Journey, Heroes, Dilla and the donuts.

10 Jun

Seeing as it’s Friday (don’t sing it…for the love of god, please don’t sing it) and I’m feeling extra good from training like a demon this morning, I’m going to go a little bit heavy-handed inspirational on you with this one. Relish it; It’s not gonna be often, hopefully.

I can’t tell you how good the first coffee and smoke after training is. Just beautiful. Anyway…

After hearing the now classic Journey song “Don’t stop believing” The other day I started wondering about it’s interpretation and appreciation. Nearly as soon as it was revived it was taken as a club pounder, used whenever the dancefloor was emptying to entice people back on to the floor. It’s incredible just how much it hooked people, but understandable seeing as every girl who stumbles through a club with a drink in one hand and her shoes in the other likes to consider herself a “small town girl”.

The infamous “Don’t stop believing” chorus, while used by the drunken patrons to reassure their desire to improve upon their jimmy choos and get that pay rise they thought they deserved, is quite an effective anthem. On it’s own it can be a simple inspirational lift, encouraging you to continue pushing for whatever you’re striving for. Taken with the verse lyrics though and, for me, it holds on a completely different aesthetic.

To be honest though; as much as the lyrics are great, they’re not the reason I love the song. The backing section is.

Being an (ex) drummer, I fall in love with beats. Jay Dilla gets me hard (read the second comment on that link; it’s just genius),  Billy Cobham is a legend, and I’ve dreamt about playing with Buddy Rich . I love a good beat. I know that doesn’t mark me out as anything special within the larger population of music heads but I find the slightest tap of a cymbal or an off beat on the hi-hats can send shivers up my spine. Anyone can play drums reasonably well, it takes a master to know which beats to hit and which to not.

The integral break in the song, “on and on and on and on…” is nothing without that drum build, and even less without the fat rhythm that goes straight after. Think of it: would the build up sound as good if the drums and bass straight after didn’t sound like a clutch of volleys shot from a cannon? After that, the extra tap on the ride cymbal and hi hats in the bridge sections at two minutes and during the solo, coupled with that super sweet bass in the ending section just makes me go masmndffemfhurrrrr…..

Yeah…that’s some good bass.

Next time you listen to it, focus on the rhythm section. Solid. Damn solid. The funny thing is; it doesn’t need a dance type remix…that rhythm track is perfectly balanced as it is. ( that is, unless you’ve already appreciated it…I could easily be way off the mark here).

The reason I’m rambling on like a gleek (oh god…it’s   happened…it’s finally happened) is that while many songs have  inspirational leanings (and some downright set out with that aim in mind; something which actually sets the truly inspirational ones apart from the crowd), the writers/performers can’t influence how it’s appreciated too much.

Take David Bowies’ Heroes. About the Berlin Wall, and written a long time before it came down, it’s a darkly uplifting song. I love it, but for a very particular reason.

Yep, I absolutely love it. It’s a great song. There’s one thing that never fails to strike a fire with me though; that “I” sung at 1:15. After the relentless but restrained steam-train run of the song up until then, it shatters the conformity of it and manages to sum up everything about the struggle to define or assert yourself, the desire to connect with someone and could possibly be interpreted as the moment when a person realises themselves. In one letter. One simple letter. Sung incredibly.

So, seeing as there’s a few people reading these blogs now (thank you all;) I’m wondering (and hoping you’ll comment)…

what kicks off your shivers in a song? is it the content? the execution? the rhythm? the subject? or is it that certain, inexplicable moment when an instrument just strikes a note or a chord, and you think “…oh.”

leave a comment or a link if you fancy. Ahem…first person to say Rebecca Black’s friday will be ridiculed (Unless, of course, they can prove the theological importance of “Friday” in influencing the end of the cold war and the resulting cultural change from a libertarian perspective).

Here’s a personal favourite to kick start your weekend. Hope it does you good. The song itself is a goodun, but that piano is simply divine.

Stuff’s stuff

All the best; have a goodun. Don’t stop believing, good people…don’t stop believin’.


5 Responses to “Journey, Heroes, Dilla and the donuts.”

  1. Zia June 10, 2011 at 7:01 pm #

    To be quite honest, after the Glee version of ‘Don’t stop believing’ came out and was overplayed to death by my co-worker that song has lost its charm for me. To answer your question, for me it’s the music that shiver’s me timbers.

    • orionscoat June 10, 2011 at 7:25 pm #

      Yeah, I find I can only listen to it with headphones in an empty field, at nighttime and at least four miles away from any living beings for fear I’ll beat them to death with their own Jazz hands for singing, humming or tearing up a little with it… and even then I keep an eye out for anyone. Just in case.

      • Zia June 10, 2011 at 7:39 pm #

        You are lucky to have a place like that. Where I live, there is no escaping the jazz hands coming straight at you from every angle. Oh the joys of living in a community of mormon version of Stepford.

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