Tag Archives: vocabulary

melee

 

The word of the day for Sunday, February 26th, 2012 is:

Melee

(from vocabulary.com)

A noisy, free-for-all or rowdy fight

Song: Melee

Artist: KES the Band

Album: Wotless Carnival Album

Year: 2011

I dare you to NOT like this song: I mean, seriously.  This song is obviously titled for the almost manic tempo and drive of the song and, from what I was able to discern from the lyrics, (IMPOSSIBLE to find online) the singer is frustrated and wants to “whine on something.” So there you have it: melee – noisy free-for-all fight – this should be in the back of a montage of crazy wicked street fighting or something.  And because, again, I don’t want to be a wikipedia article I’ll just link you to it here.  All I really want to say about this song is that it is FREAKIN AWESOME.  I would definitely check out this whole album if you can, then hit the dance floor/living room/kitchen/sidewalk with this bad boy.

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Superfluous

The word of the day for Saturday, February 11th, 2012 is:

Superfluous

(from vocabulary.com)

  1. “When something is so uneccessary that it could easily be done away with, like a fifth wheel on a car, or a fifth person on a double date, call it superfluous.” 🙂
  2. More than is needed, desired, or required.
  3. serving no useful purpose; having no excuse for being.

Song: Superfluous Umbrella

Artist: Tyler Walker

Album: Singles

Year: 2012

For the full song (the video above is only 1:37 wherease the original is 2:22) visit Tyler Walker’s website where you can listen and download his music for FREE.  Yeah, that’s right: FREE.  The song can also be found on a site called SOUNDCLOUD where you can also download his music for free.  I think actually the player on his website is from SOUNDCLOUD.  It is on this second website that I found this description:

“You see, you brought an umbrella because it was supposed to rain, but instead it was beautiful outside. Therefore your umbrella was a notably super-numeral accessory.”

This quote I’m guessing is from Tyler Walker himself.  Doesn’t leave much for interpretation.  BUT: what I did think was interesting is that I kept picturing electronic rain, and as the drops fell they created splashes of color, light, and sound, much like the video I found.  To me, a world where rain makes awesome music and colored lights would make an umbrella superfluous – who would want to duck and cover from that? I already love playing in the rain, but that would be epic.  And the video proves I’m not the only one who thought of a rainy day/water with this song. I guess you see the word umbrella, even with the word superfluous, and you can’t help but connect it to water.

I have to say the most fun part of this experiment is finding what other worlds my search for matching songs brings me to.  The world of music is both expansive and minute at the same time – at times I feel a connection to everything, very 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon.  For example: the first word in this project, pontificate, brought me to Matthew Herbert.  I had never heard of him before the moment I hit “enter” in my google search bar.  But then, after researching him a bit, I saw that he produced and was featured in the song “Ruby Blue” by Roisin Murphy, which was featured on volume 1 of the Grey’s Anatomy soundtrack.  So, I had actually heard him before I knew I had heard him (his feature isn’t labeled on the the soundtrack) – and you may have too.

This guy though, Tyler Walker, is new to me, as is the website improveverywhere.com which features Walker’s music in their videos of pranks they pull.  Their mission is to cause “…scenes of chaos and joy in public places.” (from improveverywhere.com) Now how can you not be down with that? BUT: Turns out I HAVE heard of it, again, I just didn’t know it.  Improv Everywhere does this annual prank called “No Pants Subway Ride” which started in January 2002, making this year it’s 10th anniversary.  Looking through this website I remembered MC mentioning how his friend Gatto’s younger brother, who goes by G3, was going to ride MN’s Lightrail with no pants on as part of some weird train ride thing and this was his second year doing it.  I thought to myself then, what an odd thing to do in January.  Now: MIND BLOWN – oh music, you never fail to bring me right back home.

