10 Least Read Entries on How NOT To Write About Music (April 2019)

Noname

1 (-) How NOT to write about music – 47. Anna St. Louis
So. Anna St. Louis. I like this song. I like this performance. I do not know if she is one of my people but these days such a description is so limiting I do not worry about it. She has been compared to Kevin Morby, who sounds like a dreary Leonard Cohen to me. Anna St. Louis does not sound dreary to me.

2 (-) How NOT to write about music – 61. Peaness
Cherry-sweet, razor-sharp melodies. Nothing complicated, nothing fancy just cherry-sweet, razor-sharp melodies. A lineage that certainly takes in Buzzcocks, Pastels, all those wonderful female Seattle groups turn of the new millennia and wonderful female Continental groups some time in the late 1970s, occasionally showing off their chops when the melodies surge but never showy, just cherry-sweet, razor-sharp melodies.

3 (-) How NOT to write about music – 64. Mary Poppins Returns
I saw Mary Poppins Returns on Sunday 16th December, 10am for 11am, with my three children at a premiere in Leicester Square. I am able to look that date up. It was the morning after my mother died, and I didn’t tell the children till afterwards when we were just about to enter The Mall right by the ICA. It seems an odd place to tell them, but then what is a good place to tell someone? Isaac had been explaining (rightly) how mawkish he found one scene where the children explain loss to their dad, and I needed to tell him then. Mary Poppins Returns is not the best film to see when you’ve recently suffered a loss. A theme of bereavement and departure runs right through it.

4 (-) How NOT to write about music – 52. Dori Freeman
Here. Have some sweet melancholy to tide you over. Beautiful voice, beautiful arrangements. There is something a touch of Elvis Costello’s (slightly misguided) country album Almost Blue about this, but we do not hold this against Ms Freeman. Indeed we appreciate Ms Freeman all the more for it. Nostalgia, tinted with regret, tinted with warm melancholy, tinted with an appreciation for a job well done. Not too shabby. Slightly nasal. In a good way. She feels like she’d be someone it would be nice to share a few minutes with, have a few laughs with, move on after and catch a train back to Nowhere. The void. When the song finishes, there is a palpable feeling of loss.

5 (-) How NOT to write about music – 45. Noname
This makes me feel special, like Mr Rogers.

This makes me overcome my retrophobia for a few sweet minutes and makes me think that perhaps growing up wasn’t so bad, even with all the bullies and bigots crowding in.

This makes me think that perhaps I have always undervalued both jazz and funk exponents and that really there is nothing wrong with intricately layered sweetness.

6 (2) How NOT to write about music – 22. (reprinted from 2015)
I wanted to give something back. So I started writing about music, trying to convert everyone to my cause. Even early on – especially early on – I knew that was a futile quest, but that made it all the more fun. If I didn’t think I could change the world through my writing I wouldn’t be doing it, even now. Especially now. I want to communicate the emotion, the rampant emotions that lead me to dance. I want to make everyone else dance. I barely go out to concerts these days – perhaps one every couple of months – but that’s still the case. I still want to make everyone dance. I still want to change the world. These years, I’m whistling in a wind tunnel, pissing in the billowing ocean.

7 (1) How NOT to write about music – 2. Mango
By any interpretation you choose to take, Mango rock. It ain’t the kind of rock I sometimes throw your way, no denying – no heavy kick-ass metallic chundering guitars or chundering kick-ass heavy drums or that shit: but the words are enunciated and stretched out at volume with a velocity and fierceness that offsets the jazz-tinged funk with a pleasing counter. (See the way there I smartly separated the two genres?) I don’t really understand the quiet bits but I never really understand the quiet bits, although I do like the way they sound tentative, nervous, concerned they may be out of order.

