Tuesday, July 01, 2008

On Inspiration, Rip Torn, and the Greatest And Best Movie Ever

Songs come from all sorts of places. Neil Diamond admitted that "Sweet Caroline" was inspired by JFK's then-eleven-year-old daughter Caroline Kennedy, a factoid that I find worrisome in a Lewis Carroll, R. Kelly sort of way*, while Elvis Costello patently refuses to expound on the identity of "Allison," though he does know this world is killing her. A few posts back, I mentioned that "Rhapsody in Blue" was inspired by the rhythm of a New York City locomotive, only to find out that the ABBA's "Take A Chance On Me" and the Bee Gees' "Jive Talking" were also inspired by the sound of trains. That underrated Bonnie Raitt tune "I Can't Make You Love Me" originated when a countrified defendant, after shooting up his ex-lovers car, was asked by a judge if he learned anything from his trial, responded "you can't make a woman love you if she don't," a story which still makes me a little dusty every time I retell it. A minute ago, I was reading about how Sting got his inspiration for Roxanne, but he became so insufferably pompous, I gave up after a couple paragraphs. There was, of course, a hooker involved. Then there's this, in which most Beatles fans will find one (1) Beatle and one (1) Beatles song title:

And then there's the piece de resistance: Paul Simon's "Mother and Child Reunion" was inspired by a chicken and egg dish at a Chinese restaurant. That gives me Six Kinds of Happiness. It's like Rip Torn's name. I can't fully fathom the awesomeness of either of those things, though I've spent a fair chunk of my adult life trying.

Really though, when you boil it all down, inspiration doesn't matter. While those origins illustrate that a song can come from something as insignificant as an antique store poster, and while they make for good stories, what remains is simply the music. To put it another way: it's sad that "Smoke on the Water" really did happen, but, also: duh-duh-duh, duh-duh-DUH-nuh.

I write that as an extended to caveat to what's below: a low-rent hip-hop beat, made on an eighties Yamaha, a mandolin, and a sixteen button drum machine. Like so much art, it was inspired out of nothing but boredom and/or Kurt Russell. And the desire to make David rap at us while we drive around middle America, searching for gas. I hope it gets you through four and a half minutes of your Tuesday.

UPDATE 2: The comments clued me in to another player (I tip my hat to Brett there) so give that a try. I deleted the offending iMeem player, but, if you use that thing, the link can be found here. It might even be downloadable but my budding computer illiteracy keeps me from truly confirming that.

* Speaking of R. Kelly, I would be remiss to not mention Josh Levin's thoroughly entertaining Dispatches From The R. Kelly Trial over at Slate. It's expired, but strangely riveting.


brett said...

You could try iJigg

Steve said...

It takes a couple of steps, but you can get a free account at www.box.net and upload the track there. Then you can get an embed link to post the track on the blog.

birdmonster said...

Brett: I love you

Steve: I tried that, but my computer did not get along with box.net. In fact: big argument. Things were said that could not be unsaid and they aren't seeing each other, except when box.net comes over for its cheetah panties and novelty cowboy hat.

Webb said...

What happened to that beat you produced a couple years back? I remember hearing it in your practice space and finding it surprisingly enjoyable.

So, when does Birdmonster's "Hits you don't know why you like, but you do" album drop? I'd pick that shit up.

No I wouldn't.

The Falcon said...

This song goes perfectly with the porn I was watching at the time. Was that on purpose, like the Wizard of Oz - Dark Side of the Moon thing?!?!

birdmonster said...

Webb: I wouldn't buy it either. But I'd give it away. And that beat still lives in my computer, gathering vintage until you lay down some mindbending Colorado-flavored rhymes, preferably about John Elway, Casa Bonita, and New Belgium.

the falcon: Was is "Slutty Nuns 6: In the Habit"? Because if yes, yes.

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