I think when music tries to be intellectual, it takes away from itself musically. Intellect and music don't really mix. Lyrics can be intellectual, but even there I'm not so sure - I guess it depends on your definition of 'intellectual'.
Prezactly. BUT; I think if you're a natural thinkin' feller, your music is going to reflect that no matter if it's a smooth pop hit or banging two pans together. Witness: Daniel Johnston. He had pop musical genius in bucketloads when the mood hit him (if a bit err... roughshod
), and it's easy to tell from his lyrics that he gave them a think or two before penning them down. Also, early punk-turned-something-else bands like Husker Du and Firehose had plenty of acumen to go around, and sounded downright sweet
when they put it in gear.
One of the big problems I have with the "Alternative" scene especially beginning around the '90's is that the word itself was in reverse, a negative. Supposedly people wanted "Alternatives to crap" ... but what if the alternative to "overpolished stadium rock crap" is ... "semi-melodic uncrafted crap"?
Nailed it. Except you may forget that the '90s also had the major labels in a feeding frenzy
for the stuff, and so along with the contract came the professional studio and (heaven forbid) a real producer
that smoothed a lot of edges and made for more listenable stuff, IMHO, even as the bands themselves lost some street cred because of it. Yes, there was a lot of crap, but a lot of gems too. The trouble was the gems needed polishing
I took the music program Audacity and chopped up "What does the Fox Say?" and re-spliced the verses minus the raucous chorus and wound up with something that is surprisingly listenable.
I found the song "surprisingly listenable" all the way through. The point of the whole song was that it was a parody
of pop music. Take the stupidest topic you can think of, dippy noises and all, and craft it into an ultimately listenable, danceable, viable POP song, because that seems to be exactly what the voices on the radio are doing. I think they nailed it.
That's pretty much how the best band I was ever in worked. We had somebody (the lead singer) who was very creative and original - but totally clueless. He was our wild-card factor. The rest of us would take his good ideas and chord progressions (he had made up his own chord shapes - which he played badly) and turn them into workable songs. We used to call it "the process" - or "assaying." It was a good symbiosis. A neat (occasionally brilliant) idea he lacked the knowledge to do something with got turned into a complete song. And we got that oddball riff or idea we might not have come up with ourselves since we knew better. It was a workable arrangement.
Cool story, and reminds me A LOT of the dynamic (as told by other band members) between Syd Barrett and his compatriots in Pink Floyd.
One of my quiet little hobbies is taking a song that feels "promising" but not quite right for me, and doing about one to three easy mods to it, such as chopping out an annoying part, then fiddling with the tempo and pitch. I end up with "my song". No once else has to agree with the result, though I'm sure seven people in the world would. Because once the song is given to me, I get to share in the experience. I get the artist's vision, but then their control leaves.
Congratulations, you're a "re-mix artist". Seriously, there are some folks making careers out of the stuff. If you come up with anything that really tickles, let us hear it.
Dude, Chris Squire's bass sound was what sold me on Rickenbackers back in the day. Not that I could actually afford one, and I never really like their looks, but 'Roundabout' was the first song I remember actually noticing
the bass sound on. Nowadays, I know enough to know it wasn't just the Rick, but... damn.
Also, I think Elvis Costello has had a corner market on 'smart pop' for a while now. I know he's not 'modern' anymore, but you gotta admit the guy has some pretty smooth tricks in his sleeves.