You Know What I Mean ?

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You Know What I Mean ?

The trouble with pop songs is how they say so little,
Popping with so few words –
They open a question they barely can answer,
With most of their meaning inferred.

And choruses, of course,
Just underscore –
They only reinforce
What’s gone before.


It’s not like they’re frightened to tackle the big themes,
They’re sometimes incredibly plucky.
It’s not that they’re vapid, it’s just that they’re brief –
With two verses, three if we’re lucky.

And choruses repeat,
That’s what they do –
The feelings are complete,
And they are few.


Now hip-hop has plenty to say for itself,
But pop is a hit-and run lover.
A beautiful thought or a rallying cry,
And time’s up !, it plays us another.

And choruses declare
The point is made.
They’ve nothing more to share –
Repeat to fade.

Traps & Loops

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Traps & Loops

I’ve got a sampler at my feet,
I’ve got a long synthetic beat
I’m strumming my guitar,
But there’s no-one on the stage but me…

It backs me up just fine,
And it always keeps in time
When I’m strumming my guitar,
But it never lets me change the key

I’m a one-man band
With my digital friends,
Just playing a solo that never ends.
And I can’t speed up,
And I can’t slow down,
So see me next week in Camden Town.

I’d love to sing a duet with someone
Who’s backing me up in analogue.
Could you syncopate me, someone,
To put some roll in my rock ?

I’d love to thrash about the stage,
I’d love to whip you to a rage,
But I’m strumming my guitar
To a hundred-and-twenty beats, inspite.

I’d love a ballad to unroll,
I’d love an easy slice of soul,
But I’m strumming my guitar
To a hundred-and-twenty beats, all night.

I’m a one-man band,
And it takes too long
To set up the backing for every song.
So I can’t slow down,
And I can’t speed up,
So see me next week in Lower Sidcup.

I’d love to sing a duet with someone,
Without the need of a metronome.
Could you be my freestyle, someone,
And let my tempo roam ?

Music of the Ancients

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Music of the Ancients

All of the best tunes are already written, I swear,
Before I was even born.
I spent my teens so acutely aware
I was out of my time and the world didn’t care.
So all the best tunes have already bitten me,
Hooked me, then left me forlorn,
Changed the planet, and now they are history,
Un-recreatable, storied in mystery,
Came and then went and it’s not even fair –
Each time that I sing them I mourn.
It’s not my aloofness, it’s not of my choosing,
It’s downright confusing why I cannot bear
Whatever my peergroup is eager to share –
I call theirs noise and they call mine corn,
Abusing the ears of the other, with no tune to spare.
But that’s just me, ignore my scorn,
I guess we each tootle a different horn.
So set it to music, and that is my essence –
An unrequited adolescence,
Only enlivened by songs from the dead and the square.
But throw in the Trident piano, and baby I’m there !

Yesterday’s Revolution

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Yesterday’s Revolution

My daughter is getting into vinyl,
And I wonder why,
She can’t have much nostalgia
For its world of middle-fi.
It ended long before she even started,
Dead and gone,
Revived by boomer hairshirts
Who cannot accept the world moves on.

She’s far too young for this old man’s hobby,
Far too poor for these rich man’s toys,
She never had to twiddle knobs
To boost the signal, damp the noise.
She never had the pops and crackles
From the deep-down dirt that rocks her records as they roll –
She never had to live with scratches,
Etched across her far-too-fragile sheened and spiralled soul.

Give me digital to feed me,
Give me digital to save,
Give me megabytes of songs
To last me to my grave.
She’ll find out in her own time,
And till then, let’s let have her thing –
To swing the arm into the secret vault
That makes the diamonds sing.

My teenage self would envy all her
Easy access to her tunes,
With soundwaves at her fingertips
For filling busy afternoons –
And not just playing them, but finding them,
No matter how obscure.
And yet, she wants to give it up
For the world of the analogue-pure.

