Denny Sinnoh's "Akihabara Starlight"

Posts tagged ‘Songwriters’

“… I’m certain as a lost dog … pondering a sign post…”

… Which is probably another way of being … not very certain?

Those words are a nice lyrical image from the song I would like to share today —  “I Want to Vanish” by Elvis Costello. The version provided here by a YouTube user is a clip from his special concert called “The Case for Song”.  Indeed it was a great VHS tape from the mid 1990s, however Netflix has the DVD if you are interested. Please let me know if you ever find it in a bargain bin.

The song is from his 1996 album “All This Useless Beauty” — one of my favorite records by him – (cough) — although this particular tune was NOT one of the ones which I liked on the album (The full album is linked here). I usually would skip this particular song. There were others — Distorted Angel, You Bowed Down and the title track which I liked a lot more.

EC 320px-ATUB_album_cover_large

The other day however, I caught the song, thought about it and … well … I finally got it. (Denny slaps head.) My friends know that I can be that oblivious, insensitive lout.

Notable here is how Costello’s (or McManus’) voice breaks at various points during the song. One of the enjoyable attributes about Elvis’ (i.e. Declan’s) many emotional songs is that “his voice always breaks at just the right time.”  Unfortunately, in the year’s following the this album, especially in the late 2000’s his voice started to become ALL BREAK. His recent records all sound terrible. His singing has gotten pretty bad, and the songwriting is just not there anymore*. I used to have a lot of respect for this washed-up, overly opinionated, fat bastard, but he has made it rather difficult in recent years.

… oh … Ahem … Yes, I can be an insensitive lout … but from where, and from who — did I learn that? Another coincidence — I actually owned the same polka-dot pattern shirt he wears here. Some amazing toss of the cosmic dice. Wait … I wonder if there is such a thing as a “cosmic” tossed salad? No matter … and yes, I have digressed, as per usual.

The studio version (linked here) is a little clearer, but I prefer the more emotive live performance above, mistakes and all.

If you like puzzling song lyrics, please enjoy “I Want to Vanish”

I want to vanish
This is my fondest wish
To go where I cannot be captured
Laid on a decorated dish
Even in splendor this curious fate
Is more than I care to surrender
Now it’s too late

Whether in wonder or indecent haste
You arrange the mirrors and the spools
To snare the rare and precious jewels
That were only made of paste

If you should stumble upon my last remark
I’m crying in the wilderness
I’m trying my best to make it dark
How can I tell you I’m rarer than most
I’m certain as a lost dog
Pondering a sign post

[Chorus]

I want to vanish
This is my last request
I’ve given you the awful truth
Now give me my rest

To leave on a positive note, here is a non-Costello version of his song sung live by what looks to be a high school band in this 2015 YT video.  This is a rather obscure song choice for cute teenage girls to sing.

Really odd.  I can verify that in the 1970s and 80s, being an Elvis Costello fan was a very effective girl repelent . Admittedly, not as foul of a girl repellent as being a Star Trek fan however. The girls participating here could not be any more endearing. I have to wonder how they were put up to it. Perhaps their music teacher was a Costello aficionado … or maybe they just lost a bet. At any rate … good work kids! Better you should bring the lyric sheet next time though.

————————————————————————————————–

* or perhaps I have just moved on to Hanako Oku to take care of me emotionally. She looks better in the glasses anyway.

ho glasses dark de7f00abf46a102b8f44db3c07e8f963

Starlight: Giving you “the awful truth” for a thousand days now. 

“I somehow see what’s beautiful, in things that are ephemeral …”

I somehow see what's beautiful

I get a lot of (guff) sometimes for the music that I like. Yeah, I liked the Beatles, but then who in my generation didn’t? That might be our only common ground. I can’t say I have ever liked too much of the mainstream — and still don’t. Also, most kids today listen to rap, and as I’ve always said, I have never heard a rap song which I liked.

In the late 70s and early 80s I liked punk rock/new wave long before it became popular. I got a lot of “Get Away From Me Man” or actually “Don’t Touch Me Man” — because I liked Devo and Elvis Costello. When I told Maury down at the Deli that I like the Japanese Idol genre, he replied “Yu dah WHAT …?” with his hands gesturing out like he usually does like that … well, you would have to know Maury.

Ahem … I will try to stay positive today as I will share one of my favorite songs by one of my favorite American groups: She & Him. “I Thought I Saw Your Face Today” is from their great 2008 debut album, titled simply: Volume 1. The song is written by Zooey Deschanel. She & Him are considered an “indie” pop rock group.

Of course, Zooey-chan is mainly known as a TV and movie actress, but I also think that she is a great, but very under-rated songwriter. (Before you say “Get Away From Me Man”, read what I wrote about this subject on another post, some time back, linked here.) The song reminds me a lot of John Lennon’s “Across the Universe”. In fact, I think that Zooey writes and performs well in a retro-1960s Beatles/Beach Boys- type-style. Let us take a listen, then we will discuss it. (Scroll down for lyrics.)

