I responded to my role as the Best Man at my friend’s wedding today in the only way I saw fit. I wrote a song.
I feel like I am a secret at the moment. All my musical output is locked in a safe, awaiting release. New material for my project with Bill Ryan, The Eleventh Hour Initiative, is sounding amazing. My creativity is at a peak. So what better time to hark back to the past and suggest an old track for you to listen to? ’50s Teen Flick has a killer chorus. It is a song that is diametrically opposed to something like Colour My Grey Sky in that it took forever to write. Sometimes a quick song is the best. Sometimes, however, a song has to be wrung out of a writhing, screaming corpse. ’50s Teen Flick is that song.
Here’s one of those moments frozen in time. Colour My Grey Sky is the final track from my debut album All Monsters and Dust. I recorded it a long, long time ago. I vaguely remember that I walked into my studio, picked up the electric guitar and played the song in one take. I recorded the guitar and vocal onto one track – anyone with any ‘studio’ knowledge out there will know how restrictive that is. But, for this particular ‘song’, that one take/one track mentality worked wonders. It set the song in stone right from its inception. Colour My Grey Sky only ever existed in its final form. There was no ‘writing process’. There was no ‘practice’. The creation was the conclusion. There are few lyrics because I didn’t ‘write’ any words. The song simply documents my feelings on that day. History. I think it’s a pretty song – more than the sum of its parts. A truly fitting song for the final moments of an album that took so much blood, sweat and tears to put together. After all that tortuous soul-searching, the last song just flowed from me with no effort whatsoever. That, my friends, is life.
As I continue to flag songs that I think are worthy of attention from the Confession archives I stumble upon this one. Almost literally stumble, for this is a song that could trip you up with its sheer, overwhelming epicness. I have a bad memory, and so without reading back through this website and finding my inspiration dutifully recorded at the time, it is difficult to recall the inspiration for the song. However, it seems to be a progression of Perhaps I’ll Kill You, although longer and less refined. Action Hero is an album rolled into a single song, and for that reason, this song is worth a moment (or ten) of your time. Enjoy.
I’ve just been flicking through my back catalogue and I came across this gem. I remember writing this song. I had just watched Les Miserable at Queens Theatre, London and I came up with the (mad) idea of trying to fit a whole musical into the space of a five minute pop song. Perhaps I’ll Kill You was the result. I was proud of it at the time – in fact I thought it might just be the best thing I’d ever done – and listening to it today it still sounds great. And very, very mad!
I watched a documentary on the history of the vinyl album last night. It set me thinking… how different times were back then. I remember when CDs became mainstream, I, along with everyone else, rushed to replace my favourite tapes and records with their CD equivalents. For years I was happy and that seemed the right thing to have done. Now I’m not so sure.
Watching that documentary made me realise the great thing about the vinyl album. For starters, the physical item was a solid slab of nondescript black plastic. Every album – once stripped of its sleeve artwork – looked exactly the same. A circle of black. A circle of black that could only hold a certain length of sound. Every band, no matter how lowly or how grande, had to make music to the constraints of that black circle. Every band, whether an obscure entity or the most popular group of the day, had to construct their music to fit two discrete sides of plastic. Two sides of a coin.
I suppose what I’m saying is that I like the fact that bands had to create their worlds within a set of rules that every other band also had to follow. Two sides of round, black vinyl.
… and the album artwork. Those gatefold sleeves. I know it’s comforting to be nostalgic… but are we losing a little of the magic in this internet age? A time of bands producing 24 hour-long songs. A time of a billion hits on YouTube for fad music. A time when anyone can bypass the record company and release whatever they want, whenever they want.
Nostalgia. I am well renowned for basking in its warm glow. Nostalgia and red wine. I thank you.
2012 was a pretty eventful year… but I have the sneaking suspicion that 2013 is going to trump it! I have various fingers in various pies – the fruits of which will hopefully blossom in the next 12 months (and I’m well aware of the little sense this sentence makes!).
‘Happy New Year’ to all my Confession of the Whole School fans!