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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

More about music...

I was having a discussion today about songs, and their emotive power. As authors, we like to believe we have the ability to evoke feelings through our use of words. We have no real limitations, either. If our ideas keep flowing, we can turn a short story into a novella, a novella into a novel.
The potential downside of that is that we have only words at our fingertips (well, okay, if you're reading the stuff WE write, you might have something else at your fingertips...feel free to post pictures).
Songwriting is a whole other concept. The lovely Emma Hillman and I, as mentioned in previous posts, are both still competing in Alison Tyler's Smut Marathon. It's a flash fiction contest. What flash fiction teaches you is how to remove all the right stuff. Inherently, this is a lot more like songwriting than most other forms of fiction are.
But still...with flash, you don't have any particular structure to follow. The awesome part of an excellently written song lyric is that it fits the rhythm of the melody perfectly (except for Green Day), and in most cases it rhymes in certain places. To achieve this kind of art without resorting to pat rhymes ("baby/maybe", "on my knees/beggin' you please", etc.), without cliches so tired they're actually undead ("I want you, I need you, I love you"), or filler lines ("you know what I mean", or the ever-faithful "yeah") is phenomenal.
And if the song is sexy, too...whew!
Now, sexy songs is a pretty well-used topic in blogs like ours, so I thought I'd give it a little twist. I'm going to list a few more obscure songs which I find sexy. As a hint, there'll be no Barry White...
In no particular order:
1) John Finn's Wife - Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
She is a very naughty woman, that John Finn's wife, with her "legs like scissors and butcher's knives, tattooed breast and flaming eyes". But it's later in the song, with a very deft use of an unexpected word that Cave gets my juices flowing. "I slipped my hand between the thighs of John Finn's wife...they seemed to yawn awake, her thighs". The fact that he states they yawn "awake", and not "apart". Like she's been waiting for this moment, despite having just married the mayor, John Finn. Then mayhem and violence ensue. Sexy.
2) Burma-Shave by Tom Waits
This song floored me. The song seems to be longer than the moment it describes, and the story would have fit perfectly into the Dirtyville/Kinkyville anthologies. As he always does, Waits makes it sexy without mentioning sex. "And with her knees up on the glove compartment, she took out her barrettes, and her hair spilled out like rootbeer, and she popped her gum and arched her back". Oh, she's workin' it all right.
3) Cactus by The Pixies
Dirty, dirty stuff. One of my favourite songs of all time. A story of yearning from confinement, of a man's desperation to have some sense of the woman he can no longer have. "Will you take off your dress and send it to me?" Always with some part of her essence, or her life, attached to it: her sweat, her food, even her blood. Just part of her.
The big question...what have I missed? Do you have any songs that you find sexy for all the wrong reasons?
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5 comments:

Willsin Rowe said...

Was that a tumbleweed I just saw?

Willsin Rowe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Emma Hillman said...

Okay, your comment made me laugh so I had to comment. Although I don't really know any songs that are sexy for the wrong reasons and all...but there are some that I like typing to.

For example, I wrote Man Frame while listening to the latest Black Eyed Peas' album. I'm not entirely sure why, but the flow just fit what I was typing. Weird!

Rozlyn Sparks said...

Hey, have you ever heard of Lovage? They are obvious sexy. If ever I need to get in the mental mood to write, I listen to a few tracks from them.

Willsin Rowe said...

I think you directed me to Lovage a little while back. Didn't they inspire you during the writing of Immortal Pleasures?