Wednesday 22 July 2015
This isn’t the post that I intended to publish today. In fact, this is one that I whipped up because the one that I really wanted to write just wouldn’t play nicely with me. As I’m sure some of my Facey friends will know, I have what I think is a great title for a story but the story itself simply didn’t want to co-operate with me. At least it’s not right at this moment. It will . . . eventually . . . even if I have to pry it out of my imagination with a crowbar. Okay, maybe that was a lil dramatic, but that’s how I feel when I think of that great title and no story to go with it yet.
Anyway, I started thinking about people I have a thing for. Aaaaannd that came out sounding so different from how it sounded in my head. I should have learned that lesson by now, right? Self-censor before you write, Dan, self-censor before you write. Specifically I was thinking about music, hence the title of this post that I borrowed from Roxette because it’s the name of one of their songs. Getting to the point, I’ve been stuck on some music for a while, and I’m not talking about the songs that I’ve loved forever, or at least since I heard them in my youth. No, I’m talking about some songs that are more recent. This post covers the ladies’ side of things, and the men I’ve got a thing about will be the objects, umm I mean the subjects, the subjects of the second part of the post next week.
For example, I’ve got a bit of a thing for Katy Perry. Well, not actually Katy Perry, but two of her songs: ‘Unconditionally’, and ‘Dark Horse’. I did have ‘Roar’ in there a while back, but after having done an assembly item with a class of kids, and having used that song as our item, it’s fair to say that I’ve gone off it. To the extent that I skip over it every time it pops up on my iPod playlists. In fact, I should probably delete it. I really can’t handle it anymore. But ‘Unconditionally’, oh dear Lord, I love this song, music and lyrics. Often it’s just the music or just the lyrics that get to me, but in this case, I like the whole lot. As in everything – the vocal delivery, the music, the lyrics, the production, the video clip, everything.
Now ordinarily, I’m rather partial to what I call a ‘victim’ song, and I don’t believe that I coined that phrase. I have a vague recollection that I heard Barbra Streisand refer to a specific style of song as a ‘victim’ song. You know the ones where the woman is trying to keep the man, and she wants to know what she’s done wrong, and if that’s why he doesn’t love her anymore, and then she’s all ‘I’ll do anything for you and to keep you, just tell me what to do’. Katy Perry’s ‘Unconditionally’ is not one of those songs. This song gets me from the first couple of lines: ‘Oh no, did I get too close?/Oh, did I almost see what’s really on the inside?’ Then the entirety of the second verse, oh, oh that’s good: ‘Come just as you are to me/Don’t need apologies/Know that you are worthy/I’ll take your bad days with your good/Walk through the storm I would/I do it all because I love you, I love you’.
And BAM! there it is, full of awesome.
With ‘Dark Horse’, my Katy Perry thing continues. It’s a kinda sassy lil number: ‘I knew you were/You were gonna come to me/And here you are/But you better choose carefully/‘Cause I, I’m capable of anything/Of anything and everything/Make me your Aphrodite/Make me your one and only/But don’t make me your enemy, your enemy, your enemy’. Yep, don’t make me your enemy – what’s not to love about singing that lyric?! Not so keen on Juicy J’s rap because, frankly, comparing a woman to Jeffrey Dahmer is really not any sort of way to ensure that the woman is going to fall for you. Juicy, methinks someone needs to teach you a lil bit about hitting on women. And of course, the video clip for this song is great. Anyone who knows me knows that I do love a bit of Egyptian stuff, even if it is schlocky, tacky, and not particularly truly Egyptian. 😉
I also have a thing for a bit of Lana Del Rey, ‘Summertime Sadness’ and ‘Gods And Monsters’ in particular. Admittedly, I first heard a cover version of ‘Summertime Sadness’ before I heard the original, and let me tell you, get your hands on the cover version by Within Temptation because Sharon den Adel is a fabulous singer. However, as it’s Lana’s number, she does a killer original of it. Lana’s version is slower, more languid, and gritty sounding tune, whereas Within Temptation’s is more upbeat, but gothic sounding. I especially love the lead in to the chorus: ‘Oh, my God, I feel it in the air/Telephone wires above are sizzling like a snare/Honey, I’m on fire, I feel it everywhere/Nothing scares me anymore’. That imagery of the telephone wires sizzling like a snare sung in Del Rey’s laid-back vocals is something special.
‘Gods & Monsters’ on the other hand is an entirely gritty song, and I love it. Hard to pick out a specific lyric that draws me in with this one because it’s really the whole song that suckered me in . . . and all because Jessica Lange sang it on an episode of ‘American Horror Story: Freak Show’. After that, I just had to hear the original. ‘In the land of Gods and Monsters/I was an Angel/Living in the garden of evil’ – Del Rey writes some pretty sweet imagery. And there are a couple of lines about God that got me: ‘Put your hands on my waist, do it softly/Me and God, we don’t get along so now I sing’ and also ‘I don’t really wanna know what’s good for me/God’s dead, I said ‘baby that’s alright with me’’ Beautiful lyrics.
