narrative songs

why is it that so many truly excellent songwriters are shat on by music snobs

kesha and miranda lambert are far and away my two favorite writers because they make music that covers the full spectrum of emotions, is lyrically clever, is unpretentious/often funny, covers topics that aren’t commonly addressed in mainstream music, and generally has a cohesive narrative

but so many people instantly write them off because they’re candy pop and country

O WELL everyone in that camp can just miss out and I won’t feel sorry for them

How did science fiction start to shape clipping.’s music, particularly Splendor & Misery?

With the success of the band, it became our jobs, so we wanted more of ourselves in the project. Back when clipping. was just this weird side project that the three of us did, it was this very limited experiment. We needed to expand things. We needed to start talking about what actually mattered to us. […]

Before Daveed started writing the lyrics, we decided we wanted a through-narrative to the songs. I got really into this idea of, “What if the Civil War had gone a different way? What if these struggles were projected onto a sci-fi universe? What if the history of slave songs and folk ballads had continued on into the future?” I wrote basically a short story that I gave to Daveed, then Daveed wrote the lyrics. His words changed everything—he added the love story between the computer AI and the mutinous survivor. 

The Hugo Awards ceremony, in Helsinki this August, is basically the sci-fi equivalent of the Oscars. Are you guys planning on attending?

Um, definitely two of us will be there. The other one, it depends on his schedule now that he’s a big star and all that shit. [laughs] The goal is to do a couple shows in Finland and Norway this summer, just to get us there. That’s looking less and less likely, but still, at least two of us will be there. Because fuck all that, I’m not missing this. We’re never going to get nominated for this again. Our next album will not be science fiction—actually, I shouldn’t say that, because it’s not done—but there’s no way it’ll happen again. Even though there’s no way we’re going to win against “Game of Thrones” or “Doctor Who,” I want to be there. If for no other reason, I would happily, awkwardly, sheepishly approach my favorite authors and tell them what their books mean to me.

- Why clipping.’s Hugo Nomination Matters for Music in Science Fiction

A lovely article by Jason Heller for The Pitch; it’s longer than shown here (I quoted just two sections), so make sure to check out the rest via the link.

Bill is GOING to the damn awards hell or high water, lol. Also, bless his HEART for this:

I was also a huge “Star Trek” fan. What I loved about “Star Trek: The Next Generation” was that it’s the only mainstream piece of science fiction that imagines, in the future, not only technology getting better, but humans getting better. I was like, “This is exactly what my politics are.”

You & me both, Bill; you & me both.

The first time I saw Guardians of the Galaxy, I was curious about Peter’s mix-tape that he’s constantly listening to (not least because dude? You have a casette that didn’t wear out or snap after 20 years? Where the frilly frick did your mother buy her cassettes?).

Mix-tapes were generally put together for a particular person by someone who liked/loved etc them. What struck me is that this mix-tape definitely wasn’t made for Peter. Some of the songs are completely inappropriate for a mother to direct at their child.

However, as I recall, mix-tapes often were used to tell a narrative with songs put in a specific order. If you listen to the tracks as parts of a story, you get so much information about Peter’s mother, who clearly made this mix-tape. If she made it for Peter, it’s to tell him where he came from.

  • “Hooked on a Feeling” - a guy telling a woman about how he can’t resist her and the fact he believes she’s in love with him.
  • “Go All the Way” - … well, the title really says it all, doesn’t it? SEXY TIMES.
  • “Spirit in the Sky” - I can’t help feeling this is much more literal to her than it would be to us, because something has definitely come out of the sky.
  • “Moonage Daydream” - Basically “I know you’re an alien, but I don’t care”
  • “Fooled Around and Fell in Love” - the crush and fooling around has turned into something serious
  • “I’m Not in Love” - the ultimate break-up song, where someone is sitting in a dark room and having a good cry over all the little trinkets and tokens.
  • “I Want You Back” - does exactly what it says on the tin.
  • “Come and Get Your Love” - Again, self-explanatory, with a note of “ffs, will you get your butt back here, because I’m waiting”.
  • “Cherry Bomb” - It took me a couple of listens, but this is about someone who isn’t who she’s expected to be, a “wild girl”. I’m assuming this would be when she found out she was about to be a single mother in the 80s.
  • “Escape (The Piña Colada Song)” - …I’ll let you figure out what a song about a jaded person planning to cheat on his/her long-term lover means in the context of this story.
  • “O-o-h Child” - Someone had a baaaaaaaaaaaaaby.
  • “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” - And even after all of that, she’s still ready and willing to be there for the man she loves, no matter what comes between them.

