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Present Perfect


Filed under: Music — Thomas @ 12:19 am

12:19 am

Warning: random musings about music ahead. Proceed at own risk.

Last night while failing to get to sleep I discovered an extension of one of my superpowers. The superpower in question is my goodexcellentremarkableincredible/strikethrough>amazinguncanny ability to remember minute details about music I’ve heard or am even remotely interested in. I have a jukebox locked inside my head that can play any of the tunes I know whenever I want. (I’m not sure yet if it’s a blessing or a curse after all these years, but anyway …)

So there I was, lying awake wondering if I could conjure up the track lists to albums I own but haven’t listened to in a while. And it dawned on me that I could use the jukebox to reconstruct the whole album by skipping forward to the end of each song, then listening to what comes next. So, I tested it out. First test, “Bossanova” – not listened to that for a few years.

Starting is easy. Surf’s up with “Cecilia Ann (1)”, entirely instrumental, and the chord dies out. The screeching guitar comes in, and then the drums start rolling over the sustained note, and in comes the power chord progression of “Rock Music(2)”. Skip forward to the abrupt halt, a very short silence, and then comes the still mystifying two-times-three chord progression that uses only two notes for each. “Velouria(3)” kicked in. It ends with Kim singing Velouria, R-I-A and dies out. Drums fall in at high speed, and the guitar spits out the high-speed “Allison(4)”. It ends with a few repeats of the names. Bass and drums draw out the next rhythm, and then Joey Santiago pulls out four perfect notes to kick off “Is She Weird(5)”. Fast-forward, “head has no room”, and two final chords. Next, airy chords ride in like a horse, and the drums break their rhythm, dropping the guitar down a note and putting it into dream mode for “Ana(6)”. Fast-forward – the song ends with the same horse chords that started it and dies out.

The next song starts on a high note sliding down over a 3/5 rhythm – “All over the world(7)” has kicked in. Fast forward – “what I’m tau-au-au-au-aught”. The song dies, and the sleigh bells come in, followed by a playful bass line, and then the guitar rushes down – “Dig for fire(8)”. Fast-forward – the song is ending in multiple vocal lines crossing each other, until all the music stops to give away for the final “for fire”. A double drum kick starts off the next one, the guitar complains, and in the distance a voice wails, until we learn that Betty always knows – “Down to the well(9)”. Fast-forward – “down to the well”, the guitar flourishes out the song.

Drums and bass kick off “The Happening(10). This gives me a bit more trouble, I have to skip through to the ending part where the song changes tune and becomes the story of someone driving to meet the aliens. The song dies out without a real ending. Drums kick in with a short roll before the guitars dive into the bossa nova rhythm of “Blown Away(11)”. Fast-forward – “I didn’t get so far”, and an end note. A quick chord progression puts the next song in gear – they’re going higher – it’s “Hang Wire(12)”. It ends on a death yell of hang wire, with 5 chords volleying off the finish. Drums fall in and a guitar kicks off the playful tune to “Stormy Weather(13)”. The song comes to a stuttering and strangely tuned halt. On the next song, the guitars go starry-twinkly as a backdrop for “Havalina(14)”

Next up was “Adam and Eve” by “Catherine Wheel”. First song starts with an acoustic slide, and a naked intro song. It’s untitled(1). Ending on “let’s get started.” One chord is struck and left to ring, until it’s cut short by the bass line pulling up, and the guitar starts sounding like a piece of plastic being flapped up and down – it’s “Future Boy(2)”. Fast-forward and the song ends where it feels good to me, and the drums finish off with some dry strokes while the chord and bass runs out. A guitar gently pulls the next track up to speed – it’s “Delicious(3)”. The actual song ends tree to fruit, apple to seed, and then a piano starts complaining, and there’s something in the belly. Next song starts with a chord, some drums rolling over it, same chord again, and then “Broken Nose(4)” starts lifiting off. At the end, the song dies out until the guitars give one final sign of life. Next track starts with some distorted power chords, which break away abruptly to leave room for the acoustic guitar intro of “Phantom of the American mother(5)”. Fast forward, the song dies on the American mother. Again, some plastic is waving in the wind, and someone tries out two chords on the guitar to distract us – and suddenly a progression rolls out of an acoustic guitar – “Ma solituda(6)”. Fast-forward, and “I fell down”.

An electric chord bounces and dips up and down to start “Satellite(7)”. Which ends on a wail of “were young young young”, and the guitars finish off. A cymbal ride gently accompanies some drum strokes, until there’s a second-long pause to introduce the far too many ghosts that make us rely on three notes of “Thunderbird(8)”. Forward to the end, where you’re making it sound absurd. A chord rolls in like a wave hitting the beach, and the lead guitar drops in, and more and more instruments start building up the sound towards the start of the vocals – “Here comes the fat controller (9)”. At the end of the song, a door gets shut on the song while it’s still playing, and muffles the sound. The next song starts with a cymbal roll and a chord intertwined with a lazy upwards-pointing lead guitar scrawl – It’s “Goodbye(10)”. It ends with a dying out distortion wave, and the silence gives away to twinkling xylophone and guitars, and here come the good times of “For Dreaming(11)”, which brings back the female voice of “Delicious”. The song takes a long time to die fading out, and a few lazy chords at the end of the track make for a transition to the next song, again untitled(12), as a counterpoint to the opening track. A single guitar and a single voice who’s going to phone everyone he’s known through the downs and the ups.

So there it is, my new completely useless superpower. I believe in RPG terms this is called “levelling up”.
I’m going to try and get to sleep practicing my new-found superpower on some other albums – be sure to give it a try yourself. And if you don’t know what I’m talking about, it’s not too late to buy both these albums!

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