Most of you will know Sophie B. Hawkins from her songs ‘Damn, I Wish I Was Your Lover’, and ‘As I Lay Me Down’ which are both really good songs, but I lean towards ‘Right Beside You’, and the much lesser known number ‘Strange Thing’ (which has apparently been renamed ‘Walking In My Blue Jeans’) from her album Timbre. With this song, I’m more drawn to the lyrics than the music. However, having said that, the melody of the chorus is not so much catchy but fitting of the lyrics, and it’s the chorus that, for me, is the best part of the song: ‘I hardly recognize myself, it’s such a strange thing/To find another woman walking in my blue jeans/I’ve come so far and I’ve been so long away from home/I’d like a photograph whose image is still changing/The letter that I never sent to you explaining/All I want is a place for my heart to belong’. Again, imagery of not recognising oneself, finding another woman walking in one’s jeans – it’s obviously not a literal concept, but more perhaps, a concept of having grown into someone else because of circumstances. Still, maybe that’s just my interpretation of it. But I love it.
There are many, many people I have things for, musically speaking, but I have to cover Sarah McLachlan in this post. Oh, do I have a thing for her! Let me tell you – ‘Possession’, ‘Ice Cream’, ‘Fumbling Towards Ecstasy’, ‘Good Enough’, ‘Do What You Have To Do’, ‘Full Of Grace’, ‘Building A Mystery’, ‘Fallen’ . . . above all others, ‘Building A Mystery’ and ‘Fallen’ do it for me. And then there was the song Sarah wrote for the stage production of King Kong entitled ‘What’s It Gonna Take’. I must say that I do get a lil bit weepy when I hear this one. Lyrics like: ‘Since I was a girl I dreamed of a different life/Far away in the lights/But now I’m here staring into the face of the unknown/And who was I to think I could fool them/When I don’t even know who I am/What’s it gonna take to make me worthy/What’s it gonna take to make me strong/I don’t have much to give, I’ve only just begun to live/ So how do I become somebody new/How do I begin to make this happen/How will I believe and see this through/When I feel so unready and I feel so alone’. All I’ll say about this is, yes, absolutely. Make of that what you will, and do give the song a listen.
And lastly, I have definitely got a thing about Heart. First up is ‘Stranded’, and it’s a ‘victim’ song. And yet, when Nancy Wilson start belting it out it really doesn’t seem to sound too much like a poor, helpless me number. Well, not as much as if someone with a lesser set of lungs were to sing it. Then there’s ‘What About Love?’, a classic Heart song. Now, at this point, I’m sure that if you a) are familiar with the song, and b) know enough about me, you’re probably having a good ol’ giggle at the fact that I think this is a brilliant song. Yes, I know that lyrics like ‘I’ve been lonely/I’ve been waiting for you/I’m pretending and that’s all I can do/The love I’m sending/Ain’t making it through to your heart’ and ‘What about love/Don’t you want someone to care about you/What about love/Don’t let it slip away/What about love/I only want to share it with you/You might need it someday’ are not my cup of tea. Actually, you’re probably thinking that I’d laugh in the face of these lyrics. You’re probably right, but I do enjoy belting these out as best as I can with my inferior-to-Nancy-and-Ann-Wilson vocal skills.
Sticking with Heart, I think you’d be remiss if you didn’t have a listen to ‘I Didn’t Want To Need You’ which, again, is probably not a song that any of my friends would think that I’d even remotely be down with. *Cue the sound of a buzzer* Wrong. Totally incorrect. This song is my kinda music. Okay, so lyrics like ‘I can’t get no sleep/’Coz I keep thinking of you all through the night, oh yeah/My eyes can’t wait to see you again/My arms can’t wait to hold you tight’ and ‘I didn’t wanna to need you, oh no/I didn’t wanna want you like I do/I didn’t mean to fall/Didn’t wanna care at all/I didn’t wanna need you/Like I need you now’ might ordinarily make me want to vomit because of the level of saccharine, but have the Wilson sisters sing it, and I’m weak at the knees with those words.
Hmmm, looking back on these songs, and I might be misconstrued as being a bit of a romantic. Don’t get any of those sorta ideas because I’m definitely not. And in a bid to distract you from that idea, I’ll mention again that next week’s post, part two, will cover the men that I have a thing about . . . musically speaking.
* * * * *
Unconditionally – K. Perry, L. Gottwald, M. Martin, & H. Walter
Dark Horse – K. Perry, J. Houston, M. Martin, H. Walter, L. Gottwald, & S. Hudson
Summertime Sadness – L. Del Rey, & R. Nowels
Gods & Monsters – L. Del Rey, & T. Larcombe
Strange Thing – S. B. Hawkins
What’s It Gonna Take – S. McLachlan
Stranded – J. Harrington, & J. Kyle
What About Love? – J.D. Vallance, B. Allen, &S. Alton
I Didn’t Want To Need You – D. Warren
* * * * *
Footnote:1. I don’t own the copyright of any of these songs, and I apologise if I’ve left any songwriter off of the credits list. 2. Diane Warren, I love you. You have written so many songs that I have loved, and still do love. You are, in my mind, the ultimate songwriter, the epitome of songwriters. So, so brilliant.