So in conclusion, Peter’s mother had a swept-off-her-feet kind of romance with this man, who shortly thereafter revealed he was an alien. He wasn’t meant to fall in love with a human, but these things happen. When he had to leave, he had to leave her behind. The break-up was hard and she never got over it, but despite everything and the way people judged her for her behaviour, she didn’t care. She had a child, whom she loved, and if her lover came back, she was ready and waiting for him.

Or I could be completely misinterpreting it :D

As Still As Sound: 1

Author’s Note: my god. i have missed this world. welcome friends <3 please keep in mind the soundtrack for this story is vital to the progression and narrative!
Songs for this chapter: Girl, You’ll Be A Woman Soon - Neil Diamond / Here Comes The Rain Again - Eurythmics
Pairing: Chanyeol x Reader (oc; female)
Genre: Soulmate!AU; fluff
Rating: PG-13
Word Count: 5,168


Wherever you are, the thunder sounds different here, rhythmic and insistent. It means to pull you, drag you away from this place, as if the sound itself is angry and important. As if the sound has hands. The rain feels the same, and it’s this sensation you cling to, the knowledge that this nether space still has rules or laws. Fingers are laced tightly between yours, skin and bone attempting to merge right down the to the marrow. The fear of separation lingers in your joints, making them start to ache and throb with the stress of departure. This fear is the kind that strikes a chill in your heart, makes you jut forward both here and against your mattress, though you don’t know why - it’s something akin to free-falling, except more violent, more desperate and urgent.

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A Word To The Sherlock Fandom

Over the past two weeks I have read some truly angry pieces by a very upset Sherlock fandom. Usually, I would counter this with lots of Moffat praise and wait for the wave of anger to subside. But this time, it has become a matter of showing respect to the LGBT+ community. So for once, I am going to address the issue before I move on with my usual blogging routine. 

For Those Who Don’t Know What The Anger Is About…

In a nutshell, what it boils down to is that the episode The Final Problem gave its viewers the impression that the show might be over for good. And if that really were the case, it would mean the relationship between Sherlock and John would never have become canon. And the hints that were planted throughout the show would have been all in our heads. 

Now let me start by making my position on the matter clear: I firmly believe in a romantic relationship between Sherlock Holmes and John Watson. I believe in it when watching the BBC series, I believe in it when reading the original books, I believe in it even after having watched The Final Problem. I believe. 

Originally posted by violincameos

I also strongly believe that Gatiss and Moffat have actually read the books and that they cannot possibly have overlooked all the subtext that hints towards a John-Sherlock relationship. And finally, I firmly believe that the writers have every intention to include this relationship in the show, if they get the chance…

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so harry talks about this girl’s dad being the first to find out about the song and now he’s interviewed by a local tv only to be stopped mid-interview from a call of his own daughter pretending she doesn’t want this story out…………like couldn’t they stop him BEFORE the interview altogether? did they have to play the oh so shy and private angle in front of the cameras so the girl wouldnt be bashed for wanting publiclity out of this? i think its a bit too late and the credibility of this whole story equals to less than ZERO from the very first time they spoke about it. they are pushing a clearly set up narrative about this song to give harry some sort of rockstar/teenager hookup image that doesn’t belong to him, that fans dont want and that is absolutely not necessary. And let’s not even talk about how shitty this whole story is as its told. It’s overall embarrassing to watch and I am surprised (actually I am not) Harry’s team thought this could spark some sort of interest cause its actually causing the contrary.

anonymous asked:

regarding your analysis of C&L: you mentioned that you don't connect with it as much because it is a more general account of grief, while ACL@M has it's own explicit narrative. comparing Twin Fantasy and Teens of Denial, could you say that your own art has moved in the direction of C&L? TF has a very clear narrative that is relatable in a much deeper way than ToD because it tells a specific, personal story. i love both albums, but your analysis aligns with my feelings about your project.

