Cities Left in general) is also well documented!

9:53 PM  
Blogger Tam said...

This whole post and comments section is a FARCE! How can y'all possibly be going on about theatrical dramatic music awesomeness and not even mention His Rawkness, The Right-Honourable Meatloaf once!?

I'd throw up my hands in disgust if I didn't have a date with my heater and an array of cold medication. Disgust, I tell you!

12:05 PM  
Anonymous Ren said...

Don't go and pay an ungodly amount on ebay for the Arcade Fire ep. It's about to get a UK release and the price will be usual ep cost...

10:59 AM  

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