MCMXC #feelbadafter

“No great mind has ever existed without a touch of madness.”

  • – Aristotle

Aristotle was a Greek philosopher who, among other texts, wrote Poetics. Poetics looks to address various types of verse, design, and division, in its segment parts. He characterizes verse that tries to address or copy life, through character, feeling, or activity.

In college, the area where I held up under scrutiny was theatre, and I learned a maxim that a little foolishness is genius, but too much foolishness is madness.

For the thirty-first of January, blogger Jim Adam’s prompt is the words, “Even/Odd.” Either of these words, in a song title, or the lyrics of a song, is the clue. I think this is the sixth time I’ve joined in Jim’s Song Lyric Sundays, a blog hop to share music.

Divided Exactly By 2 – A Unique Title For Me (wordpress.com)

About poetry, the word “even” is in the lyrics of “You’re Still Beautiful,” a 1990 song by the Aussie new wave band, The Church. New wave envelops various styles from the 1970s and the 1980s. The lyrics of “You’re Still Beautiful” indicate to me a kind of despair between man and woman, who perhaps are struggling to reconcile, after spending time apart.

You’re Still Beautiful

The song was part of the 1990 LP Gold Afternoon Fix, and the third of three singles for the LP. It was their second album by the band for Arista Records, after several earlier albums, those ones on Parlophone, I think.

It was the start of the nineties, and the days of The Church as a big, big rock band were coming to an end. That said, Gold Afternoon Fix featured another anthem: the song Metropolis.

The Church

Yet The Church guitarist Peter Koppes didn’t think You’re Still Beautiful was a good song. I like Gold Afternoon Fix, but we’re talking about the word of Peter Koppes, who did a record album as recently as last year, as did Steve Kilbey.

Also, the other guitarist for The Church, Marty Willson-Piper, years later, in his blog, dismisses Gold Afternoon Fix. In 1990, the going drummer for The Church, Richard Ploog, left the band, after doing the percussion for only four of the songs of the recording sessions. A few years later, Nick Powles joined The Church as their drummer.

Willson-Piper asks in his blog:

How did we go along with this approach with all our knowledge and experience? How did this come about when we were always so uncompromising when it came to our music? What the hell happened?

I am not sure whether Ploog provided his talent as a drummer for You’re Still Beautiful, or whether the beat of the song is the drum machine. If I listen again more closely, perhaps I can hear the difference.

The Church was a band I began to appreciate when I saw them on TV, and I thought about their music. When one of my uncles introduced me to the net, not too long after, searching for interview material with the band and that kind of thing was what I immediately thought to do. I was pleased to think, as a high school kid, I could get music like the songs on Gold Afternoon Fix.

You’re Still Beautiful

I enjoyed their album Priest=Aura, and I liked Heyday, too, and other albums of theirs I had on compact discs I quite liked, such as Of Skins and Hearts. I listened to The Blurred Crusade quite a bit, too. I found it charming, contenting.

Starfish in 1988 was exemplary. The lead-in single is a classic hit, but all ten songs on Starfish are great. Steve Kilbey sings eight of them, I think, and Koppes one song and Willson-Piper one song.

Gold Afternoon Fix is similar, with the band’s singer Steve Kilbey singing most of the songs and the two aforementioned gentlemen singing a couple of the tunes.

Willson-Piper in his blog discusses how grunge in 1990 was the writing on the wall. Singer Steve Kilbey was soon to evidence personal problems, and although the next Church record Priest=Aura was perhaps more inspired than Gold Afternoon Fix, Kilbey had no easy time of it, given his taste for what you might call debauchery. The word “even” is employed in You’re Still Beautiful this way: “You’re still beautiful, baby, even when you fall down that way.”

I assume the lady in the song is an alcoholic, or some kind of otherwise out-of-control personage, as Willson-Piper explains, in 2011, in his blog. I like the reference to Dorian Gray in You’re Still Beautiful. Dorian Gray is a Gothic and philosophical character, invented by Oscar Wilde, in the nineteenth century.

I wrote a high school essay about The Portrait of Dorian Gray. The character Dorian Gray remains young while growing old.

