Monday, March 10, 2008

Music Hath Charms

The lyrics of some songs are most agreeable in their disagreement with their music. I shall ', there is too much, let me sum up. On the other hand, 'splaining is fun - and kinda the purpose of this blog. So perhaps I should 'splain instead.

So you'll be an Austrian nobleman
Commissioning a symphony in c
Which defies all earthly descriptions
You'll be commissioning a symphony in c

I have no idea which particular historical Austrian nobleman is referred to here, probably one who commissioned a symphony or two in his time...possibly from Motzart. And, for the first time, I find myself mourning my inability to post music - because the contrast I'm looking at here is between the story that these lyrics don't so much tell as allude to and the hip, bouncy rock music it is sung to.

With money you squeeze from the peasants

To your nephew you can give it as a present
This magnificent symphony in c
Youll be commissioning a symphony in c

Completely filling the palace concert hall
Its warm and golden like an oven thats wide open
It has a melody both happy and sad
Built on victorious young triads

I think this last phrase is what really makes me like this song. The "victorious young triads" is exactly what the rock music is based off of - but, when you think of "victorious chords" and "symphonies" - you really, really don't think of those employed by Cake. They are masters of the subtle dance between lyric and music. And they do it while barely making any sense at all. Many artists have to write about compelling things to succeed - but not Cake - they can write nonsense and have it be both pleasant and historically referential nonsense. And people will probably enjoy it. I look forward to "The Rhineland Crematory Waltz"... :-p

In contrast, I shall put forth "Dangerous Game" from Jekyll & Hyde.

At the touch of your hand -

At the sound of your voice -
At the moment your eyes meet mine -
I am out of control -
I am out of my mind -
Full of feelings I can't define!

Here the music & lyrics amp each other up to great extremes. Even without brilliant actors (like Seibert & Organ of my ACU homecoming musical wonderfulness) portraying this dynamic struggle, you can hear it in the voices, the words, everything plays up in the very best of dramatic music. (For those of you who weren't there or didn't know, I used another piece from Jekyll & Hyde in my wedding...because it's I had an amazing soloist for a MOH, so I had someone who could do it proper.)

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