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The Other Side of Everything

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Written on March 30, 2005, and categorized as Secret and Invisible.
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There is a line which runs parallel to our own history, and that’s the history of our songs.

We all have our preferences as to style, but wherever you come from, there still exists a universal commonality of the auditory experience which is music. Even with the splintering of audiences and the proliferation of completely personalised media feeds, all music meets in the streets. Most people out there don’t give a flying fuck about genre. You know, he knows, she knows that song, the one we know whether we want to know it or not. The one that magics into your mind on a push of a memory button. the one you can’t get out of your head.

I have been amazed by the insidiousness of music. Some styles seems to have universal appeal. I’ve never been anywhere where the people don’t like reggae music. Having said that, you definitely wouldn’t find me at a Nazi convention. My point is that music gets EVERYWHERE.

You cannot avoid some tunes. Some you hear repeated to the point of nausea. I went to the remotest place I could afford and heard Dire Straits’ Romeo and Juliet. But I’ll never forget the Amazonian stone-aged tribe’s rendition of Smells Like Teen Spirit. Massive.

It’s not just tunes, beats, hooks, or productions that we respond to – above all it’s songs which say things, which delight, inspire, disturb, define, celebrate, get under our skin, sell everything we buy, and enter the social fabric which wraps us all.

This history of all of our songs belongs to us all, and it runs like a multi-coloured line alongside our individual lives, mapping our collective course, informing our personal history and local cultural identity, and weaving a Bayeux Tapestry for us to follow.

Songs are thermometers. You can take the cultural temperature of a time – or even define a time – by it’s songs, and you really can’t tell always what songs are going to be the ones which say something true and meaningful, until afterwards. Sometimes you can. I mean, it’s a tried and tested songwriter’s formula to pick something which is making news at the time and write something appropriate. Which brings me to the subject of songwriters.

“We use songs to tell us where we are, to navigate through this mad thing we call life” – Fran Healy.

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One Comment

  1. transience
    Posted 31 March, 2005 at 4:02 am | Permalink

    that was a lovely piece of writing. of course i have to be serious when i say that as a musician, you can pick out such striking riffs and make them your own.

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