The Church

Peter Marks for Smells Like Infinite Sadness wrote NOVEMBER 1, 2015 an article titled Albums Revisited: The Church’s ‘Gold Afternoon Fix’ At 25. “The guitars sparkled, the bass seduced, the drums throbbed and the words remained absolutely timeless; the faithful so often tend to forget this one as it is sandwiched between two juggernauts in their discography and I’ve never quite understood that.”

My younger brother had bought me The Blurred Crusade, and Priest=Aura, too, when I was realized I would become absorbed in listening to the their music. It was like having an interest in poetry without seeming effete, or at cross purposes, for what that’s worth. The Blurred Crusade, I believe, was a Top 10 album ,in Australia, in 1982.

In the months of the pandemic, I turned my attention to watching a venerable Steve Kilbey play his songs on guitar, on Instagram. Reminded me how I felt about them, I brought up Gold Afternoon Fix on WordPress for a Song Lyric Sunday, oddly-timed somehow, as it was about the time Kilbey withdrew from doing his weekly performances. Obviously, it would be decent the off chance he were to get back to Instagram.

What I gathered from Kilbey’s chitchat is that a considerable number of songs by The Church are drawn from genuine encounters, which I’d imagined already. It is the thing that gives the melodies a relatability. Kilbey’s current album has the name Eleven Women.

In college, I had a compact disc edition of Steve Kilbey’s 1988 album Earthed, which came with a small book of poetry Kilbey wrote that I had given a read. My school schedule for English writing incorporated a presentation into how the verse of a poem is perceived. Kilbey’s were similar to the sort of thing I had read in secondary school.

The explanation for the Steve Kilbey LP given the title Earthed is that the records tends to be combined with his record Unearthed, likewise a decent record. Like Gold Afternoon Fix, these two solo records are full of drum machine beats. Earthed has essentially no lyrics at all; Unearthed does.

In 2014 Steve Kilbey reunited with bandmate Richard Ploog, when the drummer, formerly of The Church, rejoined Kilbey, and with Mark Gable of The Choirboys, for a “one-off.”

Richard Ploog and Steve Kilbey

I can’t clarify my interest much beyond saying that it’s an unusual thing, and the music contents me when I need something akin to retro rock music to get feeling good.

Steve Kilbey is now in his sixties. I’ve read Kilbey’s blog “the timebeing” from time to time, over the years, and I have learned a lot about both the band The Church and about poetry in general. He last put up new writing in 2019 http://thetimebeing.com/

Kilbey continues to be active on Twitter, while The Church as a band has gone their separate ways. Here are the lyrics for You’re Still Beautiful.

You’re Still Beautiful

Your mirror finally broke
Your little bunch of followers turned you into a fool
The butt of all their vicious jokes, screaming
You’re still beautiful baby
Nobody can take that away
You’re still beautiful baby
Even when you fall down that way
You turned up backstage at the palace
We thought you was wearing a mask
I felt so fucking embarrassed
When you looked at your reflection and asked, you asked
Are you still beautiful baby
Nobody can take that away
You’re still beautiful baby
Baby don’t believe what you see
Once upon a time I would have killed for you
I’m sorry that you got in this mess
But you’re the walking picture of Dorian Gray
At least it’s artistic I guess

Read more: https://muzikum.eu/en/123-5355-385510/the-church/youre-still-beautiful-lyrics.html#ixzz6kZakpNda

MCMXCVII #badglowup

For Jim Adams’ blog bounce, for Sunday, January 10, 2021, Jim has requested MA, meaning a tune with a title that begins with either the letter M or with the letter A.

https://jimadamsauthordotcom.wordpress.com/2021/01/09/mature-audience/

I thought of a song with an unusual title, that begins with A.

“And Then (The Hexx)” is a song by Pavement, a b-side on Pavement’s “Spit on a Stranger” single in May 1999, I read somewhere. It sort of provides a conclusion to the 1997 Pavement album Brighten the Corners. Quietly now, that’s the Pavement record where the entire quintet is performing–it’s sometimes known as “dream pop.”

