Very Kind

 

This song is the most Trying Artist thing imaginable:

In and amongst the dreary, badly sung melodies, the incomprehensible lyrics, the usual messy instruments, the 5 minutes of underwhelming overkill, there is a saxophone.

So there I am, Jack of some trades, master of absolutely nothing, recording a song on piano, bass, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, drums, and vocals, playing each one badly. And I decide to pick up the sax.

I remember the week. I think it was summer, my Dad’s office was swelteringly hot. Or maybe I’m just imagining that because the song I decided to learn was Summertime. But anyway, I picked up his sax. Above all I remember the intense vibration that would sometimes occur against my lip when I pressed it a certain way against the reed. It tickled so much I had to stop playing. How do you stop this happening? I’ll probably never know. But I learnt Summertime, and played it a handful of times. Then I took the sax downstairs, and used it in a song. A few long notes, adding an extra layer of sludge onto that chorus.

I must have stood back and surveyed the scene, sonically. ‘Ahhh, another instrument. Good.’

There was always part of me that knew the most impressive part of my musical output was the volume of it – both in terms of instruments within the songs, and the number of songs in total. So I’d improve those things. Adding some piano, adding more layers of guitars (because I couldn’t play anything interesting enough with one layer). Getting a saxophone in there. Half finishing a song to show it to people as quickly as possible, never perfecting anything. Ignoring technique. Inundating my life with musical noise, too much to really hear how good it was.

I don’t really regret this. I’m the same with all things. I like the bigger picture. I like to throw things together in a disorganised way, skipping from one idea to the next when I think of them, not resting on the first one until it’s right. But it certainly made my music shit for a long time. Once, when I was 15, I saw that my ex-girlfriend talking about this guy’s music on Myspace. It made me really jealous, because she used to listen to MY music. He was a friend of hers, and his song was a simple pop number, just voice and acoustic guitar. Guitar played nicely, vocals sung sweetly. I defensively dismissed his music instantly – ‘It’s shit. It’s just stupid pop. It’s bland. It’s too simple.’ But I listened to it a lot of times, all the while seething.

What I was forced to acknowledge, although I didn’t want to, is that if you do something simple, and do it well, people react to it better than they do to a loud mess of ideas.

I acknowledged it briefly, then went back to doing exactly what I’d always done.

Here is an example of randomly added saxophone which works a bit better:

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