Songs about the rain

The purpose of the entertainment (((industry))) is to corrupt everything it touches, starting with the talent that it recruits. In exchange for our balladeers’ souls it gives them the world. The Highwaymen, four talented men who made their careers in the diabolical industry. Kris Kristofferson likened Jesus Christ, approvingly, to Barabbas Che Guevara. Johnny Cash spent much of his long life extricating himself from the wreckage of his youthful hedonism. Willie Nelson pushed marijuana. Waylon Jennings never forgave himself for telling his friends “I hope your ol’ plane crashes.”


“Freedom’s just another word for…” That was then. There is always something left to lose. What follows is now.

Outrunning the rain:

… I walked five miles to meet a friend at a pub. This was at the height of last summer. Things were heavy after Charlottesville and there was an eclipse coming. At first, the heavy clouds to my south looked like they will pass me, but they were getting closer and blacker, taking on the greenish tinge one sees before a tornado. I walked in just as the downpour hit.

My friend arrived by car at the same time, as planned. We sat at a table by the window, with the thunderous pounding of the rain drowning out the conversation. He was in as somber a mood as I was that day. Our waitress stopped for a bit of small talk and shuddered, looking through the window. If anyone had asked me what’s on my mind, I’d have thought about if briefly and said: ___

The walk took place in the summer of 2017. That thought was completed for me in the comments:

so it will be before the walls of Gondor, the Great Battle of our Time

lotr1


Songs about the rain with no mention of the two greatest, November Rain and Purple Rain:

Adele, Set Fire to the Rain. One of the few fine recordings from the past 15 years.

Peter Gabriel, Red Rain. He has a lot to answer for, with his anti-Apartheid activism. Except if artists do not possess a free will, in which case he’s innocent. The artist as a passive conduit:

how does [art] become? I think there are three elements. One: the artist’s sub-rational openness to the transcendent; you can also call that authenticity, or sincerity. Two: artist the man as a medium; his purity or corruption, his originality in filtering the intangible on it way to material expression. Three: his technical skill [in delivering] the artifact faithfully to intent.

The artist is also susceptible to being manipulated by his handlers.

The Alarm, Rain in the Summertime. Northeastern Europe… childhood memory of birds singing after the summer storm passes.

Edie Brickell, A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall. Vocally, she’s to the song’s writer Bob Dylan as a mammal is to a scorpion. I haven’t listened to this in decades until just now and it was nice to hear it again.

Late 1980s, “Tommy” and I worked in a restaurant after school. Brickell’s What I Am was playing and the manager, a charismatic woman, said something flippant about that song. Tommy chuckled and said “Yeah, she thinks she’s God’s gift to alternative music.” I made friends with him earlier in high school. He had just moved in from another state and got sat next to me in math class. His intelligence as measured by the SAT was stratospheric. Soon enough he showed me his notebook of original poetry. There was an ode to the moon. Good times hanging out in his mom’s house, philosophizing to Pink Floyd (no drugs).

He dropped off the radar not long after high school. A mutual friend gets in contact with him thirty years later and learns that he had recently gone through a sex-change operation. If you knew Tommy, you’d not be caught off-guard by that. His once deep, resonant voice now sounds like a woman’s. He went to an extreme of self-injury seeking peace.

Willie Nelson, Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain. Shania Twain performs the vocals here, with the Old Master himself backing her on his own song. The highlight is Willie Nelson’s guitar solo halfway through the song. Talent is rare and you know it when you see it.

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St. Sylvester’s in July

How many of you here in the northern hemisphere miss the winter? All in good time. The European spirit runs on the four-seasons cycle. Here is the second-greatest pop act of all time, the Italian duo Albano Carrisi and Romina Power. They are performing at the 2018/2019 New Year’s Eve concert in Zakopane:

They sing these four of their hits:

  • “Ci Sara” (There will be) – a harmony of hope. Previously featured here.

Their performances of that song always end on a cliffhanger. The song ends with, loosely translated, “There will be a sweeter way of saying… I love you.” The two are divorced, so their fans want to see them reunited. They have four children, one of whom, Ylenia, went missing in New Orleans in 1994. Albano had a private investigator on the case for twenty years and believes that his daughter is dead. Romina believes that she’s still alive.