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Prosaic

The Word of the Day for Sunday, February 5th, 2012 is:

Prosaic

  1. Ordinary or dull
  2. Lacking wit or imagination
  3. not challenging or lacking excitement
  4. not fanciful or imaginative (from vocabulary.com)

Song: Prosaic

Artist: Elsiane

Album: Hybrid

Year: 2007

Lyrics:

Now that you know I’ll ask you to stay away
Looking it’s always been bright
Focusing Focused in
Looking it’s always been but you knew
I’m focused in focused in
Looking it’s always been but you knew
It’s like a perfect storm on the way
How can I be strong? to the illusion
That I need you
I’ll dismember you Hover me Hover you
Covered in steam discover you
Hold your fear covered in sting

After reading up on this band I find their music on a whole to be anything but prosaic.  Elsieanne Caplette and Stephane Sotto are the main duo leading what turned into a 4 person group. She (Elsieanne) from Peru originally and he (Stephane) met in Montreal when she immigrated there.  The band’s name is supposed to be a mix of their two names, a symbol of the collaborative efforts it took to make the album.  The duo added Jeff Feldman and Philippe Look to handle bass and guitar respectively, as well as keyboards – Elsieanne is the lead vocalist and Stephane is the drummer.  They have a wide range of influences spanning classical, rock, and electronica, which, as their album title indicates, the duo then tries to intertwine around a melody, leaving lyrics lastly to further express it.

As far as the meaning of the song as it relates to the title goes, though, the lyrics may be the only key, albeit a poetically vague key.  First of all, as much as I really do like this song, I’m glad for “find the lyrics” type websites, without which I would have never understood what she was saying.  Now, she is Peruvian and has learned and mastered more languages than I have, but having listened to her speaking voice, the style of her vocals is exactly that and in surplus: stylistic.

But, getting beyond that, because I actually do like the quality and timbre of her vocal stylings, the second part that is difficult is that the speaker is pushing someone away for reasons only they “know.”  Not until closer to the end do we get more to the heart of why: “It’s like a perfect storm on the way/How can I be strong?/to the illusion/that I need you” What I draw from this is that the speaker has found themselves caught in a typical love story: drawn to the other person, she is fine with feeling for them from afar, but now that they can be together the thrill is gone – he is ordinary and she doesn’t want to be ordinary: unimaginative and dull, living the humdrum life of a couple on their way to typical, dimwitted marital “bliss” (NOTE: These are NOT my thoughts on being with someone for the long haul.)

It is also possible that the title is unbeknownst to the narrator, making the song’s poetic vagueness and dramatic statements “tongue-in-cheek.”  Now stay with me folks: Citing the opening line/chorus: “Now that you know I’ll ask you to stay away” – I just keep imagining a melodramatic scene that might be displayed at the height of conflict in many a favorite Rom-Com or Jane Austen.  She bares her soul, but he doesn’t react quite right, and she throws a bit of a hissy and “realizes” that her fantasy of them being together was just that: a fantasy.  So she’s going to move on – they would never work: “looking it’s always been but you knew” – she was in front of his face this whole time, and he knew she had feelings for him, but he knew (and she knew deep down) they weren’t right for each other.  Which brings her to needing to break her illusion that she needs him. A typical love story conflict, and yet, we keep coming back to it. So, prosaic, yes, and yet not when you’re the person involved.

As for the last part of the song I think our girl may figuratively strip our guy down to who he really is, baring his soul, which usually leads to sex: “Covered in steam discover you” But then “Hold your fear covered in sting.”  Thought #1: the duo threw this in for the hell of it, just wanted to wrap it up and put down the first six words they could think of.  Thought #2: The sting is a defense mechanism, like a bee’s sting, done out of fear.  The speaker feels that the second party will resist her invasive maneuvers by striking back, not willing to make their feelings or desires naked.

Whether or not it’s actually that deep (or that lame, I won’t make assumptions as to your thoughts on my ponderings) I recommend this song with the request that you give it a couple listens before deciding on whether or not you like it.  The track is pretty subtle, but it’s got a good groove, a bit of a weird/creepy vibe, and some nice sampled horn bits that I particularly enjoy, wrapped around a solid melody I think I’d like with or without lyrics.

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Derail

The word of the day for Tuesday, January 24th, 2012 is:

Derail – Thanks ChristinaVG for the suggestion!

  1. To cause to run off the rails
  2. To obstruct the progress of
  3. To upset the stability or composure of

Song: Derail and Crash

Artist: The Wombats

Album: The Wombats Proudly Present: A Guide to Love, Loss & Desperation (Bonus Track)

Year: 2011

This song sums itself up in its second line: My oh my what a happy, clappy fun day.  As is obvious I am quite a few days behind on this whole, post once a day thing and I actually didn’t look this song up until Wednesday of this week when it really felt like the word of the day matched my life.  Not a big deal but I definitely got off to a bad start when MC & I both woke up at 7:58am (two minutes before we usually leave for work/school) and I had to drive into work and pay the $12 to park.  So, in a way, my morning was derailed and I definitely felt off until I was back on track in the afternoon (I’m so funny . . . )  What helped get me back on track and feel less grumbly about my crap morning?  Part of it was finding this song.