I’ve seen the term “relatability” thrown around a lot in conversations where people compare, usually in a disappointed tone of voice, ToD with TF. I can’t say I really know what it means. I wrote Denial in the same way that I’ve written every album I’ve made since Twin Fantasy: I’ve started with personal experiences, and attempted to tie them together with more universal sentiments, to create a work with a coherent conceptual arc that stands as something larger than myself. I’ve never written an album like ACL@M. Twin Fantasy was every bit an attempt to create something universal as Denial was; I specifically remember writing Bodys to be an anthem, something people could sing along to with no knowledge of me or my “story”. This was mixed with more diaristic elements elsewhere, obviously, but only inasmuch as it serviced the record as an independent object for it to be diaristic. I’ve never felt that the most important thing on a record is to “tell my story”. That’s not what art is about to me; that’s not how the art that is important to me has affected me. I think every record I’ve made does tell a story, but it is only mine in the sense that my name is on the credits. 

Denial is created in the exact same manner, to the exact same proposed end; it’s a diaristic work of art. Songs like “Drugs With Friends” are specific and personal in a way that I shouldn’t really have to point out. The album tells a story just as TF does, propelled by its musical and conceptual structure, and by repeated motifs and images. The mirroring of song titles, the splitting of sides into “Hometown Hero” and “Cosmic Hero”, the recurring image of being “split in two” - these are not random upcroppings any more than the images and patterns on Twin Fantasy are random. I structured them in a very specific way, to create a specific unfolding of meaning. 

The real difference between these two albums is content. Twin Fantasy is a romance; Teens of Denial is a bildungsroman. Most people will prefer a romance over a bildungsroman, as it speaks to a more essential aspect of humanity. I can’t protest this, and I feel the same way - I think romance is inherently a stronger genre, being (presumably) about two people instead of one. Denial is by no means one of my favorite records. I wrote it during a period in my life where I was not feeling a lot of love. Its tone and content reflect that. I made it because that’s what I do - records have always marked the various phases of my life, and I needed to get out of this one, so I needed to make a record. I think it is what it is, and it’s good for what it is, and other people without a lot of love in their lives might relate to it more strongly than anything else I could have created. If you can’t relate, then consider yourself lucky, and consider checking out one of my many other albums on other subjects.

I think, though, that the reason that a vague term like “relatability” has been selected as appropriate in driving this discourse is that the discourse is based more on how the album was promoted than what the album actually is, when you sit down and listen to it. When we’d wrapped up the record and I was discussing with our publicist what the best approach would be for promoting it, I sent her a track-by-track breakdown of the album, explaining the overarching narrative, and how each song fit in context. Ultimately, we decided to leave this aspect of the record unspoken in promotional material, and focus instead on the strength of the songs as individual works. Thus, the narrative that subsequently built up around the album was about its songs, their accessibility, their potential as works of mass consumption. I had assumed, perhaps blithely, that people who preferred concept records to pop songs, who sought meaning through the building of ideas through a record rather than an immediate emotional release provided by an explicit turn of phrase, would encounter the album on their own time, listen to it while reading the lyrics, and discover that it did, in fact, function on this level as well. I underestimated the power of promotional narrative to influence people’s beliefs about what a thing actually is. This is an idea that has always haunted me, because I don’t speak through press releases, I speak through my art. Most artists do. A press release is something designed to get people to look at art - it should, under no circumstances, be able to replace the art, to override its meaning through memetic repetition. (This is also a large part of what bothered me with C&L; I was tired of seeing people trying to interpret lines like “You checked your texts while I masturbated” under an unshakeable assumption that it must be about his mother’s death.) You must not allow the world to convince you to consume art like this. Art so rarely falls into your lap unannounced, but you must make the effort to pretend as such each time you enter a work; forget what you know about the artist, what you’ve heard other people say about the work, and try to experience it as direct communication. That is the only way you will be able to understand the art as it was intended to be understood.