But maybe she’s cosplaying other lives,
With second-hand vinyl bought-up cheap –
I’d gladly give her my old forty-fives,
But I long since chucked the useless heap.
Music shouldn’t need kid gloves,
To tiptoe past, afraid to jive, to keep her groove on track.
Let each girl play the songs she loves
In beautiful fidelity, unshattered by shellack.

Give me digital to sing to,
Give me digital romance,
Give me cold hard ones and ohs
On which the lasers dance.
She’ll find out in her own time,
And till then, let’s let her have her bliss –
To open up the gatefold gates
Of needle-drop and gentle hiss.

Disco Demolition

Disco Demolition

Disco sucks
When it’s made by corporations,
Disco sucks
When it’s got no good vibrations,
Disco sucks
When it’s played to saturation,
Disco sucks –
On ev’ry bloody station till the end of the dials,
With mindless hedonism and compulsory smiles,
Just smothering with strings, suffocating other styles,
With too much of a good thing round the clock.
So if we just can’t face it,
Then that doesn’t make us racist,
Or homophobo hateist,
Just because we wanna rock.
Yet rock music sucks
When it’s made by corporations,
But all music rules
When it undergoes mutations.
So play your disco, sure,
But play other stuff as well,
To live in multi-Heaven and keep out of mono-Hell.
When I hear too much rock,
Then I mentally must clear it,
To find something else pumping
At a thousand kilojoules –
And if I don’t hear disco for a while,
And then I hear it,
That hearing is the time when
Disco rules !

Lonely Cross

Lonely Cross

Does the Devil lurk at crossroads ?
Doesn’t he have some place to go ?
It’s a waypoint, not a terminus.
But strum a guitar to the croaking toads
And see if the Highway Lord will show –
Or, failing that, the midnight bus.

Isn’t this where mediaeval priests
Would bury the suicidal souls ?
Is that why Satan’s such a fan ?
But no undeads tonight, at least,
Just jamming with the bats and moles,
With not a trace of a bogeyman.

Of all the places to meet with fate,
A junction seems a strange address –
It sounds like the Devil’s lost his way.
Whatever, the hour is getting late,
With only the hedgehogs to impress –
Time, perhaps, to call it a day.

These roads are just two country lanes,
That even in daylight are pretty stark –
The Devil has better things to do.
Now, which way did I come, again ?
All these paths look the same in the dark –
Where’s the signpost ?  Not a clue…

High C

High C

Hey Jude, have you heard,
There was once a piano
That achieved far more than you and I shall ever.
It’s a little bit funny, if that’s the word,
How much this piano
Made more people smile than most of us together.

Sure, it’s all just circumstance,
Such a perfect day,
Such a god-awful small affair.
We’ve fallen for the neat romance
Just because it’s true,
But ought we disbelieve it, if we dare ?

With a hub-cap diamond-star halo,
And with dynamite with a laser beam,
And how can we ever compete with such a daydream ?
Let it go.
But if living is without you
Then you think the song’s about
But the thing is, this isn’t our show.

We’re committing the crime of the century, otherwise,
Holding-up standards that we can never realise,
What reasons do we need to be told ?
So cheer up, dude.
It’s just a piano that rocked and rolled –
Don’t make it bad, hey, Jude.

Sing For The Year

First of all, a Note Sounded by Riccardo Cuppini

Sing For The Year

This music’s sounding all the same,
I must be getting old.
The world moves on, the fashions change,
The old and known is new and strange
Of course, there’s nobody to blame,
But now it leaves me cold
And really, this makes perfect sense –
I’m not the target audience.

But once I was the golden ears
The bands would want to please –
A guarantee my mind would blow
Each time I tuned the radio
I thought, despite the passing years,
Their music tastes would freeze –
But tunes move on – the future tense
Will be the target audience.

This music’s sounding all the same,
I must be getting old.
And all the tunes from in my prime,
I’ve heard them far too many times.
We get one chance to play the game
To be that big and bold –
And then, we’re drifting in suspense,
Beyond the target audience.