The Wombats hail from Liverpool and have recently released a second full album titled The Wombats Proudly Present: This Modern Glitch.  I think they should be proud – here again are some dudes who just like to play music, met at school (Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts) and put together a band.  The trio toes the line between indie and pop (as so many do these days) with upbeat numbers that back up guitar/drum/vocals with a bit of techno.  I think my favorite part of their style are the choruses sung “in chorus” (all three guys together) and the doo-wah-doo backup vocals, both of which can make any song feel happy.  The band then puts lyrics that at times are ridiculous, ironic, witty, simple, and eloquent – basically, you feel like you’ve stumbled on a group of self-deprecating geeks.

Derail and Crash is a story of a couple’s relationship that has gone “off track.”  What makes this song enjoyable is that the obvious metaphor is paired with those ridiculous, off-beat lyrics.  The couple being together for only 4 months makes it seem like they’re taking a stab at an over dramatized high school breakup: Had no idea of the pain this cheap pay could bring in reference to meeting while working as catering staff and Like Blackpool’s Pepsi Max in reference to the derailment of the relationship.  Not that it’s un-relatable: I know after rereading poems I’ve written during and after a relationship are about as cheesy.  I just keep imagining some poor sap with balled up paper piling around his desk as he scratches out line after line, sobbing like a little girl: he takes a swig of Pepsi, then chucking it at the wall in disgust, the can explodes, much like his heart 🙂

So, that was derail: I have no idea how to end this post – you could even say my train of thought has “derailed.”  Oh jeez.

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Connotation

The word of the day for Monday, January 23rd, 2012 is:

Connotation

  • The associated or secondary meaning of a word or expression in addition to its explicit or primary meaning
  • The meaning that a word suggests or implies.  A connotation includes the emotions or associations that surround a word (dictionary.reference.com)

Song: Blues Connotation

Artist: Ornette Coleman: The Ornette Coleman Quartet

Album: This is Our Music

Year: 1960-61

Okay, so I’m just putting this out there: I really do not care for jazz. Anyone who knows my musical tastes (particularly MC) will attest to this.  I’ve tried, honest to goodness I’ve tried and occasionally I’ve found stuff that I do enjoy.  Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack jazz standards, swing, big band, Glenn Miller, Ella/Etta/Billy/Rosemary – But, when it gets experimental, long solos and combos and jams on stage it seriously gets on my nerves, or I start to tune out completely waiting for the song to get to the POINT.  The closest I’ve gotten to liking that kind of thing is listening to MC’s & my friend’s – cousin’s band Media Addicts and there influences range from Miles Davis to Metallica leading to this quote found in a description of them: “What is this . . . is this Jazz?” the other answered “Yes. And I like it.”  Pretty sure those were my sentiments at the first of their shows I attended, only mine was more like, “But, I LIKE this . . .?”

Which is where I stand with this song by Ornette Coleman.  NO WAY I should like this, but I do.  Coleman was basically one of the main innovators of Free Jazz in the 1960’s – a genre of music that, though expressed very differently by different artists, had the same basis – they weren’t satisfied with playing the structured jazz of the 1930’s and 40’s and wanted to challenge, tear apart, and deconstruct jazz, pushing its boundaries.  This almost seems to be a theme so far:

  • Herbert challenging music with non-musical instruments to create important and meaningful sounds which are then mixed into music
  • Art & Language and Red Krayola challenging modernism with conceptual art, going beyond visual art and taking words and music to create a different kind of art altogther

And Zealous Friars, well, those puppies are just happy as clams with their guitars and standard pop format, but that’s cool 🙂  You don’t have to be dissatisfied to make good music, but it does seem to be an important factor in becoming known as an “innovator” “father/mother” of a whole new genre which you can then reject as it seems to confine rather than define your work.

But back to “Blues Connotation.”  Ornette Coleman is known for his distinctive blues-influenced high, crying saxaphone timbre according to my best friend Wikipedia.  You can definitely hear that as you listen to this recording.  But, as far as Blues goes, I’m still not much of an expert except that it’s a melancholy music with a steady groove that is departed from on occasion when the emotion of the lead voice gets to be too much.