8 (3) How NOT to write about music – 21: Robyn
Robyn, Robyn, Robyn! Robyn Robyn Robyn Robyn Robyn Robyn! Robyn, Robyn. Robyn Robyn Robyn Robyn Robyn. Robyn, Robyn, Robyn! Robyn Robyn Robyn Robyn Robyn Robyn! Robyn, Robyn. Robyn Robyn Robyn Robyn Robyn. Robyn, Robyn, Robyn! Robyn Robyn Robyn Robyn Robyn Robyn! Robyn, Robyn. Robyn Robyn Robyn Robyn Robyn Robyn. Robyn, Robyn, Robyn! Robyn Robyn Robyn Robyn Robyn Robyn! Robyn, Robyn. Robyn Robyn Robyn Robyn Robyn. Robyn, Robyn, Robyn! Robyn Robyn Robyn Robyn Robyn Robyn! Robyn, Robyn. Robyn Robyn Robyn Robyn Robyn. Robyn, Robyn, Robyn! Robyn Robyn Robyn Robyn Robyn Robyn! Robyn, Robyn. Robyn Robyn Robyn Robyn Robyn. Robyn, Robyn, Robyn! Robyn Robyn Robyn Robyn Robyn Robyn! Robyn, Robyn. Robyn Robyn Robyn Robyn Robyn Robyn. Robyn, Robyn, Robyn! Robyn Robyn Robyn Robyn Robyn Robyn! Robyn, Robyn. Robyn Robyn Robyn Robyn Robyn.

9 (-) How NOT to write about music – 41. The B-52s
This is so what I want to hear now. Music that bounces and prances. Music that struts and sidesteps and makes weird bird noises every few seconds. Music that’s funky and music that’s chunky. Music that does not make you feel like a flunky. You can taste the sweat, feel the pressure on your feet. You move cos you got to move. Ecstatically, clumsily, wonderfully alert and on edge. Nerves jangling, but at ease. Music that yowls, prowls and sideways scowls. Music with brass, music with class, music that knocks you straight on your ass. Infectious beats, strange rhythmical haircuts.

10 (-) How NOT to write about music – 50. Marshmello ft. Bastille
Then there is this. I don’t understand. I really don’t. How is this, on any level, good? Six million views, 360K likes.

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How NOT to write about music – 64. Mary Poppins Returns

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I have not processed my mother’s death.

I am not even aware which day it happened on, although I know my sister Alison called me up around 9 pm one Saturday evening in December last year. I cannot recall if it happened before or after Christmas. I have moved the leaflet from her memorial service onto one of my shelves alongside the never-to-be-read books and detritus of a former life. Her picture is standing proud above the piano, and my fellow brothers and sisters occasionally get in touch. At the time, I wondered if her death was a relief, a blessing? My mum had not been able to recognise her surroundings or children or even form sentences for years before she died. Maybe it was a relief? Yet here I am on Mother’s Day 2019 and wishing I could just go visit her in her Home in Chelmsford anyway. Just for the reassurance, an echo of the love and support she so warmly gave while she was alive.

I saw Mary Poppins Returns on Sunday 16th December, 10am for 11am, with my three children at a premiere in Leicester Square. I am able to look that date up. It was the morning after my mother died, and I didn’t tell the children till afterwards when we were just about to enter The Mall right by the ICA. It seems an odd place to tell them, but then what is a good place to tell someone? Isaac had been explaining (rightly) how mawkish he found one scene where the children explain loss to their dad, and I needed to tell him then. Mary Poppins Returns is not the best film to see when you’ve recently suffered a loss. A theme of bereavement and departure runs right through it.

I didn’t enjoy the film that day, although it was lovely seeing the children awed by their surroundings and train journey and free snacks. Also, I fucking loved the companionship and sense of family.

During ‘A Conversation’ I was sitting with tears running down my face, trying not to look obvious, as the dad expressed the bewilderment he still feels at his wife’s absence… not least because the shockwaves I have tried to suppress since my divorce last February chose that moment to sound out loud and clear. (There is a moment during ‘Nowhere To Go But Up’ at the film’s end where the Admiral shouts to Jack “don’t you lose her, son” and what have I done but precisely that?)

I found myself resenting the chirpy moments (e.g. the bloke they drafted in to be the new Dick Van Dyke; the scene with Meryl Streep) but I cannot deny that the film’s storming centrepiece, ‘A Cover Is Not The Book’ had me spellbound and in raptures at Emily Blunt’s acerbic, loving, inch-perfect reading of P.L. Travers’ original Mary.

I am becoming distracted, avoiding the issue. It’s so tiring, so draining trying to process grief. Easier to ignore it, shunt it away so it cannot bother you again. I have listened to the soundtrack to Mary Poppins Returns once, twice – even three times a day, every day since I returned to work start of January. I know why. Mary Poppins leaves at the end of the film, at the end of the soundtrack, it’s so sad and yet no one ever seems to notice. If I keep skipping straight back to the start she’s back, helping me, comforting me, supporting me.

I miss you, mum.