While listening to the song on YourTube, I came across a number of fan cover songs. Most of these were made back when Volume 1 came out. I especially like the 3rd one down. She did a great job of putting a real music video together.

All are lovely young women, with a lot of spirit. They each bring a unique something to the song. If you ever wonder if there is anything good, and positive in this world, look at these dear hearts. There is a glimpse of the best of humanity. Young ladies — singing a personal song they love.  (Denny choking up a bit.) These are all beautiful moments captured. Like an old photograph — or better yet — like a dragonfly trapped in amber during the early Cretaceous Period, the talent, beauty, and warmth of these life affirming young women are preserved by YourTube — and are still here for us to enjoy.

… Wait a minute, it has only been eight years — perhaps it is the nostalgic echo of the song which made me drop my cup-of-time … the ladies are still here. They probably all just graduated nursing school.

Music and lyrics  – by Zooey Deschanel

I thought
I saw your face today
But I just
Turned my head away
Your face
Against the trees
But I just see
The memories
As they come
As they come
And I couldn’t help
But fall in love again
No I couldn’t help
But fall in love again

I saw it glitter
As I grew
And loved it
Boy, I never knew
I thought this place
Was heaven sent
But now
It’s just a monument
In my mind
In my mind
And I couldn’t help
But fall in love again
No I couldn’t help
But fall in love again

The cars and freeways
That implore me to stay away
Out of this place
My mother said
Just keep your head
And play it as it lays

The cars and freeways
That implore me
To stay away
Out of this place
My mother said
Just keep your head
And play it as it lays

I somehow see
What’s beautiful in things
That are ephemeral
I’m my only friend, am I?
Love is just
A piece of time
In your world
In the world

And I couldn’t help
But fall in love again
No I couldn’t help
But fall in love again
No I couldn’t help
But fall in love again
No I couldn’t help
But fall in love again
No I couldn’t help
But fall in love again

Discussion: I love the lyrics. They are simple, but straightforward and honest.  Maybe a little mystical and paradoxical. One mistake I made  — until I looked up the lyrics — was that I misheard the line “And loved it boy — I never knew”. I thought I heard: “I loved a boy I never knew” which to me — sounded all reverse-time moving/paradoxical involving. Sometimes when you fall in love with someone, you instantly “recognize” them as someone you have always known, or should have known, even if you never met them before…if that could make any sense. A good song may transcend reality. I hope you can find your own meaning in this song. Thanks, Z.D.

You can find the guitar chords out there on the InterWebs. A free example is linked here.

https://tabs.ultimate-guitar.com/s/she_him/i_thought_i_saw_your_face_today_crd.htm

Starlight: She and Him “Volume 1” was released on March 18, 2008. What a great record.

This is a very shaky-poor-sounding-illegal recording from those eight years ago at a concert in New York City. Note that Zooey does her own whistling!  

Image

“Spanish Was Her Loving Tongue …”

tt mexicanpin-up

“… but She she never spoke Spanish to me …”

texas tornados cd cover thanks bob

I want to share a great song from 1990, by a very good –but not well known — Texas-Mexican group the Texas Tornados.

The members were Freddy FenderFlaco JiménezAugie Meyers, and Doug Sahm (wiki links there).  I love this song. The original music and lyrics were by Texas singer-songwriter Butch Hancok. Please enjoy the accordion, the simplicity, the beauty, the mysticism, and my forlorn regrets of a lost love from long ago …

I met her in old Mexico
She would live in sad and young
This smokey room where no one could see
Her favorite poets all agree
Spanish is a loving tongue
But she never spoke Spanish to me

She was born in Monterrey
And all the Christmas songs were sung
Padres knew what she would grow up to be
Saints and sinners all agree
Spanish is a loving tongue
But she never spoke Spanish to me

Like a lion screaming in the jungle low
She’d never fool with things she couldn’t see
She spoke to all the shadows in her bungalow
But she never spoke Spanish to me

She said if you’re from Texas, so
Where’s your boots and where’s your gun
Well, I got guns that no one can see
Well, after that we both agreed
Spanish is a loving tongue
But she never spoke Spanish to me
Well, she never spoke Spanish to me

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

——————————–

When I first hear this, I thought that the part about the lady “speaking Spanish” was a metaphor about how she would … ahem … moan words in Spanish when she was in the “moment’ … ah … if you know what I mean. If she was not just faking, and … um … er … having a REAL ONE, she would let loose in Spanish … at least according to what the other “poets” claimed.

The poor guy, he never got to hear her speak Spanish. She could never truly love him.

I like the Tex-Mex-Native mystical aspects of that line “She spoke to all the shadows in her bungalow” but never to him.  On the surface it may seem like a simple song, yet it does have its mystical qualities.

Like the protagonist in the song, I also feel that “I got guns that no one can see” — even if I do not look the part of the Texan.

Starlight: My amigo Roberto — “Ella Tiene Dos Sillas Grande!” — Los Gatos de Jacobs gave me this great record (CD) for my Birthday in 1990.  Buenos Nachos Bob!

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