A second version of the song “And Then (The Hexx)” is again the conclusion to the next, and last, Pavement album, Terror Twilight. Strictly speaking, to the best of my understanding, the song is “And Then (The Hexx)” for the Brighten the Corners b-side, and simply “The Hexx” for Terror Twilight.

Rock musician Steve Malkmus, who around the year 1990 put together ideas for what became a classic all-American rock record, Slanted & Enchanted, while the young man was in high school in Stockton, California. Nice work if you can get it.

“And Then (The Hexx)” is eerie, and it has happiness to it as well.

Malkmus has reinvented himself twice since Pavement folded. First he played as Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks, and more recently, since 2018, just Stephen Malkmus. I’ve seen video of Malkmus performing his songs by himself for the groove denied tour.

Terror Twilight producer Nigel Godrich was keeping active on Twitter in December 2020, when he tweeted on the thirteenth of December, 2020, that, despite what Godrich called “the dark” of December, Godrich preferred the advice,”get your SAD lamp out and party!” SAD indicates seasonal affective disorder, mild depression brought about by lack of sunlight, in a cold climate.

Just updated my @stationrotatio1 December Vibes…… dark and beautiful month… I’m looking forward to the new year and new times with salivation. Stare at a wall and enjoy…. or get your SAD lamp out and party! #stationrotation https://t.co/nslwbKGr5v https://t.co/gcbQXFs5el— nigel godrich ?? (@nigelgod) December 13, 2020

The feeling echoes what Steve Malkmus said for the 2002 documentary Slow Century. Godrich’s observation is certainly deliberate.

“Get your handkerchiefs out,” Malkmus says, “and party.”

Writing for a Chicago online mag highlighting music, motion pictures, and TV, consequence of sound’s DAN CAFFREY says, “‘Spit on a Stranger’ looks back on a relationship that’s gone kaput — maybe a relationship with a band.”

I have the impression that, of the five band members in the band in 1999, that other than Steve Malkmus, they wanted to hang it up.

When touring the Terror Twilight record, Malkmus often hung a pair of handcuffs on stage, from his mic stand, to illustrate how he felt making a living in a rock band.

Dissected: Pavement
BY DAN CAFFREY
ON AUGUST 11, 2015, 3:00PM

https://consequenceofsound.net/2015/08/dissected-pavement/full-post/

“Terror Twilight,” Caffrey writes, “has a reputation of being Pavement’s tamest album, and that’s true, musically speaking — the tempos are sturdier and there’s much less yowling, despite a ripping harmonica solo (?!) from Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood.” Wikipedia says Jonny Greenwood, from Radiohead, played harmonica both for “Platform Blues,” and for “Billie,” both of which are Terror Twilight songs, Billie penned about Billy Graham.

Whether the various elements of Terror Twilight, Caffrey says for consequence of sound, scare the shit out of you or not, the lyrics prove that, even when they had run out of momentum and had to be practically forced by Godrich to come up with new material (the band reportedly was more concerned with playing Scrabble than recording) — even when music didn’t sound quite like itself, Pavement was still Pavement.

I saw in a more recent interview, it is somewhat eluding me where I heard this (I think it was organized by Vanity Fair for Seattle radio not too long ago), when Malkmus was talking about getting ready to play shows with Pavement, Malkmus said that to this day he enjoys the game of Scrabble.

I presume that’s Pavement fandom knowledge. Malkmus has said publicly he got really quite good. In a round of Scrabble, you make words on the game board utilizing letters, which add to the score.

Anyway, some fans consider “And Then (The Hexx)” to be a Brighten the Corners song, because of the 2009 rerelease of Brighten the Corners with the second CD with “And Then (The Hexx).” It is also the conclusion to Terror Twilight, which when discussed is usually just called “The Hexx.”

I still like to think of “The Hexx” as “And Then (The Hexx),” and that’s why it fits into Jim’s MA prompt challenge. However, the true release date of “And Then (The Hexx)” should be 1997, not 1999.

Pavement
And Then (the Hexx)
Composed by
Stephen Malkmus

Release Year
1997

The Hexx