“Blues Connotation” doesn’t sound melancholy with it’s driving beat and the bass player happily plucking away in the background, but the saxaphone solo work is intensely emotional, taking on vocal qualities of blues singers.  The 2:18 mark in the music especially has a blues feel with repeated melodic strands: you can almost hear the ragged intake of breath of a singer as they let out that pain in a LOOONG drawn out note  “and I feeeeeeeeel, and I fee-eee-eeee-eeee-eeeeel so sa-aah-aah-aahd”

But does the song have a blues feeling to it because of the music, or because of the title?  By titling the song “blues connotation” even a non-jazz head such as myself will listen for bluesy aspects in the song.  Ornette, you are a sly devil: you gave a piece connotation by saying it has connotation!  I’m sure that really, it probably follows some standard blues chord progressions and other stylistic features akin to blues, but I’d have to work A LOT harder to figure out that stuff, and you know, I’ve gotta get up in the morning . . .

No, I am content with what I have, which is moving to my toes to count the number of jazz songs I can say “But, I LIKE this . . .” about.

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Harangue

The word of the day for Sunday, January 22nd, 2012 is:

Harangue

a loud bombastic declamation expressed with strong emotion. (vocabulary.com)

1. A long pompous speech, especially one delivered before a gathering.
2. A speech or piece of writing characterized by strong feeling or expression; a tirade.  (thefreedictionary.com)
Song: “An Harangue”
Artist: Art and Language feat. Red Krayola
Album: Corrected Slogans
Year: 1976
This first example I’ve posted brought me down a historical path in conceptual art to the guys who basically made the concept.  Again, very interesting and involved.  I’d love to do some more digging, but in lieu of that I give you Wikipedia and this guy’s blog.  Also make sure to check out Red Krayola on Wikipedia.  Hey, if Wikipedia is good enough for the fancy-dance blogger guy it’s good enough for me.
The Artist: Art and Language & Red Krayola
In a VERY brief description: Both groups came into existence in the mid-late 1960’s.  Art & Language was based in London and originally had a publication which they derived their group name from and started out being about Conceptual Art.  Of course, with any defined genre there are people/groups opposed to being put under that umbrella, much like Debussy* and Impressionism.  The goal of Art & Language was to explore other avenues of art beyond the visual and a lot of it was theoretical.  Red Krayola was from Houston, Texas headed by Mayo Thompson and has survived in one form or another to the present.  The leader, Thompson, joined up with Art & Language and they did a couple of albums together. Red Krayola (who had to change the “C” to a “K” later due to copyright/trademark infringements) was at the forefront of the experimental music scene pushing boundaries with music now classified as “noise-rock.”
The Album: Corrected Slogans
According to “this guy” (see link above) the story of the creation of this album is more fiction than fact, but essentially the Art & Language dudes said Red Krayola was still too mainstream, too pop (oh my word not that!) and a challenge was accepted to have Art & Language dudes come up with lyrics and Red Krayola’s Thompson put music to the words.
The Song: An Harangue

At first listen I felt that the words must be very important as haranguing someone usually means you’re pretty darn upset about something and want to tell them off.  I imagined the calm speaker possibly stating this through clenched teeth or, seeing as the speaker is British and our forefathers were British maybe it was a really formal declaration ala the Declaration of Independence. BUT now, knowing of the bet the birthed this album, I’m guessing that, though it does have true significance, the lyrics were written in such a way to be unmusical and the pompousness that comes across is supposed to be ironic.

An Harangue

The insecurity of crystalline political super-
structures as a consequence of economic crisis and
social conflict, is not in itself a new form of social
organisation — making deep changes in the social
project. Unless a conscious socialist transformatory
alternative develops, the result of crisis must be the
further entrenchment of reaction and the growth of
mass repression in lieu of solutions to societies’
problems. The ruling classes are universally appraised
of such prospects: in the non-industrial countries
the only growth industry is military and in the
industrial (‘advanced’) countries, there is a vogue
for discovering and ‘elimination’ ‘dangers within’
and an increase in hysterical, repressive legislation.
The ideal is now the ‘strong’ and opaque state where
repression keeps workers in line and activists
harassed .. entangled in a charade … tolerated
up-to-a-point. The point is that at which the
activists cease to resemble traditional reformist
organisations. The latter are, in any case, afforded
space in which to operate — mystify.

For the ruling classes to want such regimes is one
thing — to achieve them is quite another: the
workers can move to the centre of political events
rapidly and surprise the ruling classes with their
economic power. This — even when the working
class, as, such, is a minority.

