New Music Monday – Special New Year’s Eve Mash-Up of Zooey Deschanel & Lou Reed

Zooey

34. lou_reed

Hell yeah…it’s New Music Monday! This week, it’s my special New Year’s Eve Mash-Up of Zooey Deschanel’s version of “What are you doing New Year’s Eve?” and Lou Reed’s “Goodnight Ladies”. Happy New Year everybody!

If you can’t play the song or are on an iPhone or Android phone, click here.

What are you doing New Year’s Eve?/ Goodnight ladies

Maybe it’s much too early in the game
Ooh, but I thought I’d ask you just the same
What are you doing New Year’s
New Year’s Eve?

Wonder whose arms will hold you good and tight
When it’s exactly twelve o’clock that night
Welcoming in the New Year

Maybe I’m crazy to suppose
I’d ever be the one you chose
Out of a thousand invitations
You received

Ooh, but in case I stand one little chance
Here comes the jackpot question in advance:
What are you doing New Year’s
New Year’s Eve?

Goodnight ladies, ah, ladies goodnight
It’s time to say goodbye
Goodnight sweet ladies, oh, ladies goodnight
It’s time to say goodbye, bye-bye

Oh, I’m still missing my other half
It must be something I did in the past
Don’t it just make you wanna laugh
It’s a lonely Saturday night

Nobody calls me on the telephone
I put another record on my stereo
But I’m still singing a song of you
It’s a lonely Saturday night

Something tells me that you’re really gone
You said we could be friends, but that’s not what I want
Ah, anyway, my TV-dinner’s almost done
It’s a lonely Saturday night
I mean to tell you, it’s a lonely Saturday night
One more time, it’s a lonely Saturday night

Ooh, but in case I stand one little chance
Here comes the jackpot question in advance:
What are you doing New Year’s
New Year’s Eve?

Written by Frank Loesser/Lou Reed

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What can Writers Learn from Songwriters – Lou Reed

lou_reed

The previous posts on this topic focused on Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen and Neil Young. All songwriters who could be said to have something in common. Not so, this post’s subject. Lou Reed is an enigma: the dark prince of rock n’ roll, if you will. But his lyrics have many things to teach the budding writer, not the least of which is: honesty.

Honesty in writing is a tough gig. Who wants to bare their soul for all the world to see? But then, isn’t that what the best writers do? If it is, then Reed is one of the best of them all. Beginning with his work in the Velvet Underground in the mid ‘60s, straight out of the gate, Reed was unflinching in his willingness to lay bare the dark underbelly of life, whether documenting the colourful characters of Andy Warhol’s Factory:

“Holly came from Miami, Fla
Hitchhiked her way across the USA.
Plucked her eyebrows on the way
Shaved her legs and then he was she…”
                                    “Walk On the Wild Side”
or his own struggles with addiction:
“Heroin, be the death of me
Heroin, it’s my wife and it’s my life…
Because when the smack begins to flow
I really don’t care anymore”
                                    “Heroin”

It might not be pretty but it was certainly honest, and at the expense of his own vanity. (And that’s surely part of the power of his lyrics, that even today they can come across as shocking.) And, on a personal note, I still find it amazing that lyrics such as those were written in the mid-‘60s, a mere 3 or 4 years after The Beatles sang, “Love, love me do.” “Please, please me” it ain’t. (Although, I’d love to have seen what Reed would have done with THAT particular song title!)

Later in life, Reed buried the hatchet with his old band mate John Cale to collaborate on an album dedicated to the life of their former mentor, Andy Warhol. Among some of the most moving songs that Reed has ever written were more of his brutally honest lyrics, once again at the expense of his own ego:

“Andy it’s me, haven’t seen you in a while
I wished I talked to you more when you were alive
I thought you were self-assured when you acted shy
Hello it’s me…”
“When Billy Name was sick and locked up in his room
You asked me for some speed, I thought it was for you
I’m sorry that I doubted your good heart
Things always seem to end before they start…”
                                                “Hello, it’s me”

But before it comes across that Reed is all doom and gloom, it must be pointed out that he has a very witty – albeit black – sense of humour. In 1989 he released the album New York, the lyrics of which can be read as much as poems as they can songs. If there is anyone on the above list of songwriters who Reed resembles, it would probably be Leonard Cohen. They both share a caustic wit although Reed’s is much more urban and street level. For example:

“You can’t depend on any churches
Unless there’s a real estate you want to buy…”
                                                            “Busload of Faith”
“Give me your hungry, your tired your poor I’ll piss on ’em
That’s what the Statue of Bigotry says
Your poor huddled masses, let’s club ’em to death
And get it over with and just dump ’em on the boulevard…”
                                                            “Dirty Blvd”
“It might be great to have a kid that I could kick around
A little me to fill up with my thoughts
A little me or he or she to fill up with my dreams
A way of saying life is not a loss…”
                                                            “The Beginning of a Great Adventure”
And to finish, I’ll leave you with my favourite Lou lyric:
“They say things are done for the majority
Don’t believe half of what you see, and none of what you hear
It’s a lot like what my painter friend Donald said to me
“Stick a fork in their ass and turn them over, they’re done”
                                                “The Last Great American Whale”

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The First Anniversary Post!

Today is the one year anniversary of this blog! Although it’s a cliché, it really doesn’t seem like a year. In one sense, it’s flown by but, in another – given all that’s happened in that time – it seems a lot longer! I started this blog a year ago with no intention of releasing an album and only a vague notion of where the blog was headed. I wanted to talk about writing and post some of my songs. Now – 152 posts and 45 songs later – my debut album is on release and my writing has been published in an anthology. And that’s all due to the wonderful readers of this blog and the people on Twitter and Facebook who have supported and encouraged me over the past year.

So a huge, heartfelt THANK YOU to every one of you!

And as a little celebration of the blog’s birthday, I thought I’d post the most popular post both in music and writing. When you’re writing a post or recording a song (especially a cover version) you can never gauge what’s going to be the most popular, which one is going to catch the reader’s eye or the listener’s ear. Sometimes it comes as a surprise. It’s certainly the case with the most popular music post. It’s not – as you might think – even a rock song. The most listened-to song on #NewMusicMonday in the past year was the anti-war ballad “And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda”:

As regards the post, it was actually a mixture of music and writing and it got a staggering 5,200 views! The most popular post was When Lou (Reed) Met Edgar (Allan Poe) – Music Meets Literature

Once again, thanks to everyone for reading and here’s to another year of music and writing that will hopefully keep you entertained!

 

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When Lou (Reed) Met Edgar (Allan Poe) – Music Meets Literature

There was time when being a writer and being a musician were two completely separate things. Writers were solitary, reclusive individuals who shuffled around in their pyjamas mumbling to themselves, while musicians were rock gods who strutted the stage, ingested massive quantities of illegal substances, and … well, shall we say, got better acquainted with their fans. No more. Now writers are rock stars and rock stars are writers.

Some examples of musicians-turned-writers include Bob Dylan, Nick Cave and Leonard Cohen and Patti Smith. On the flip side, there aren’t as many examples of writers-turned-musicians, but there are a few, such as Michel Houellebecq and Neal Pollack. (And, there was a also a band called the “Rock Bottom Remainders”, that featured Stephen King, Amy Tan and Rick Moody, amongst others).

The same applies when it comes to music inspired by literature, and vice versa. Literature has inspired many songs and even entire albums. Led Zeppelin wrote a number of songs inspired by Tolkien’s Lord of The Rings; Peter Gabriel’s “Mercy Street” is based around the work of the poet Anne Sexton; and then, there’s the most obvious example, Kate Bush’s “Wuthering Heights”. Not to mention the wonderfully-titled song by the late Warren Zevon, “Lord Byron’s Luggage”.

Another writer who has been a great source of inspiration to musicians is Edgar Allen Poe. Lou Reed released a double CD concept album called The Raven in 2003 that featured a number of musical and spoken-word interpretations of Poe. And, unsurprisingly, many heavy metal bands have made reference to Gothic Horror-writer Poe in their recordings, including Iron Maiden and the wonderfully-named Agathodaimon.

But again, on the flip side, there aren’t as many novels inspired by a specific piece of music. There are many books about music in general, Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity being one great example. There are, however, plenty of novel titles inspired by songs: everything from Douglas Copeland’s Girlfriend in a Coma and Eleanor Rigby to Bret Easton Ellis’s Less than Zero (an Elvis Costello song). (And, disclaimer: I do it too. I stole the name of my blog – “Rant, with Occasional Music” – from Jonathan Lethem’s first novel, Gun, with Occasional Music)

Of course, many people would say that performers such as Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen are songwriters and poets, musicians and writers. Others – mostly poets – take great umbrage with the idea that a mere pop song could be considered poetry. And while this may be the case with a song like Jedward’s ‘Lipstick’, what about the staggering oeuvre of someone like Dylan?