I don’t want you, but then i also don’t want you with somebody else. We’re stuck playing this sick game. I believe anything you say, and then you do everything to remind me that all we have is lies. I should just be getting over it.
—  Kiannah Joylinn (inspired by ‘somebody else’ by the 1975 - my favorite song right now!)

To the various anons (and a couple of non-anons) that are clogging up my inbox at the moment with explanations, justifications and rantings about a certain song by a certain group that was released today, please take this as my general answer to you all:

1. Why are you trying to goad me into your corner? I am a BABY and my blog is called 110% B.A.P. They are my group and the only ones I post about. End of. 

2. But, I always try to be reasonable and fair to anyone who takes the time to write to me. So that being said, I have read some of the things posted by my mutuals on this topic and I looked up the lyrics myself -

This song - that you claim is ‘harmless’ - is predatory, exploitative and emotionally manipulative. It makes my skin crawl. And the fact that it is allegedly for their fans. Ugh. Some of whom are young and impressionable, some of whom are older and prone to acceptance and worst of all, some who may very well be negatively and dangerously affected by the scenarios put forth and overall narrative tone of the song. This makes me so angry I could scream. 

I was going describe it all as ‘unsavory’ but really - it’s disgusting.

It shows a total lack of awareness and empathy towards those who love them and look up to them - their fans. It is thoughtless. It is the male gaze at it’s absolute, revolting, finest.

This is not some young, rookie group, they are well-traveled young men, who have worked with people from all over the world. The fact that a song like this was even conceived, points to some fundamental flaws within the head-spaces of both the songwriters and those those who okay’d its release. 

I wasn’t a fan before, but I would never rubbish any group or person who is carving out a life for themselves, working hard and making music. But i’m drawing a line here - this is wrong, it’s not acceptable, in fact, it’s just plain awful.

So, you wanted my take on things, well here it is.

Now please stop.