After their divorce, Albano went on to have a son and a daughter with a new girlfriend. He joked about doing his part to help Italy’s demographics.

The cliffhanger: at 3:30 the fans watch Albano pause just before the last three words as Romina looks on. Catering to their audience, he belts out: “Kochamy Was,” or “we love y’all!”

  • “Sharazan” [4:08] – a dream of a journey to magical lands
  • “Sempre Sempre” [9:07] – a romantic confession
  • “Felicita” [12:55] – an ode to joy, their greatest song. Previously featured here, along with great amateur cover performances.

They don’t perform “Libertà,” their serious song, but here it is.

The arc of life. They are young in the scene from a 1967 musical below. As I gather from the film’s plot summary, she is a rich debutante with her rich friends, he is a poor but talented suitor. Even her sexy patrician mother approves as she looks on. A great scene. Romina was preternaturally gorgeous when young; she’s about 16 that year, Albano is in his mid-twenties. As Jaded Jurist once remarked:

OMG they were cute in that piece. They make Sonny & Cher look like retarded muppets.

Here is the original post about this act. Albano is Italian, named in honor of his father who was on the WWII Albanian front during his birth. Romina is American or Mexican, depending on how that’s counted. She’s of mixed western European ancestry.

Someone who remembers the Sixties said that it was in fact a straightlaced decade. The hippie aesthetic didn’t catch on until the Seventies. Yeah, going by what those characters are wearing. The portal to Hell was reopened shortly after the election of George W. Bush.

Open thread.

The Death Of Hamlet

It’s my translation of Zbigniew Herbert’s “Elegy of Fortinbras” (1961). Fortinbras is William Shakespeare’s fictional Norwegian prince and conqueror of Denmark. He appears in the final scene of “Hamlet.” The themes that are of interest to us now:

  • The finality of the death of the old regime
  • The imposition of martial order over a cucked country (Mister President?)
  • The unbridgeable gap between Romanticism and Realism
  • Matter and spirit

Here is the musical interpretation. It is perfect. Below is the original and translated text, with my brief commentary in bold type leading off each verse.


Verse 1. – Fortinbras confesses of his fondness for the lifeless enemy. 

Teraz kiedy zostaliśmy sami możemy porozmawiać książę jak mężczyzna z mężczyzną
chociaż leżysz na schodach i widzisz tyle co martwa mrówka 

to znaczy czarne słońce o złamanych promieniach 

Now that we’re alone we can talk Prince man to man
though you lie on the stairs and see no more than a dead ant
nothing but a black sun with broken rays

Nigdy nie mogłem myśleć o twoich dłoniach bez uśmiechu 
i teraz kiedy leżą na kamieniu jak strącone gniazda 
są tak samo bezbronne jak przedtem To jest właśnie koniec 
Ręce leżą osobno Szpada leży osobno Osobno głowa 
I nogi rycerza w miękkich pantoflach

I could never think of your hands without smiling
and now that they lie on the stone like fallen nests
they are as defenseless as before The end is exactly this 
The hands lie apart The sword lies separate The head separate
and the knight’s feet in soft slippers


Verse 2. (1:35) – His eulogy shifts to from private to public matters. 

Pogrzeb mieć będziesz żołnierski chociaż nie byłeś żołnierzem
jest to jedyny rytuał na jakim trochę się znam 

You will have a soldier’s funeral though you weren’t a soldier 
it is the only ritual I am somewhat acquainted with

Nie będzie gromnic i śpiewu będą lonty i huk
kir wleczony po bruku hełmy podkute buty konie artyleryjskie 

werbel werbel wiem nic pięknego  

There will be no candles no singing there’ll be cannon fuses and salvos 
Crape dragged on cobblestones helmets studded boots artillery horses  
drumming drumming I know it’s nothing exquisite

to będą moje manewry przed objęciem władzy
trzeba wziąć miasto za gardło i wstrząsnąć nim trochę

those will be my maneuvers as I assume control
one has to take the city by the throat and shake it a bit


Verse 3. (2:46) – On Hamlet’s errors.

