[Image from: http://www.ryanrussell.net/2007l_21.jpg, This is Mike Kinsella, the man behind 'Owen']
So one of my favourite singers is Mike Kinsella. He is most known for being in the bands American Football, Cap'n Jazz and Joan of Arc, all of which are excellent (American Football - Never Meant is a song which encompasses the sound of 'glory' - the multiple overlapping guitar melodies remind me of throwing rolls of toilet paper over the branches of trees when I was 14 one fateful Halloween, agh, obvs its the time of year when Lia gets EXTRA soppy) but I will set aside my intense adoration of those projects and write a short little piece on his solo project: Owen.
Owen is basically Mike and a guitar. Pure and stripped back and effortlessly clean. I say clean, but what I really mean is that the songs are just hung together so well that it feels like you are listening to absolute polished art. The lyrics are exceptional, and I'm a sucker for emotion, but I think Kinsella is someone who manages to actually write words, as if they were spoken, to music. No shitty rhyming - desperate rhyming, that some people employ (e.g. great example of desperate rhyming is Jock-strap-Penate 'I led you on but leadings wrong') but delicate prose - stuff that makes the heart twinge like you've got a bad case of arrhythmia.
Bad News is song from the album 'At Home With Owen' and is a song about that friend that only you can love. And only you can truly say, I'm sorry but you are a total shit. Here's an excerpt
'Whoever you think is watching you dance
from across the room,
If anything, they feel sorry for you
Because you try so hard'
Kinsella also has a trait of referencing literature in his songs - some brilliant examples are in Good Friends, Bad Habits (Oscar Wilde and Ernest Hemingway) and I Woke Up Today (T.S. Elliot's 'The Hollow Man'). Some call this being a pretentious twat, aka, graduate from Edinburgh Uni, but fuck it, he's read a book, he's going to quote it, at least it's not like The Streets taking inspiration from real life innit and writing a song about girls being fit and knowing it. Sometimes its nice when a singer thinks a bit, does a clever little trick, like when my cat pierces unopended sachets of cat food and licks the oozing juices from the holes. The following verse comes from 'The Sad Waltzes of Pietro Crespi' which is a charactor from the fantastic One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez:
'Could you love someone completely?
and yes, by "someone" I mean me
spoiled sick like milk you let sit too long
it's a simple question
as I lie awake waiting for you to lay beside me
I can almost hear the sad waltzes of Pietro Crespi'
One particular song which I will gush about, profusely, is Bed Abuse. I think this song has a 90% 'CRY' rate with me. Setting the scene is something used in stage design, and the same can be said for music - this piece uses a low rolling drum in this heart-beat manner which exploits the lyrics perfectly. This dude is singing about what I basically did for the last 4 years - abuse my bed - eat, sleep, cry, work, smoke on it. There is one particular moment which brings out the water works...the line 'I spend endless days thinking of all the different ways that we make love'. And only one person in the whole world will understand why the closing lines are particularly poignant 'And that’s why I don’t feel right in this city, It’s more me than you'.
To round up this slush puppy of sap, another great song is 'In the morning before work' from the album I Do Perceive. Kinsella also name drops New Order and Morrisey in the second verse, which harks me back to the days in first year when I tried to quote a Smith's lyric in each lab report!
I sleep in these dirty sheets
A blanket between my boney knees
But you already know that because you used to crawl in bed with me in the morning before work
Put your hands on my back
Kiss the back of my neck
I thought I'd be singing a different tune by now
But this song about you keeps coming out
I hoped to be singing to someone new by now
But the song's about you
Anyway, the boney knees line makes me think that me and Mike Kinsella are destinated to marry each other because I sometimes sleep with the edge of the blanket between my bruised and knobbly knees (it's like a bag of snooker balls were inserted in my legs), All he needs to do is write a song about sharp corners and we are set to have a happy ever after (ok, if you've ever met me, you'll have noticed I like to bend paper/material into sharp corners and rub my thumb over it - odd I know).
Sunday, 19 September 2010
[Image from http://www.100xr.com/100_XR/Artists/K/Katy_Perry/Katy.Perry.jpg - if Imperial taught me anything, it's to REFERENCE! On a side note, Katy Perry - got her girl scouts badge for knifework no probs]
Just a single review today I'm afraid..the thought of doing an album review initiates some sort of mind attack, I can only do funny for so long.
I should first mention that I don't mind this song. Keep this stored in the bank whilst reading the remainder of this post.
The song starts innocently, a nice strummed guitar backing a rather high pitched Perry who sings lyrics I would have written circa 1999 - said lyrics resemble eating ice cream whilst the sun is blazing; the cream melts faster than your tongue can lick, and you end up with a soppy mess all over your hand. Sickly sweet, but oh so delicious. Like a blended Krispy Kreme (did anyone see the queue for the bastards in Cabot Circus?! It's like Bristolians are trying to osmosis the essence of 'London' through saturated fat).
The chorus is catchy, but that is probably because every.word.is.punctuated.by.the.beat. It's a good trick to employ, and I can already see every gurl down at the waterfront jump jump whilst singing it - bouncing their ample bosoms, ahoy, nipples flying ahead! Ok, I just mixed nautical slang with an aviation reference. But whatever, it's my bloody blog that I'm reclaiming.
There is also a break, or 'middle eight' although I haven't actually counted if it is third 8 bar section in a 32 bar song, which resolves around Katy talking about her skin tight jeans. It's quite a nice bridge, and for some reason my favourite part of the song, maybe because I have a secret fetish for figure hugging garments? Who knows.