  • <p> <b></b> Unpopular opinion that Not Fall in Love with You from Vol 3 is actually a bees song in disguise.<p/><b></b> How?<p/><b></b> Well from my understanding the argument that it's a BlackSun song is because it played during a BlackSun moment and that the song is from Sun's point of view. But a few lines don't really make sense if it's from Sun's point of view.<p/><b></b> Sun has shown countless times that he is flirty with Blake. With the wink when first introduced, to asking her to the dance, to pointing to her during the Vytal festival. So saying "can I do anything to conceal it?" Doesn't make much sense as he has shown it multiple times. Arguing that he is just a flirtatious person also doesn't work. Neptune is a flirtatious person, a person that has flirted with Weiss, and team INDG. Sun has only been seen to flirt with Blake.<p/><b></b> This outward show of affection is not concealing anything. Nor is it "locking up [his] heart and not feel[ing] it".<p/><b></b> As the song progresses the narrator explains to the listeners that they have fallen hard for their crush and how they wish their crush could "fall for me like I fell for you". When looking at Sun and Blake both have been seen showing some sort of affection to one another. Sun asked Blake to the dance, Blake said yes (albiet after some convincing to go to the dance via Yang). During the festival Sun is able to elicit a blush from Blake. These thing show there is at least some feelings between them, that it's not just one sided.<p/><b></b> "Now how the heck do you think it's Yang singing then?" You ask.<p/><b></b> If you ask any Bee shipper they'll be able to list off some bee moments. The most popular probably being Yang talking one on one with Blake before the dance, the dance snippit, Yang attacking Adam to protect Blake, and then how both characters talk about each other during vol 4.<p/><b></b> Now returning to the lyrics. With Yang as our narrator the lines seem to make more sense with the narrative of the song. Yang has been seen to be flirtatious few times. Off the top of my head I can think of the first night at Beacon where she was checking out the guys, and at Junior's club (if you can call that flirting). But as of late Yang has shown very little flirting overall except for a few times with Blake. In this sense Yang could be concealing her true feelings. Trying to "lock up [her] heart and not feel it". Of course her feelings are seen countless times as Yang constantly worries about her partner and tries her best to encourage and help Blake.<p/><b></b> Then later in Vol 3 when Adam threatens Blake that he will destroy everything she loves a single look at Yang can tell Adam that Yang cares, or dare I say, loves Blake. The lyrics can easily match up with this scene as Yang, who is a complete stranger to Adam is instantly made a target due to her simply looking for Blake. Also having it be Adam attacking Yang and not some Joe Smoe can invent tension that Adam understands what it's like being in love with Blake (although not confirmed Adam and Blake have a past, and the fact Adam is deliberately targeting people Blake loves, or love Blake can be a sign that he is jealous or wants Blake back to himself).<p/><b></b> Then there's the "if your heart would agree" lines. This is a common fear when falling for someone, that they won't feel the same back. Which can be used to enforce hiding one's feelings in the first place. Sun and Blake have already shown they have some sort of feelings for one another, whether it's one sided or not. Yang on the other hand would have more to fear from if Blake didn't feel the same. If found out their current relationship as partners and friends would change and can add more tension to the team in general. This also can explain the "could you fall for me like I fell for you" as that would make things not one sided and ultimately, take any fear Yang would have about the situation away. But the romance in the song is also referred to as a "dream romance" which can imply the narrator doesn't think their crush actually reciprocates the feelings (again Sun and Blake have done this on some level).<p/><b></b> Lastly, this song is a coming to terms song. The narrator is coming to terms that they are in love with this person. The narrator is trying to hide their feelings, trying to not fall in love with someone. Yet the final line of the song is "I'm in love". This is important because again the few times Yang has flirted was with men. In a sense this can also simply be a song about Yang coming to terms with her sexuality, which can further explain why the narrator is trying to hide their feelings and feels like the romance will never happen.<p/><b></b> With the Vol 4 soundtrack practically out (I'm still waiting, thanks Amazon) we got BMBLB, a song that's being praised as the bees song showing Yang loves Blake. But songs, specifically RWBY songs, have a narrative and are known to have multiple parts (ex. Red Like Roses, Mirror Mirror). Not Fall in Love with You can be seen as part one of a story and part 2 can be BMBLB(this is based purely on lyrics I've seen). Not Fall in Love with You is about coming to terms with loving someone, and BMBLB is about embracing that love. Or as Yang coming to terms being into Blake and finally accepting that she is and embracing the hell out of it.<p/><b></b> I want to point out that I am not trying to say BlackSun will never happen, or that Bumbleby will never happen. I am just making an observation about the songs from what we've seen in the show.<p/></p>

With all things considered this is quite a smart game… All 4 of them use official narrative, but then you see resistance or ship narrative. This way they are gathering support and attention from every corner of the fandom. Look:

- Liam: pushes official narrative to a point of sickness in interviews, but most fans believe in him and don’t question this weird way of selling music. Then talks a lot about Zayn which gathers the support of Ziam shippers and Zayn fans. At the same time, with the weirdness of it all and the inconsistencies some still fight the narrative and keep supporting him no matter what;

- Harry: pushes official het narrative through the song Carolina and “Tess” person is a thing on tabloids without much of his cooperation. At the same time, keeps being evasive about his sexuality and his involvement with Louis. Then tweets about him and his team keeps that online for a while. This way he gets support from hets and larries that fight the narrative;

- Louis: keeps pushing het narrative too… Gets ride of Danielle like she never existed and brings back Eleanor. Freddie son is still a thing, but he only does the bare minimum… Talks about him in some interviews like the kid is just a doll then after almost a year shares a pic or is papped with him. At the same time, there is still some resistance and “coincidences” from his side so that keeps larries engaged while antis are happy with the official narrative;

- Niall: keeps going around being 1D’s biggest fan, or at least Larry biggest fan. Also keeps talking about official narrative for the other boys like freddie son and bear son. Never seen any of the kids, but has all the presents and sees them through pics. In the end, is still seen as the captain since his lies and reactions can speak for themselves.

So if you really look at it their teams are being quite smart. They keep every side of the fandom engaged and get profit out of it. But this is just me being critical of what i’ve seen so far in terms of promo for them as solo artists. We’ll see in the next few weeks. 