So, there is certainly a cross-fertilisation between music and literature, and this is becoming increasingly more so. Kurt Cobain and William Burroughs made an album together; writer Alan Moore has performed spoken-word pieces live on stage with musical accompaniment, as has writer Neil Gaiman, with the added accompaniment of illustrations by artist Eddie Campbell projected on the wall behind him.

With the increasingly easy access to recording equipment and the ability to self-publish or put your writing on the internet, this is only likely to increase. There are plans to release e-books with soundtracks, and authors have started compiling “soundtracks” to their novels – the songs that inspired their novels or even original music – and posting them on their websites. It is an exciting time for both music and literature. It has been said many times in recent years that albums and books are dead; they’re not dead, they’re just evolving.

If you have any thoughts on this subject or any suggestions of other writing/music combos, please leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you.

(Images: Click the pics for credits)

If you enjoyed this post, you can subscribe to the blog by entering your email address in the box on the left hand sidebar. Thanks!

When Lou (Reed) Met Edgar (Allan Poe) – Music Meets Literature

There was time when being a writer and being a musician were two completely separate things. Writers were solitary, reclusive individuals who shuffled around in their pyjamas mumbling to themselves, while musicians were rock gods who strutted the stage, ingested massive quantities of illegal substances, and … well, shall we say, got better acquainted with their fans. No more. Now writers are rock stars and rock stars are writers.

Some examples of musicians-turned-writers include Bob Dylan, Nick Cave and Leonard Cohen and Patti Smith. On the flip side, there aren’t as many examples of writers-turned-musicians, but there are a few, such as Michel Houellebecq and Neal Pollack. (And, there was a also a band called the “Rock Bottom Remainders”, that featured Stephen King, Amy Tan and Rick Moody, amongst others).

The same applies when it comes to music inspired by literature, and vice versa. Literature has inspired many songs and even entire albums. Led Zeppelin wrote a number of songs inspired by Tolkien’s Lord of The Rings; Peter Gabriel’s “Mercy Street” is based around the work of the poet Anne Sexton; and then, there’s the most obvious example, Kate Bush’s “Wuthering Heights”. Not to mention the wonderfully-titled song by the late Warren Zevon, “Lord Byron’s Luggage”.

Another writer who has been a great source of inspiration to musicians is Edgar Allen Poe. Lou Reed released a double CD concept album called The Raven in 2003 that featured a number of musical and spoken-word interpretations of Poe. And, unsurprisingly, many heavy metal bands have made reference to Gothic Horror-writer Poe in their recordings, including Iron Maiden and the wonderfully-named Agathodaimon.

But again, on the flip side, there aren’t as many novels inspired by a specific piece of music. There are many books about music in general, Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity being one great example. There are, however, plenty of novel titles inspired by songs: everything from Douglas Copeland’s Girlfriend in a Coma and Eleanor Rigby to Bret Easton Ellis’s Less than Zero (an Elvis Costello song). (And, disclaimer: I do it too. I stole the name of my blog – “Rant, with Occasional Music” – from Jonathan Lethem’s first novel, Gun, with Occasional Music)

Of course, many people would say that performers such as Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen are songwriters and poets, musicians and writers. Others – mostly poets – take great umbrage with the idea that a mere pop song could be considered poetry. And while this may be the case with a song like Jedward’s ‘Lipstick’, what about the staggering oeuvre of someone like Dylan?

So, there is certainly a cross-fertilisation between music and literature, and this is becoming increasingly more so. Kurt Cobain and William Burroughs made an album together; writer Alan Moore has performed spoken-word pieces live on stage with musical accompaniment, as has writer Neil Gaiman, with the added accompaniment of illustrations by artist Eddie Campbell projected on the wall behind him.

With the increasingly easy access to recording equipment and the ability to self-publish or put your writing on the internet, this is only likely to increase. There are plans to release e-books with soundtracks, and authors have started compiling “soundtracks” to their novels – the songs that inspired their novels or even original music – and posting them on their websites. It is an exciting time for both music and literature. It has been said many times in recent years that albums and books are dead; they’re not dead, they’re just evolving.

If you have any thoughts on this subject or any suggestions of other writing/music combos, please leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you.

(Image: Click the pic for credits)

If you enjoyed this post, you can subscribe to the blog by entering your email address in the box on the left hand sidebar. Thanks!