Nothing In Particular

I like to give little awards to things in my head. This particular prize is a tough contest with some very strong competitors, but I think ‘Nothing In Particular’ just about wins it: ‘Worst Ending To Any Song I’ve Made’.

There are many Trying Artist songs which feature the messy final mouse click, or the ok-I-give-up collapse of rhythm in all the instruments, but it’s the specific way in which my voice strains out the final four lines – four lines of improbably bad quality – before the instruments stutter and fade, that wins this song the prestigious award.

‘Go ahead and call for backup,
I’m sure they will come running,
Or instead why don’t you shut up
And back away into the corner’

Come on! Come on! I can’t believe I’m hearing these lyrics years later. I imagine different embodiments of me, playing the instruments separately, all cringing with shame when the singer version of me cracks those words out, unable to carry on playing, looking around at each other in disbelief.

Except that clearly didn’t happen. Clearly they were encouraging him.

It’s important to note here that this song, and its lyrical content, does fit within a certain thematic genre of my music as a whole: The Slightly Ironic Arrogant Rebel Figure. There will be a few more of these as the years drag on. The lyrics in these songs stand out because they are so unlike my personality, which is more like a Very Ironic Timidly Arrogant Obedient Citizen. I was a little bit more combative in the old days – I thought I was cool and didn’t like it when other people thought they were cool. However, this never caused me to start fights with people because they talked about their last holiday a bit too much.

 

I remember my Dad showing this song to someone, it might have been my drum teacher. His comment was ‘the guitars are out of tune’. Concise, to the point, succinct, correct.

 

 

 

Advertisements

THE SONG THAT CHANGED THE WORLD

Basically, if I’ve put the title in capitals, it’s going to be bad.

Although, to be fair to myself, I think the large letters denote a lack of seriousness in my attitude towards the song, rather than an absurd level of confidence about the song’s impact. And also, come to think of it, is this song worse than all its contemporaries? Absolutely not.

But, ‘THE SONG THAT CHANGED THE WORLD’ is still a bit bad, and if it has changed the world, it is in ways so subtle as to be completely imperceptible, even by its creator, who looks avidly for these things all the time.

It is in fact an extremely significant song for me, being the first song I recorded with two friends who remained in my band until the end of school.

Which is why the guitar and bass playing see a slight improvement, whilst the obnoxiously loud drumming fills are good old fashioned Trying Artist.

This band, with the later addition of a keys player, was a source of happiness for us all, and we went on to achieve great* things**.

*a few
**gigs

I’m struck by how much ‘TSTCTW’ strives and fails to be like this much later piece:

Drum Solo

I like listening to this a lot. Not because I think the drumming is good. In fact, this is exactly the sort of drumming I hate – ostentatious, messy, as loud and as fast as possible.

I like listening to it because in the audible flurry of flailing limbs I can clearly picture my technique-less, eager 14 year old self. I can either remember the day I recorded this, or the impression of the recording is so strong that I’ve created a memory to accompany it.

In the room at the top of the house, building up a sweat moving from the computer to the drum kit, making sure the recording isn’t peaking, trying to play faster and faster, probably in summer, feeling like I’m drumming better than I ever have done.

The take you hear was almost definitely chosen not because I finally played it right (I clearly didn’t play it right), but because I got so tired I couldn’t really keep smashing those cymbals any longer.

Nevertheless, it was saved, and named Drum Solo, thereby giving it permission to be seen as a sort of portfolio of my drumming capabilities.

As I got older, I started listening to less rock/indie and more disco/soul/electronic music. The drum solo I would record now would be very different- much more syncopated, more repetitive, more restrained, less fun, better.

This is perfect drumming for me now:

VErY RuDE

This is a rap song. There will be three of these, all of a certain calibre.

Needless to say, VErY RuDE, as implied by its jaunty use of capital letters, is not a serious song, and as with Bond films, is best judged on its own terms.

Seen as a golden classic by the 3-4 people who have had the wisdom to follow my musical career, it does have some merit. The beat, featuring my only use of slapped bass, could have been good if I hadn’t made it so sloppily. My bass playing was actually near its best around this time, when I still had lessons, and before I got into playing guitar a lot more. Can you tell?

Also, some of the lines are funny. A few of them. Well maybe not funny, but poetic, even.

‘It’s a bit early, so I just want some meat’ is very intriguing. I’m not sure the average person prefers meat, and only meat, at an earlier hour. Maybe I’m wrong. But the key to many of these lines is improvisation. I assume that they were basically made up on the spot, with revisions in the more refined middle section.

The poetic voice then confounds us all with the revelation that he actually ordered ‘chicken burger and fries’. So not just meat then. And all because he’s ‘in a good mood’. So maybe the early hour provokes a desire for meat, and his contentment does the same for fried potato.

There are wild accusations of ‘this place’s lies’, completely unfounded, and then we come to the crux of the protagonist’s pain: ‘and he didn’t give me ketchup with my food’.

This leads to a cataclysmic reaction from our antihero, who fucks shit up and then gets on his figurative high horse and figuratively gallops off. But not before uttering my favourite line:

‘McDonald’s is going down,
McDonald’s has got to pay,
And I’m not gonna fucking stay,
And brush it away with a frown

A ridiculously quaint last phrase there, although perhaps appropriate from a character who later refers to his victims’ phones as ‘telecoms’.

***SPOILER ALERT***  The saga ends with the protagonist declaring: ‘I have plans’, before gradually realising that the bullet that hit him earlier has actually left him deceased. A lame ending, although you do get to hear the brushing frown line again.

JME is a much better rapper, but he also likes to throw in the odd quaint phrase, as in this classic:

‘Put the TV on mute, have a drink but I don’t blaze’
‘You need to type of this CV, Microsoft Word, that’s you, you’re a nerd’
‘I’m left-handed, my mum calls me lefty’