So, she took the narrative that she wanted to be excluded from and ran with it.


Now she’s one smart cookie, so what might seem propably obvious to some is not so straight forward. If you’re trying to turn the song being about Tom and how he used her, then you’re on the wrong tracks. This song is all about the media and “the toxics” and how they pushed her to do things in her life because it all just became too much.

I know many Hiddlestoners were afraid of her making this to be about shading her ex but instead she’s pointing the finger exactly there where it should be.

She’s taking a stand for herself and saying hey, even though I’m the best selling female artist in the world, I’m still a human being and even I have limits. YOU, the ones who called her snake, the ones who dragged her endlessly and all that BS, are the reason I had to make such a big changes in my life.

I had to break up with my BF, I had to get into hiding, I had to stop living my life like I used to. AND IT’S ALL YOUR FAULT.

That’s why she’s saying The Old Taylor Is Dead. She’s no longer willing to be judged by people who have zero knowledge of how things really are so she’s giving out nothing to anyone. Not even her fans. It breaks my heart.

References into films and actors are not references to Tom but to how the media and toxics turned the whole thing into a show and media frency and how they tried to make her to play a part in THEIR narrative. This song has nothing to do with Tom.

Also I love the snake thing in the sense that everyone should know that a snake will not attack or bite unless it is either hunting or defending itself. Now the snake bites back and it is defending itself.

Originally posted by chbiusa

In case you want to check out the lyrics, they’re below the cut.

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drinking-sangrias  asked:

Jen, after your last reply you left me wondering if there are more matches between the numbers of different "types" of songs between the albums.

That’s an interesting question! Someone the other day mentioned that she thought Divide was like a new version of Multiply with correlations between the different songs. I haven’t gotten around to answering her yet, but let me see if I can find the ask and we can talk about it now… Ah, here it is: 

I think that in order to find similarities between Ed’s songs so that we could decide which ones fit into each different category, we would first have to decide what criteria we’re using to create the categories. For instance, this anon is establishing a correlation between Shape of You and Sing, and I totally see it because they were both the first single from their respective albums and both are upbeat bops which did well on radio, both seem a bit different from Ed’s usual style, and both put him a little out of his comfort zone to perform. But I think if I were using my own criteria to establish correlations between the songs, I would say that Sing is more like Galway Girl than like Shape of You. Both Sing and Galway Girl tell similar stories about meeting a girl who is immediately intriguing to the speaker and dancing, drinking, and having fun with the girl in a very casual setting (notably not falling in love – just having fun for a night). Both songs have that fast-talking type of singing that Ed does really well, and both songs have a noticeably Irish influence (Sing with the football chant and Galway Girl with the trad music). And they still are both a bit different from what I would consider his usual style.

I think that the primary difference in my categorization versus the anon’s has to do with what the songs are actually about, rather than how they sound and the circumstances of their release… I can see it both ways, though.

Let’s look at some of Ed’s other songs. I’m going to create some pretty broad categories and see which songs I think fit into each category and which are the odd ones out. We’ve already done Love Ballads, so I’ll start there. 

Love Ballads:

  • Plus: Wake Me Up, Lego House, Kiss Me
  • Multiply: Photograph, Tenerife Sea, Thinking Out Loud 
  • Divide: Perfect, How Would You Feel (Paean), Hearts Don’t Break Around Here

Autobiographical Storytelling:

  • Plus: The City, You Need Me I Don’t Need You
  • Multiply: Nina, Take It Back
  • Divide: Eraser, Save Myself

Character Studies:

  • Plus: The A Team
  • Multiply: Runaway
  • Divide: Nancy Mulligan

Songs of Uncertainty:

  • Plus: Little Bird
  • Multiply: I’m a Mess, Touch and Go
  • Divide: Dive

Pining/ Loneliness/ Difficulty Moving On:

  • Plus: Drunk, UNI, Give Me Love, Sunburn
  • Multiply: One, Bloodstream
  • Divide: Happier

Frustration/ Anger/ Betrayal:

  • Plus: ?
  • Multiply: Don’t, The Man, Shirtsleeves
  • Divide: New Man

Death of a Loved One:

  • Plus: Small Bump, Autumn Leaves
  • Multiply: Afire Love
  • Divide: Supermarket Flowers


  • Plus: Gold Rush
  • Multiply: English Rose
  • Divide: Castle on the Hill

Bops About Admiring Various Women:

  • Plus: Grade 8
  • Multiply: Sing
  • Divide: Shape of You, Galway Girl

Okay, so… I don’t really think this categorizing thing works for most of the songs. I mean, some of these are pretty clear correlations, but others are fuzzy at best. For instance, I do think that The A Team and Runaway have some similarities, but they’re not really like Nancy Mulligan except that all three songs are the story of a person’s life (a character study). But I don’t see another correlation for Nancy Mulligan besides Afire Love and Supermarket Flowers, because all of them are about Ed’s grandparents, but obviously AL and SF are about death and NM is about life. Hmm. 

There also doesn’t appear to be an angry song on Plus. I was kind of surprised to find that, but The Man and Shirtsleeves were written in time to make it onto Plus and were held back, so Ed was writing that type of song back then… I would also have put Love Yourself in that category if it had been on one of Ed’s albums.

The songs that I couldn’t figure out how to categorize at all are Even My Dad Does Sometimes, I See Fire, This, What Do I Know, Barcelona, and Bibia Be Ye Ye. None of them seem very much like each other or Ed’s other songs to me. The anon put Barcelona with New York (I assume because they’re both place names?) but I feel like New York is primarily about new beginnings and could really have taken place anywhere, whereas Barcelona is a celebration of that particular city and having fun going there with someone you love. Honestly, I feel like Barcelona is the natural evolution of Sofa, but I didn’t place them together since Sofa wasn’t on any of these albums. 

There are of course lots of other ways that these songs could be grouped and arranged, and I’m sure everyone would have a different way of organizing them. For instance, I almost had a category about substance abuse as a coping mechanism with Drunk, Bloodstream, and Eraser in it. I also think I’m a Mess and Save Myself would fit neatly into a category about self-reflection. And of course YNMIDNY, Take It Back, and Eraser seem to fit together in their own separate category as rap songs even though I’ve grouped them here with other narrative songs… 

I suppose what I’ve learned from this exercise is that Ed doesn’t appear to be using a strict formula when it comes to deciding what type of songs go on his albums - at least not an obvious formula that has remained constant over all three. But I would be interested in doing this again after the next album comes out. If there are three love ballads and a single rap song, we can at least observe a continued pattern there. :) 

PS. You always send me the most thought-provoking questions! I’m sorry I haven’t answered more of them. I always save them for when I have more time to think, and then they get buried in my inbox. I’ll try to stay more on top of this. 

A bit of “who lives, who dies, who tells your story” meta

Not only does this song discuss narrative control, but it also discusses time– how much we have, what we do with it.

Eliza says I stop wasting time on tears, I live another fifty years, and what does she do with her time?

Eliza: I interview every soldier who fought by your side… I try to make sense of your thousands of pages of writings… we tell your story

And then she says But I’m still not through, I ask myself what would you do if you had more time, and what does she do with the time that Hamilton so desperately wanted but never had?

Eliza: I raise funds in D.C. for the Washington Monument

Washington: She tells my story

The FIRST thing Eliza knows Hamilton would do with his own time is tell Washington’s story– and, not only that, to work to honor him in a very PUBLIC, long lasting manner, continuing to bind their legacies and their lives together.

Everything he left incomplete, and he would have chosen Washington above all.

Album of the Day: Frank Ocean - ‘Endless’

Frank Ocean is an enigma. An artist who refuses to explain himself or his art. He speaks through his art. After a little more than 4 years, and one and a half years after the initial announcement of his third official album “Boys Don’t Cry” (or whatever it will be called), Frank launched a mysterious livestream inside a warehouse where he built a staircase to climb and reach the top by the end of the livestream. He did it for 4 days (starting August 1st), and then disappeared for 2 weeks, with no explanation, and no album, even after the New York Times reported the album and the magazine would be out on August 5th. Two weeks passed until Thursday night when Frank came back to the livestream and it came to a conclusion and his new 45-minute visual album “Endless” was released as an Apple Music exclusive.