But the prospect remains bright for the authori-
tarian right: for this, both the reformist parties and
peasant-fixated 1960′s revolutionaries are to blame.

What is needed is an integration of the ideology of
socialism … socialist … transformatory sections … with
the industrial working class.

Socialist-working class solidarity is historical
leadership identity.

What I like best about this song is the fact that the background music is really a full song.  You can practically hear the chorus in your head, imagine yourself fist pumping to the anthem, that final chorus being sung by a crowd a cappella style and then the final chord being jammed out on guitars that will most likely get smashed to pieces.  Too bad the song would have been completely ridiculous, all those syllables jammed into four bar phrases, much like Gross and Conspicuous Errors #7 .  You gotta wonder if songs like Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen) are inspired by stuff like this – and further wonder, would these dudes like that?
Anyway, probably the most enjoyable harangues I’ve listened to.
And if this post weren’t long enough! . . .

Song: “Harangue”
Artist: Lesley Barber
Album: Mansfield Park (1999) Soundtrack
Year: 1999
Just for some contrast on the subject I present to you this little gem.  I am very fond of movie scores and had never actually watched this particular Jane Austen based film.  I am definitely a sucker for movies based on her stuff, especially the most recent Pride & Prejudice with Keira Knightley, which also happens to have a musical score to die for: if you like this you’ll love that!
But, back to Mansfield.  This theme crops up a couple of times throughout the movie but most prominently nearer to the end when the main character is being harangued by her Uncle (I think it’s her uncle, they’re all related somehow) because she refuses to marry a certain gentleman.  Rather than trying to characterize the Uncle’s frustration with her, I feel that the music is expressing her inner sadness and longing.  The music is both ominous and serene, the repeating rhythm possibly her steady heartbeat which should be racing against this harassment but instead is waiting for the moment to pass, knowing it’s nothing more than steam he’s blowing, not fire.
That’s all folks – Don’t forget to remember the asterisk!
*This link is to Debussy’s “The Sunken Cathedral” – NOT to “Claire De Lune.”  Until America realizes that Twilight is one of the worst things to hit pop culture in awhile I will boycott the distribution of this amazing piece.  I refuse to have anyone be redirected to something from my site that will make them say “Oh, this is that song from TWILIGHT, It’s so pretty!”  I cannot put it more succinctly than this: Vampires SUCK**
**Except, of course, Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Angel 🙂

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Zealous

The word of the Day for Saturday, January 21st, 2012 is

Zealous

Definition: filled with fervent or enthusiastic devotion, often extreme or fanatical in nature, as to a religious movement, political cause, ideal, or aspiration (from thefreedictionary.com)

Song(s): Runaway, Explosions

Artist: The Zealous Friars

Album: See What Happens EP

Year: 2011

Now, you may be wondering why neither of these songs actually have the word “zeal” or “zealous” in the title: because it’s DAMN hard to find one that doesn’t want you to join one of those raise-your-hand-above-your-head-while-you-sing-with-your-eyes-closed-and-your-hand-on-your-heart-churches.  Hey, it’s cool if you’re into that, no judging, it’s just not really for me.  Also, and more importantly, that song I did find with zealous in the title just . . . . sucks. balls.  But, if you want to check it out click  Zealous Over Zion.

What I did find was a group of four young gentlemen from Alabama who are zealous over making music together.  They call themselves the Zealous Friars and they can be found on Myspace (of course), Facebook, and now on iTunes.

Honestly, I think what I like most about them is that the opening chords to “Runaway” sound like they are about to lead into Kiss Me by Sixpence None The Richer.  And the lead singer’s voice is pretty melty 🙂  So what if they’re like, 12?  Okay okay, they are in college.  Anyway, if you like fresh faced young men who are hell bent on being the next indie-softrock-easy listening cross over band give them a listen.  Girls, think of it as an escape to those middle school/early high school highly romantic tingly feelings.  Boys, think of it as an escape to those dreams of learning guitar to woo all the ladies, or to those kids you punched in the face because of their annoying blah whiney lovey music that won all those girls over and you secretly wished you could be them.  If you read my music page: yes, I’m still talking to you, guy who listens to N*Sync.

P.S. Props: Way to actually play instruments, Zealous Friars, you kids with your indie rock bands might actually go somewhere with your music since you’ll know how to make it after the Robot Wars destroy Auto-Tune for good.

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