Tak czy owak musiałeś zginąć Hamlecie nie byłeś do życia
wierzyłeś w kryształowe pojęcia a nie glinę ludzką
żyłeś ciągłymi skurczami jak we śnie łowiłeś chimery
łapczywie gryzłeś powietrze i natychmiast wymiotowałeś 

Anyhow you had to perish Hamlet you were not for life
you believed in crystal notions not in human clay
always twitching as if asleep you hunted chimeras
wolfishly you bit at the air only to vomit

nie umiałeś żadnej ludzkiej rzeczy
nawet oddychać nie umiałeś

you couldn’t do a single human thing
you did not even know how to breathe


Verse 4. (3:35) – Candor, judgment, a touch of envy.

Teraz masz spokój Hamlecie zrobiłeś co do ciebie należało
i masz spokój Reszta nie jest milczeniem ale należy do mnie 

wybrałeś część łatwiejszą efektywny sztych 

Now you have peace Hamlet you accomplished what you had to
and you have peace The rest is not silence but it belongs to me
you chose the easier part an elegant thrust

lecz czymże jest śmierć bohaterska wobec wiecznego czuwania 
z zimnym jabłkiem w dłoni na wysokim krześle 

z widokiem na mrowisko i tarczę zegara 

but what is heroic death compared to eternal vigilance
with a cold apple in one’s hand on a raised chair
with a view on the anthill and on the clock’s dial


Verse 5. (4:23) – The two worlds part ways.

Żegnaj książę czeka na mnie projekt kanalizacji
i dekret w sprawie prostytutek i żebraków 

muszę także obmyślić lepszy system więzień 

gdyż jak zauważyłeś słusznie Dania jest więzieniem 

Adieu Prince I have tasks a sewer project
and a decree on prostitutes and beggars
I must also elaborate a better system of prisons
since as you justly said Denmark is a prison

Odchodzę do moich spraw Dziś w nocy urodzi się  
Gwiazda Hamlet Nigdy się nie spotkamy

To co po mnie zostanie nie będzie przedmiotem tragedii

I go to my affairs This night is born
a star named Hamlet We shall never meet
what I shall leave will not be the subject of a tragedy


Coda. (5:12) – The coffin is lowered but some things are immortal.

Ani nam witać się ani żegnać żyjemy na archipelagach
A ta woda te słowa cóż mogą cóż mogą książę

It is not for us to greet each other or bid farewell we live on archipelagos
and that water these words what can they do what can they do Prince


(open thread)

Such a Landscape

Harold Bloom memorably wrote that great literature either makes the familiar strange (Milton), or the strange familiar (Shakespeare). Let’s go with that. The landscape of Washington State was made, unforgettably, phantasmagoric in “Twin Peaks.” Poland’s landscape, the familiar roadside wildflowers and white birch forests, takes on a surreal atmosphere in “Such a Landscape,” as performed by Ewa Demarczyk in 1967.

I was curious about the background of this poem-song, and cursory search took me to what appears to be a fan-page (demarczyk.pl). There, I found a short analysis of her vocal interpretation of the song’s lyrics, which I translate here:

In this interpretation, the singer pays much less attention to the content, to the actual meaning of words. They only serve as vehicle for the building of mood. Especially, however, what becomes important in this work is the color and sound of these words… In “Landscape” Demarczyk blurs and obscures the phonics, allowing them to create a glittering, opalescent grid of sounds, interrupted once and again by a sharp syllable explosion. Her vocals, the prolonging of syllables and the special way of articulating them makes them swell with dramatic passion, creating a tense crescendo. “Such a landscape” evokes some unnamed visions, distant landscapes worthy of a Bosch’s or Böklin’s brush. Painful, perverse, and terrifying.


Ewa Demarczyk, “Taki Pejzaż” (Such a Landscape) – 1967

psy kulawe / lame dogs
stroją drogi / adorn the roadsides
diabeł dziewkom / the devil girls’
plącze nogi / legs entangles

drzewa kwiatom / trees to blossoms
kwiaty cierniom / blossoms to thorns
po marzeniach / over dreams
trupy biegną / the corpses run

taki pejzaż / such a landscape [x4]

nieraz zbrodniarz / sometimes a murderer
łzą zapłacze / sheds a tear
ślepy żebrak / a blind beggar
znajdzie pracę / finds a job

błędny ognik / an errant firethorn
ciemny parów / a dark ravine
bosy rycerz / a barefoot knight
złoty laur / a golden laurel

taki pejzaż / such a landscape [x4]

wiatry wieją / blowing winds
sosny krzywe / crooked pines
nieprzydatne / useless
lecz prawdziwe / but authentic

grajek piosnkę / a song from them
z nich wyładzi / a bard will weave
snem napoi / fill with slumber
gwiazdkę zdradzi / expose a star

będzie pejzaż / there’ll be a landscape
śpiewny rzewny / melodious wistful
taki pejzaż / such a landscape [x2]

grajek piosnkę / a song from them
z nich wyładzi / a bard will weave
snem napoi / fill with slumber
gwiazdkę zdradzi / expose a star

taki pejzaż / such a landscape [x4]