A very important and key element of this whole livestream/film was that every day, during the time Frank was working, we would hear snippets of what appeared to be new music from a boombox inside the warehouse, in a very minimal manner. We would hear a beautiful acoustic guitar melody looped for few minutes, then it would cut to a synth melody looped for another few minutes, so on and so forth. But every day, these sounds became more developed as more elements were added to them, and on the final day, we heard the full songs while Frank was finishing the staircase. What I got from this was Frank showing his creative process in the form of a metaphor (making the staircase) and when you hear the album, there’s this strange sense of familiarity and satisfaction at the same time. That the snippets that we heard for 5 days have actually lead to the full songs (and interludes).

“Endless”, however is not “the” album. It’s the prelude to the album that is supposed to follow up “Channel Orange”. But if “Endless” is anything to go by, the forthcoming album is going to be an astonishment to behold, because “Endless” itself is an all-around great album. It’s bold, gorgeous, unsettling and confident. With this album, Frank has taken a whole new path with his music and lyrics. A lot of these songs (18 tracks in total) have no form or structure. At times they sound as if they were created in one day as Frank was experimenting with different sounds and vibes with his producers without any sort of pre-planning or pre-written material. As a result, the lyrics of this album are like a stream of consciousness, and they are emotionally unsettling and dark for the most part. An instant highlight of the album “U-N-I-T-Y” is the first track where Frank legitimately raps in a very rant-like, confident manner and his compelling flow never lets go of your attention. You keep trying to understand what he is saying, and his lyrics are strangely out of character.

“Is you Roger or Novak? You still are no match, you get no rematch. Boy, you missed your moment.” That’s not a very Frank Ocean-esque line, is it? Yet it’s pleasantly surprising that Frank delivers interesting lines like this over a very beautiful, laid-back instrumental consisted of a guitar and programmed beats (which sound insanely fresh, by the way.) Another very out of character lyric that is strangely fitting is in the song “Sideways” where Frank raps “Sucked a dick long, had a swan neck, put some real swans in the pond then.” The very seamless transition from melodic rapping to singing that Frank does throughout the album is absolutely incredible. His rapping does not feel forced at all and shows a different side of his musicality.

The best track of the album, and quite easily one of Frank’s absolute best songs musically and lyrically is the very somber, heartbreaking “Rushes To” which is about Frank describing the time he spent/is spending with his lover. It’s one his ‘narrative’ songs, the more you listen the more you take out of it. It’s also one of the very few non-rap/beat-oriented songs of the album all the way through. It’s only consisted of an acoustic guitar, a bluesy electric guitar and a distant synth line that fades out quickly. “Saturdays involved making our entrances into life outside” Frank sings in a very quiet, vulnerable way.

Then the story of the song gets a very dark turn lyrically as Frank describes the time when he made a sextape with his lover and rewatched it to recapture the moment they had, but the “only difference is it’s flat.” A simple yet absolutely crushing line that suggests that intimate moment may never be recreated through rewatching a sextape. Then few moments later comes the most stunning vocal range and high notes that Frank has ever delivered. It’s so incredible. I cannot praise it enough but it’s something that needs to be experienced rather than read about.

“Endless” is a challenging album because of its unconventional structure and lyrics. None of the songs have a hook or chorus. They’re not radio-friendly. The songs are very personal (Frank makes them sound personal even if they are fiction). The sound of the album is very different than “Channel Orange”. It’s more electronic and beats-oriented and despite the complexion of most of the beats (particular “Higgs”) there’s always a sense of “space” in every song, which adds to the lasting impact of the album long after it’s finished. Malay, one of Frank’s frequent producers mentioned that the majority of the album was made with a handheld mic in the control room. So you get a sense that a lot of these lyrics were most likely sung in the moment, and you might also notice some human error in the album as well, which makes the album more human and intimate. Even if Frank doesn’t releases the “official” follow-up to “Channel Orange” anytime soon, “Endless” once again proves Frank’s magnificent artistry on all fronts.