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The Foreverists Preview
21 February 06 from glenn mcdonald 2
Thanks! Bethany liked her valentine, too, which for me is the most desirable outcome but hardly the most likely. Very cool to hear that it also appeals to people who aren't its subject. Not because I wouldn't write you each a song of your own, but history suggests it might take me prohibitively long.
There are many fun things to making music, for me, but certainly one of them is the weird exercise of listening to my own songs and trying to imagine what even I would think of them if I hadn't made them myself. This is the same thing you do with anything you create in any medium, of course, but in writing and software design and photography I have much more experience and, I think, a clearer sense of what aspects of the work I'm in control of. Software design, particularly in a development-team context, is almost entirely an art of intent, rather than serendipity, and although there's clearly some serendipity involved in prose, it's pretty abstract. My tastes in photography are heavily serendipitous, but there the serendipity happens at the beginning of the process (seeing something to shoot, or shooting first and seeing later), and selection, ordering, editing, manipulating and annotating all interpose intent later in the sequence.
Any technically competent musician, I assume, would create music in more the way I do the things at which I'm technically competent. My music skills vary only from negligible to rudimentary, though, so at the most I exert a tenuous influence over how my music comes out. Or a tenuous conscious influence, anyway. I guess a truly tenous influence would be using GarageBand loops or something where you actually replace your own rudimentary skills with somebody else's better ones, which I don't do, although in many ways the results would doubtlessly be improved if I did. I play what I can, and am mostly stuck with whatever happens to come out.
What this means, though, is that I never really know what kind of music I'm making. Even stipulating that mine are toy songs, I often don't know what they're toy versions of. These last two qualify as synth pop by definition, I guess, since they were made almost entirely on a synthesizer, and in the case of "The Foreverists" I hear enough Thomas Dolby similarities to think that makes sense. "To Nevada From Japan" is particularly low on beepy bits, though, and lacks my usual awkward-overkill drum-programming, so I don't know how it isn't simply mainstream, whatever that means.
Anyway, the point is that I highly recommend doing things you love but suck at. If nothing else, it's one of the easiest ways to surprise and puzzle yourself.
20 February 06 from jer 5
I almost always end up liking glenn's songs more than I think I will after one listen, and for reasons other than "hey, I (kinda) know him!" and "hey, I like homemade synth-pop!", but "To Nevada From Japan" may be my favorite yet. It's contains what is easily my favorte glenn chorus, anyway.
18 February 06 from Ian Mathers 4
Yeah, I meant to post a few days ago that I was really impressed with "To Nevada From Japan", and I echo 2fs on the quality of the vocals. Good stuff.
17 February 06 from 2fs 3
zbnet: That's a surprising comment to me (and the next will seem apple-polishy), in that there are thousands of words around here demonstrating the quality of glenn's writing generally - and I'd say his lyrics are at least as good as plenty of "real" (i.e., non- self-recorded and self-distributed) recording artists, and better than quite a number of them. And he hadn't posted the track when you commented, but I think "To Nevada from Japan" is a wonderful, moving lyric. It reads well on the page (okay: on the screen), and it also works in the song. I'll also say it's the best vocal performance I've heard on any of glenn's songs. Vocals have been (for me - and I know whereof I speak, as anyone who's listened to my songs would know) the weakest part of his music so far, but on this track they sound natural, fitting, genuine, and in absolutely no need of any kind of improvement.
13 February 06 from glenn mcdonald 2
Not that making some music together isn't a totally excellent idea, mind you. But that, when we get to it, will be a different activity. I do my own cheerfully hapless song thing because it makes me really, really happy. I don't pretend my songs are very good, but I know that I like them. The lyrics tend to come out oddly, for sure, and I'm more bemused by some than others, but to me the idea that I can surprise and puzzle myself is a big part of the fun.
13 February 06 from glenn mcdonald 2
She sings and plays piano better than I do, too.
13 February 06 from zbnet 1
glenn, it seems rather churlish of me to pass comment on your music (like criticising a German's English in a conversation when it's orders of magnitude better than my German) as the ratio of my music talent falls squarely 100% in the 'consumption' column and 0% under the 'creative' heading;
...but have you ever considered getting Belle to do the lyrics ?