***

Lyrics: Andrzej Szmidt. Music: Zygmunt Konieczny

Pop Culture Never Dies

Putting aside the matter of whether or not I like today’s Top 40 sound — which skews heavily in favor of the right side of my pairings: feminine, glam, synth, etc. … — my question is: will it go on forever? Is today’s studio-centric hegemony a build-up to a hairpin turn toward performance-driven, sweaty musicianship — a playing out of history’s many earlier revolutions in mainstream sound — or … with apologies to Fukuyama, [is this] the end of music?

The above is a meditation on pop culture that segues into the adolescent’s phenomenon of psyche that you felt once too and maybe forgot.

Pop culture never dies — at least not as long as there is a medium of mass transmission. Back in the day, a friend’s mom told us that as you get older, you lose touch with popular culture until your own kids start following it, which is when you once again become interested in it.

Now, though, popular culture is fragmented. Naturally so, as Anglophone countries are a mess of alien cultures, which necessitates that the industry’s mass-distribution products cater to a watered-down lowest common denominator of sophistication and authenticity. People naturally coalesce around their own and gravitate to purer expressions of their temperament. And now, a new development makes the centralized entertainment industry less relevant and helps with niche-formation: the internet-driven dispersal of talent. One word: YouTubers.

There are several who are popular with White kids. The big names on that scene have hundreds of thousands of subscribers, millions of daily views, upper-bracket incomes from their channels. Collins Key is one such act. It’s two young California brothers, Collins and his younger bro Devan. Cool looking dudes, excellent positive energy, astounding creativity.

Their show is profanity-free and makes absolutely zero references to politics or culture-war stuff. What their act is, is hyper-energy slapstick, very often involving insanity with food. Representative episodes:

Devan’s wisdom teeth. If you or your friends have biological brothers, then you understand the bond. Beat each other up in childhood, have each other’s back for life. The younger brother Devan is under the influence of narcotics, having just come down off dental surgery. Funny as always, but you also see the fraternal bond.

Collins, who is recording this episode, gets on camera after the 11-minute mark… that’s when the yodeling starts. Now you’ve seen everything.

ck1

The messy twins telepathy challenge. (See the video below). The Merrell Twins are regular guests on Collins’ show. Pretty girls, and here they are mercilessly abused by Collins good and proper, and loving every moment of it. If I hadn’t mentioned it yet, the young man is a natural alpha and likable.

In that episode, the twin girls blurt out the name of their favorite band: Five Seconds Of Summer. Never heard of them, so I looked them up; “She Looks So Perfect” is one of their older songs. It’s from five years ago. It’s not a new style for a new generation; it sounds to me like classic Taylor Swift with its youthful energy and soft verse / hard chorus pattern that comes from grunge, which in turn is borrowed from 1980s alternative Rock.

The song’s video shows people having fun and, you know, stripping down to their underwear. I’m sure that’s a metaphor for being honest with each other, like those dreams everyone has about being naked. The aesthetic is California (mostly) blond. What’s not to like in seeing nothing but kin faces? The video does show diversity: age, body type, socioeconomic status — a full social ecosystem. What you ask — what about the you-know-what-I-mean Diversity? I know not of what you speak. All the diversity that needs be shown is right there in that music video.

Back to “The Messy Twins Telepathy Challenge.” It’ll put a huge smile on your face:

A Dark Original

Suburban_elk wrote song lyrics in the traditional mode:

Verse:
As I was walking out this morning
I spied a lass and fair
with silver bells upon her ankles
and marbles in her hair

Her hair was blonde and silver
and skin a milky white

Muh dick a called a to me
Let’s give this girl a fright!

