Having spent today trolling around Central Park and the neigbouring environs taking in the Aids Walk NYC - music review coming soon....plus photos, if I can figure out how to liberate them from their mobile phone incarceration - I got to ruminating on the part music plays in shaping beliefs, lives, and maybe even social change. Having attended Dark Was The Night Live recently and really enjoying the benefit compilation, this has been a relatively well brewed topic, percolating in my brain box for much of the month.
Personally, music at the very least soundtracks some very important and defining times in my existence, as well as at times reinforcing - or even directing - actions I have taken. Off the top of my head, artists from Rage Against the Machine, through At the Drive-In, Strike Anywhere, and particularly Boysetsfire have all pushed a desire to become actively involved in causes in some way. Rarely have these been direct listen-react interventions......I'm not joining the Zapatista movement any time soon......but the idea of trying to contribute something positive or act in some way has always been stimulated by those bands.
Beyond that - and getting to the point of this post - some artists seem to pen particularly empowering songs that really assist decisions for the future or validate choices of the past. As The Hold Steady succinctly put it - and the name of a pretty schweeet blog, as an aside - "Certain songs they get so scratched into our souls".
Frank Turner is one such artist who really manages to strike at the chords lining my reasoning. Many have been the times I have floundered in my confidence to continue along a certain path and a song from this poetically-inclined fella has reinvigorated my will. So as a nod to this and a bit of build up to whatever great material the boy is currently recording in a Brooklyn studio.......is every musician recording here right now??........I wanted to focus on the excellent lyrics to the title track on Turner's most recent release, 2008's 'Love Ire & Song'. Although there's a consistent theme of jaded aging through that album, I generally prefer to take the commitment to stick to one's guns and stiffen resolve as the message, particularly on this song and Photosynthesis.
Anyhow, a vid and the lyrics follow this rambling nonsense (hey, every blog is supposed to have its 'voice' right? Well, mine is much like that of some old codger sat on a park bench rattling off old days stories.....just that these are musical tales and I ain't balding.....yet). But a nod to the excellence of 'Love Ire & Song' and Frank's other releases just before we get to the goodies.
Official Site / Myspace
Love Ire & Song
A teacher of mine once told me that life was just a list of disappointments and defeats, and you could only do your best. And I said: well that's a fucking cop out, you're just washed up and you're tired, and when I get to your age, well, I won't be such a coward. But these days I sit at home, I'm known to shout at my TV, and punk rock didn't live up to what I'd hoped that it could be. And all the things that I believed with all my heart when I was young are just coasters for beers and clean surfaces for drugs, and I've packed all my pamphlets with my bibles at the back of the shelf.
Well it was bad enough, the feeling, the first time it hit, when you realized your parents let the world all go to shit, and that the values and ideals for which so many fought and died had been killed off in committees and left to die by the way-side. But it was worse when we turned to the kids on the left, and got let down again by some poor excuse for protest; by idiot fucking hippies in fifty different factions, locked inside some kind of sixties battle re-enactment. So I hung up my banners in disgust and I head for the door.
Oh but once we were young and we were crass enough to care, but I guess you live and learn. We won't make that mistake again. But surely just for one day we could fight and we could win, and if only for a little while, we could insist on the impossible.
Well we've been a good few hours drinking, so I'm going to say what everyone's thinking: if we're stuck on this ship and it's sinking, then we might as well have a parade. Because if it's still going to hurt in the morning, and a better plan’s yet to get forming, then where's the harm spending an evening in manning the old barricades?
So come on old friends, to the streets, let's be 1905 but not 1917. Let's be heroes, let's be martyrs, let's be radical thinkers who never have to test drive the least of their dreams. Let's divide up the world into the damned and the saved, and ride to the valley like the old Light Brigade, and straighten our backs, and not be afraid, and they’ll celebrate our deaths with a national parade.
Leave the morning to the morning, pain can be killed with aspirin tablets and vitamin pills. But memories of hope and of glorious defeat are a little bit harder to beat.
Now playing: Hot Water Music - Paper Thin