Today’s post by Jim seems unnervingly timely. I’ve really never understood how he seems to have this propensity of doing this thing where, I go to write something for the blog …. have a theme of something in my mind and then before I’ve even aired it or posted about it – HE posts something that ties in with my line of thinking.
All coincidence of course, but it happens with some degree of regularity and…it can feel a bit…strange and wonderful.
So…I had started thinking about this last night, and was formulating something to do with it. I had actually done a recording of my thoughts and had thought about uploading and posting, but then changed my mind. My voice annoys the fuck out of me, esp. with that stupid nervous laugh that I have that I can’t seem to escape from! Thank god I can’t actually talk to Jim, because if I could, he’d hear what a complete fuckwit I sound like – with my still sometimes broad Aussie accent hybrid thing with some glottal stopping estuary English in between. (Example – no one comes from LuTon – they all come from “Loo – on”)
So, I was reclining on my bed, little Zoom recorder on (not to be confused with the video conference app thing) and wanting to reply to Jim in some way about the Easter playlist he did. It was a bit late to reply with an Easter theme – even though he had asked us for a fave Easter track. I don’t think he much cares for our choices these days. There used to be some replies in the past. He’d respond to people. Tell them they’d made a good choice, or likewise, etc. None of that really happens much now – more’s the pity.
I miss that MUCH more than the gigs…hand on heart honesty. I miss my interactions with him far more than the gigs. Yep! That’s how silly I am!
ANYWAY…so, it couldn’t be Easter. And then I was thinking, wondering what his next theme for choosing tracks might be. I have no idea. And my idea about this, and thought on it are probably pissing in the wind…but here goes.
It lead me to think about the songs that made me cry the first time I heard them. Ah, yes! That’s how I got there! Because he had chosen an Arvo Part piece. He always seemed to rib me for choosing Spiegel Im Spiegel. I was surprised to see an Arvo Part piece in his Easter choices as a consequence.
And then that was it – the “Tears” theme was there in front of me.
My choices, video links and reasons behind each choice follow:
Arvo Part – Spiegel Im Spiegel
I think the first time I heard it, it was being used on a soundtrack for something. A TV show of some sort. Back when I watched TV. So, it has just become synonymous with those emotions. A beautiful, simplistic piece that just tugs at the heart strings.
Samuel Barber – Adagio For Strings
The closing scene of The Elephant Man – that is all I can say.
David Bowie – A New Career In A New Town
I first got into Bowie heavily in 1985. My eldest brother, Roy, was just about to move house and he had nowhere to put his record collection. He had been keeping them in his car but in was heading into summer, and you know what Oz summers are like. His records were getting warped and so he had asked mum if he could keep his records at our house until he’d moved into his new place. So suddenly there were all these Bowie records I could listen to and I lapped it up!
The first time I listened to Low, I remember being floored by it. At that age and time, it was not something I would usually find myself liking. I didn’t really like classical music then. Even now, I don’t really go and seek it out. Words and lyrics in songs always meant much more to me. I’d be intrigued by words and would be more often taken with how the words and lyrics sounded. That was what usually got me hooked to a song most of all. A tune is all fine – the beat and rhythm of course play their part. But it was the words that really did it. I’d want to learn the lyrics and sing along. Until this album.
I had never heard anything like it and was absolutely blown away. The track that blew me away most of all? A New Career In A New Town. That opening synth melody and soft drum. It’s just so simple and it sets the rhythm of the piece. And then that harmonica playing too. I don’t know why it captured me as it did, really, but at the end of listening to it the first time, there were tears in my eyes and goosebumps on my skin.
It has been from that point on my favourite David Bowie track.
The Beatles – Blackbird
Of course, Jim talked about it in a pervious post. It’s one of those ones that’s uplifting ultimately. Most of the songs that make me cry end up being uplifting at the end. I think that’s what makes them so emotional.
Kraftwerk – Kometenmelodie 2
Silly, sad, sycophancy Nancy moment, here…because this is how my love for this track and it’s emotional pull came about. During one of those endless “persona non grata” ‘rejection’ things I go through with His Sirness of Kerrness – the very first one, in fact…still back in Oz in early 2016, I started listening to more Kraftwerk. I liked the things I heard of theirs but had never really gone out of my way to listen to their stuff. I started listening to Autobahn – like, REALLY LISTENING to the album from start to finish. Just, settle into bed at night and have it play. Every time it got to Kometen.2 it just had OMG the most beautiful melody and I’d just start crying buckets.
La Dusseldorf – Rheinita
I was listening to Iggy Pop on Radio 6 Music doing his Sunday afternoon presenting slot and he played it. I had honestly never heard it before and I was just crying and crying as it played. Beautiful. Just beautiful.
Talking Heads – This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody)
And so, yes, things with a melody make me cry! But it’s the lyrics too.
John Grant – I’m not sure I can choose just one of his! The whole experience of seeing him live leaves me in a sobbing mess. He tends to end a show with Glacier and then I am in sheds of tears because of these words:
It is a glacier moving through you
And carving out deep valleys
And creating spectacular landscapes
And nourishing the ground
With precious minerals and other stuff
So don’t you become paralysed with fear
When things seem particularly rough
Honourable mentions of other JG songs include Vietnam, Where Dreams Go To Die, You Don’t Have To and Queen Of Denmark.
Apart from the first first two I’ve chosen, all are modern pieces. So I was thinking about songs before the 60s, pre “hit parade” modern music. Old crooners and the like. I have always enjoyed listening to Bing Crosby. And there are others I like too, Billie Holiday, Nat King Cole and Danny Kaye. Billie Holiday can sing the phone book and make me burst into tears. There is just such pain and emotion in her voice. From Bing it has always been Swinging On A Star. Silly the songs that can be the most optimist and shining with hope can be the ones that make me cry the most – we’ll come back to that! With Nat, it’s his version of Mona Lisa. Those lines “many dreams have been brought to your doorstep / they just lie there and the die there / are you warm, are you real, Mona Lisa? / or just a cold and lonely, lovely work of art”
Back to modern times and I couldn’t leave out my most favourite song of them all:
Jimmy Ruffin – What Becomes Of The Brokenhearted
And there’s eternal hope and optimism ultimately in that too. There are lines at the end that just seem to say “I WILL find love! I WILL find someone for me! I won’t always be alone. There IS someone out there for me!” It’s just beautiful.
And so, here we are. Final choice. A Simple Minds song. Oh, there are some contenders here! Spirited Away, first time I heard it. Likewise, Silent Kiss. For the longest time…I don’t know why…maybe because it has a kind of musical kinship to A New Career In A New Town for me, Kant Kino. You can’t NOT mention those opening lines to Someone Somewhere In Summertime. Charlie’s guitar solo on This Earth That You Walk Upon – and Jim’s lines after that solo “gleaming edge of light, shines so, shines so hard”. Seeing Out The Angel….
But the one that always did it, at least to begin with – just…overwhelmed me was Wonderful In Young Life. I’d go over old ground trying to explain it again so I will leave a link to my “Why I love…” post about Wonderful In Young Life just HERE
Thanks for reading. Let’s see what Jim does for his Spotify playlist for next month.
Below is a Spotify playlist of the tracks – with added Danny Kaye.