ATTENTION: You are viewing a page formatted for mobile devices; to view the full web page, click HERE.

Main Area and Open Discussion > Living Room

What modern music (today) is considered to be both pop AND intellectual?

<< < (7/8) > >>

Nilsson!!  I've always considered him a "fifth Beatle".  Incredible vocal range and brilliant songwriter.  :Thmbsup:

-Edvard (June 05, 2014, 11:43 PM)
--- End quote ---

Sometimes you can "back into" a great singer from a cover. Nilsson's re-arrangement of "Without You" is one I first learned about through an Air Supply cover. ("Semi-RIP" Russell Hitchcock. Back as a youngster when I used to follow this stuff intently, I think he got ill or something because he lost about half an octave on his range in about two years and this was the last song he could nail his signature tenor.)

The Air Supply version:

Which led me to the Nillson version:

For Nillson I still think he reached his creative apogee with The Point. Great little tale. I loved his illustrations, and the music was marvellous. Especially the songs: Polli High (vintage Nillson that one!) Are You Sleeping and the Point of View Waltz. I particularly like the opening line in the P.O.V. Waltz:

And suddenly
The strangest things are happening...
I hope it's not the last time

Not a bad philosophy IMO.

Last I looked, somebody had the full animation up on YouTube. (This one with Ringo Starr. God knows why. The original with Dustin Hoffman as the father and narrator was far better IMO.) Might want to watch or grab it while you can.


Since I'm on a Nillson jag, also check out his album Pandemonium Shadow Show. I'm impressed at how well this holds up considering RCA Studios penchant for overproduction and cathedral-esque reverb on vocal mixes back in that era.

I personally think his cover of the Beatles She's Leaving Home and his interpretation of Without Her are easily as good as the originals. Not a small feat when it comes to a Beatles song. And on the original front 1941 and Sleep Late, My Lady Friend are spot on brilliant despite the over the top production. Lyrics for 1941
Well, in 1941 a happy father had a son
And by 1944, father walks right out the door
And in '45 the mom and son were still alive
But who could tell in '46 if the two were to survive

Well, the years were passing quickly but not fast enough for him
So he close his eyes through '55 then he opened them up again
When he looked around he saw a clown and the clown seemed very gay
And he set that night to join that circus clown and run away

Well, he followed every railroad track and every highway sign
And he had a girl in each new town and the towns he left behind
And the open road was the only road he knew
But the color of his dreams were slowly turning into blue

The he met a girl, the kind of girl he wanted all his life
She was soft and kind and good to him so he took her for his wife
And they got a house not far from town and in a little while
The girl had seen the doctor and she came home with a smile

Now in 1961 a happy father had a son
And by 1964 the father walks right out the door
And in '65 the mom and son were still around
But what will happen to the boy when the circus comes to town?

--- End quote ---

Pandemonium Shadow Show was the first product of Nilsson's three-year, $50,000 recording contract with RCA Records, and was recorded in their Hollywood studio. Unlike virtually all his earlier records, Show employed the full potential of Nilsson's voice in the recording studio, turning him into what was described as a "chorus of ninety-eight voices". The album debuted to little public attention in the US and England, although it was an immediate hit in Canada, where "You Can't Do That" was a top 10 hit. Beatles publicist Derek Taylor heard "1941" on his car radio waiting for his wife at the supermarket and, enjoying the track, ordered a case of copies, sending them out to various industry people he believed would be interested including The Beatles, who later invited Nilsson to London and helped further his career -
--- End quote ---

That's why we turned them into rules - sort of a crutch for the creativity impaired.
-Vurbal (June 05, 2014, 11:37 AM)
--- End quote ---

FWIW I think some "rules" are actually liberating. And creativity by itself is vastly over-hyped in my opinion. A musical idea is cheap. Most of us can crank out a dozen or more on demand. Finding one that's worth doing something with, and knowing how to do something with it, is an altogether different thing. Therein lies (to me) the difference between creativity and art. Creativity is just the raw material - not the finished piece. Or the process leading to it. You need both. But music isn't just about being creative.
-40hz (June 05, 2014, 02:05 PM)
--- End quote ---

I suspect you and I are using different definitions for "creativity" and "rules."  :)

Perhaps it's simpler if I explain in terms of writing rather than music; simpler because music really has one set of rules for the masses and another for musicians. At any rate, when it comes to writing I can't really keep up with language rules because I do everything based on my internal "ear." My oldest daughter is the same way, as are my other kids to one degree or another.

I've always told them not to sweat proper grammar except when the rules say they have to. Otherwise, I say, "the rules are for people who can't hear the music." For the most part things like not ending a sentence with a preposition or beginning a paragraph with a main sentence are just what makes the most sense.

However language, much like music, is infinitely malleable. It has rhythm, melodies, harmonies, and almost everything music does except (when written) you can only hear it in your head. When I write it's almost a stream of consciousness based on how I "hear" things in my head. As it turns out, prepositions at the end of a sentence are often the best way to make a point clearly and concisely. Also supporting sentences leading up to a main point typically makes your argument more cogent and convincing.

In terms of music, there are the rules for the masses of children in classrooms around the world, but also rules musicians adopt for themselves based on their musical training and experience. I think of those less as rules and more like an imperfect, but hopefully expansive and ever expanding, understanding of the common experience of music the same way people create their own rules for basic interpersonal communication. In the musician's case, that understanding is heavily tempered by the people he plays with. While I do tend to view my own experiences as rules of a sort, it's the same way I view my writing style. They aren't the rules, just my rules for myself... in particular situations... except when they aren't.

I was referring to the more basic and general rules though.

Three more additions for intelligent pop: Cat Stevens, Nillson, and Harry Chapin.

And add in some intelligent pop ladies: Loreena McKinnet, Kate Bush, Chrissy Hynde, and Margie Adam. (@SB -check Margie out here.)
-40hz (June 05, 2014, 09:57 PM)
--- End quote ---
Nilsson!!  I've always considered him a "fifth Beatle".  Incredible vocal range and brilliant songwriter.  :Thmbsup:

-Edvard (June 05, 2014, 11:43 PM)
--- End quote ---

All I can say is listen to the song Coconut (as in Put the lime in the...) and it's hard not to call Nilsson a genius. In lesser (even very capable) hands that song would be a steaming pile of excrement. In his hands it's a thing of beauty.


[0] Message Index

[#] Next page

[*] Previous page

Go to full version