When we are puzzling out our teens,
The music matters most –
It comforts us, it lights our fires,
It strengthens us against the liars
But as we grow and gain the means,
We can’t remain its host –
It must move on, to bring defence
To a brand new target audience.

Four-Four Forever

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Four-Four Forever

Pop – music for optimistics,
Music for singing at two ayem.
Vinyl that wears its gist on its sleeve,
And makes us believe in them each times we play them.
Sure, we may attempt to rebel,
Claiming to be serious nerds,
But when we hear its tempo swell,
We find we still know all the words.
Cos pop music is just so poppy,
Music for yelling “There’s no-one can stop me !”
It’s music for happiness,
Music for crying to,
Brings out our best when it’s not even trying to.

Pop – music for earworm farmers,
Music for dancing the daily commute.
It pierces our armour, it captures our cortex,
Deep down in the vortex and never be mute.
Our parent, they just don’t get it,
Just as their folks just didn’t get our parents in turn,
And we likewise just can credit
What turns-on our kids these days – but no cause for concern.
So keep the upbeat up, we’ve learned,
For ballads and minor keys have to be earned.
Some say it’s artifice,
Some say it’s cash –
A flash in the pan, they insist – but oh, what a flash !

Miming

Miming

Don’t tell me that you don’t use backing,
You’re out of breath but your voice ain’t cracking
You’re throat is rough but you still sing higher
You don’t fool me, you’re a liar liar !
I know, I know, you don’t havta stand stock still
To still be making a sound,
But the more you move, the more you end up shrill
From all that jumping around.
There’s a reason op’ras are static,
No-one wants their divas asthmatic
As half their notes are drowned.

It used to be so easy to mock you
Without a single mic on a stand –
These days they’re tiny, it’s harder to knock you
Phoning it in – but soon we’ll clock you.
The more you rock like a tick-tock band,
The more you rely on a helping hand,
With your live feed cut and your vocals canned.

You can wave your arms,
You can shake your butt,
You can flash your charms,
You can jiggle and strut,
But if you wanna be clear and pure
Then keep one foot firm on the floor. 
And don’t pretend to be a flyer –
You don’t fool me, you’re a liar liar !

Now I agree that the single’s better,
And sometimes live you lose the odd letter,
But don’t pretend you’re a multitrack choir –
You don’t fool me, you’re a liar liar !
I know, I know, you’re not on the radio now,
You need to put on a show –
But the more you move, the more you moo like a cow,
The more you croak like a crow.
There’s a reason Broadway has dancers,
So the singers aren’t breathless prancers
Swallowing their mi re do.

It used to be so easy to bust you,
With none of your guitars plugged-in.
These days, you’re wireless – we have to trust you,
That what we hear is you, and just you.
Dance if you must, and thrust and spin,
But don’t pretend with an innocent grin
That you don’t commit the original sin.

You can do the bop,
You can do the bump,
But not the hop,
The skip, or jump,
If you wanna be belting-out that solo,
Then don’t be bouncing around like a yoyo.
And don’t pretend that you never tire –
You don’t fool me, you’re a liar liar !

Every time this poem is read aloud, I want the speaker to also be performing a complex dance routine.

I also wrote an extra section below for the twelve-inch version:

Lip Sinking

Are you ready to answer back ?
Let’s jump on the spot till our voices crack.
Don’t ask your techs to mute your mic,
Just pant along as much as you like.

And one and two and three and four
Not with a whimper but a roar !
And five and six and seven eight,
Don’t swallow them, articulate !

You got the lungs to go agen ?
You ready to sculpt some oxygen ?
I can’t hear you, let me guess,
I’ll take your wheezing as a “yes”.

And one and two and three and four,
Let’s drop them down to the basement floor,
And five and six and seven eight,
Let’s hit the heights to the Pearly Gate.

You’re puffing and blowing from all your jerking,
Don’t deny your throat’s on fire –
There’s no shame showing how hard you’re working
Be a gasper, not a liar liar.