Friday, February 29, 2008

Words written in the wind and the running water

I've been listening to Goldfrapp's new album Seventh Tree, and thotroughly enjoying it. Who'd have thought all those years ago when they had their first album out, which I dismissed as just another dodgy trip hop knock-off, that they'd become one of those bands you'd get really quite excited about? What I find particularly interesting is that, underneath the folky trappings, stylistically it's recognisably the same band as the last couple of albums, the glam stomp of old absorbed into the new style rather than jettisoned. I also like the fact that they've managed to produce something that's very evocative of that Wicker Man style psychedelic-folk thing without being a rather tiresome Wicker Man-derived album.

The best thing (at the moment, anyway) for me, though, is the lyrics. Although by that I don't mean what you think I do.

Take the first track, "Clowns". Reading the lyric booklet in my nice posh special edition blah blah, I see the opening line is "Only clowns would play with those balloons." Only that's not what I hear. What I hear is more like "Only cloeooayeedohmmmaooooo." My theory is that Alison's approached the lyric writing via the method of doing some nice sounding vocalising, and then scribbling down something that it could plausibly be. And this is a Very Good Thing.

Because that's pretty much how I hear lyrics anyhow. I've never been very good at remembering, or even hearing, words beyond the odd pertinent line, even Dylan. Where some people sit about trying to deduce the inner meaning of "Subterranean Homesick Blues", I just enjoy the sounds of the words. I don't really care what they mean, or even if they mean anything. What matters is the feel conveyed by them, and that's got little to do with syntax. This is demonstrated perfectly by the greatest lyric ever penned in the history of rock and pop: "Awop-bop-a-loo-mop alop-bam-boom!"

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