Refrain:
A fright a fear
A life to lose
A love to loss my dear!
A jingle jangle signal clear
u’neath the stars tonite!

Verse:
So says I, come hither miss
let’s walk unto the wood
I’ve a present for you fair young lass
will do you milks some good!

Come and follow, trust me now
and tell not your brother where

we’ll have you back ‘fore dinnertime
and fed and groomed aright

Refrain:
A thrill to have
a love to make
what else for us to?
the flowers bloom the birds a flight
a sign for me and you!

Conclusion:
And so we went into the wood
returned from there but one
she’d not have known what waited
nor why for love begone


(c) 2019 Suburban_elk

He leaves the musical interpretation up to the performing artist:

As with most real world things, it’s in the execution … The theme featured above, dark as it is, is not an uncommon theme. The idea of getting a girl to go along with you, and then raping and killing her, is something that happens enough that they make songs about it. For instance the American Traditional, Pretty Polly

I courted pretty Polly, the live long day [x2]
then left her in the morning, before the break of day

uses a simpler chord structure of two minor chords, D-minor and G-minor 7.

The D-minor is a somber sound. The opening line of Rammstein’s great Ohne Dich (Without You) begins with the Dm chord and ends on A-minor: “Ich werde in die Tannen gehen” (I will go into the woods). The Romantic/Gothic story of an abducted object of a madman’s love comes up in Falco’s Jeanny. The late vocalist Johann Hölze had the perfect male speaking voice.

Night Radio

hopper2

Suburban_elk paints the night brilliantly:


Local radio stations, New Year’s Eve! “count downs”

1. Classic Rock, KQ — the 100 best New Year’s Eve party tunes. No exag, that is what their list was called. Status signaling here: I enjoyed some classic rock on the way to the gym, but already can’t remember the specific tunes. But the takeaway is that this classic rock station, which is a classic rock station even by the dinosaur standards of classic rock stations, no longer hosts parties downtown, BUT hasn’t given up the ghost and is in fact, still, rocking out.

2. The Alternative Hipster Station, “the Current” — the 90 best Locally Sourced [I kid you not, that’s what they were billed as] songs from the past year. This station is so hipster central that it literally figuratively literally figuratively, literally, decreases the size of your already beset penis, simply by listening to it. Except sometimes they play some good stuff too.

It’s in the favorite alternative format of a college radio station that is super hip, because even though we went to college and are not still in it for a long time, we’re still young at heart; or something. I find it interesting how they have to try and strapple the line, which line consists of two or three or four, or five, quadrants, if you will. In one corner, good stuff by local Whites (who are not dead); and in another “world” type stuff which I am sorry to say, is often good, if one is able to put aside one’s politics.

It is what it is: sensitive African niggers sing songs.

The funny thing about that radio station is the “scene” that they try to represent and spearhead and figurehead. It’s the Hipster Scene, and as we know that scene is befraught with difficulties: trying to be White and celebrate diversity at the same time. One of said tension’s primary fractal expressions, is in the “cool wine aunt” personalities that the female DJ’s have, who try and put on a good voice despite their shriveling wombs.

One such miserably positioned show host was “literally” gushing from her vagina lips about this Ethiopian scenester musician immigrant who loves Bob Dylan and that’s one of the reasons he “chose” to live here. Levels of bugwoman confusion feelz that shouldn’t even be possible.

The song that the DJ played for us, and orgasm’d to, was actually a neat fusion world pop, and soulful. The guy in fact does have a well developed soulful singing voice. Those guys have a musical tradition which reflects their diverse history in the highlands of Ethiopia or something. This is new “good restaurants” and I don’t mean to promulgate this hipster meme as an excuse to celebrate diversity and ease us on off the World Stage to make room for the replacements.

Just a-sayin, it was a good song. I AM SORRY! … As a matter of principle, I try not to “like” other folkways anymore. It can be challenge though, refluffing the feathers of the Firebird, because it’s in such bad shape. Our own folkways done got paved over by “Progress”.

The Progress that paved them over was the Progress bemoaned of by Uncle Ted, and not the progress of cult Marx politics. It is interesting that the same word is sometimes used for both things. Those are separate problems but they conjoined to sweep in on us as a perfect storm.


Earlier thoughts about the two kinds of progress.