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 don’t get it, Just as their folks never did, And we likewise just can’t credit What is turning-on our kids. But 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 !
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. 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. 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 !
Stripped-down and unplugged, Going back-to-basics – These are words that fill my ears with dread. Guitars strummed and harps tugged, Waxed and polished double basses, Drummers told to stay at home instead.
I don’t want your simple sound, I want music complicated I want synths that growl and pound, Electrified, not automated. Full of intricate design, Not simply autotuned and gated – I want music of its time, Not scared of being dated.
Hashed out and doped up, Family-friendly faceless, Perfect songs for sending off the dead. Slowed-down and moped-up, Going back to basics – These are words this fill my soul with lead.
When songs go on too long, When six minutes should be three – Well, that’s when they change key. Your skeleton-solution, Revolution-by-indentikit – It doesn’t pick the lock, but bludgeon it. Nothing says you’ve run out of ideas Like modulation, Crunch-changing gears by slurring-up the speed – Won’t you spare my tears From your pinched-throat oration, Your goodness-me vibration to make my ears bleed ? I wish it were an octave that you’d shifted, Or used harmonies, And not just drifted-up a third For yet one more reprise. And please, don’t start ad-libbing Like a gibbering MC – There’s a reason why they call this bullshit ‘scat’. Your climax won’t excite me By just singing out of key – The sparkle in your tonic has gone flat.
I cannot dance to seven-four, It always sound so incomplete – The lines are rushing, overkeen, They jump the gun, they crash the scene. It’s never seven-to-the-floor That jolts me up out of my seat – We talk in trochees, think in rhyme, We walk and breathe in common time.
Heartbeats are waltzes, though – Three-four and quick-quick-slow, Atrium, ventricle, In-out-rest metrical, Pulse and diastole, ONE two (three) ONE two (three)…
I cannot dance to seven-four, I nod along, but off the beat – It may be close enough for jazz, But lacking somehow in pizzazz – For music isn’t just the score, We have to feel it in our feet – And I have two, not one or three, So what use surplus notes to me ?
My hips ain’t sound technicians, My feet ain’t math’maticians, So they’re losing their positions, When the bar keeps on clipping, When the beat keeps on slipping, Till my sole fills the hole With the wrong sort of tripping.
I cannot dance to seven-four, I don’t possess such odd-timed feet, I’m not a pro, I’m just a guy Who wants to groove, not reason why – And dancing shouldn’t be a chore, I shouldn’t have to count the beat, So call me boring, call me white, But four-four lets me dance all night.
Ev’ry thing I’ve ever heard is in me, Running through me, Lying low. Ev’ry song and ev’ry word within me Helps renew me, Helps me grow. I honour all who came before me, Credit all who built my story – Don’t forget and don’t ignore – For without them, then I would not be me, I’d have no core. But all their work is cogitated, Filtered, altered, complicated – All I ever loved and hated, Melts and bonds and stirs the pot of me In which they pour. Inspiration is no sin, But make it ours, and make it new – So add some flesh beneath the skin And add some point of view. All I saw and all I heard, I freely borrow, freely quote – But never, never word for word Or note for note.
We discovered her As she busked beneath an underpass – Homeless, I believe, But her singing was pure class – Just the sweetest voice of waifdom And a simply strummed guitar And we saw a mutual benefit In crafting her a star.
We set a mic before of her And we let her sing her soul, And marvelled at her innocence Undimmed by cold and dole. And as she left us weeping, So she turned and said with half a grin “I’d like to try all that again, But this time plug me in.”
She blagged a beat-up Fender And she risked a power chord, And suddenly her eyes were bright As if she’d seen the Lord. She spidered up the neck and slid back down With whammy and sustain, And asked the box crank her up With tremolo and gain.
So by the time of bass and drums, We couldn’t well refuse. But oh, where was our angel In this devil with the blues ? “It’s always sounded this way in my head” She said, “That’s how it swings, But I’ve only had two hands before, And only had six strings.”
The trouble with a drum machine Is that it hasn’t got an ego, Trouble with a drum machine Is that it always keeps in time: The fourth beat goes where the first three go, As do the crash and click and chime. Ev’ry beat created Is so beautifully weighted And it comes along precisely When a beat’s anticipated. With never a roll and never a fill It just keeps beating, Beat-beat-beating, Beating on and on until At last the plug is pulled, the button pushed, The damn thing overruled and hushed, And finally each tireless brush and stick is still. The trouble with a drum machine From marching boys to jazz to pop, Is knowing when to make a noise, And knowing when to stop.
Say you want a revolution ? You wanna be a street-fighting man, Raging hard against the masterplan ? But violence is no solution – However much the Man is to blame, You’ll never beat him by killing in the name.
We won’t be televised As we meet the new boss, city on fire, Between the barracades, over the wire. You wanna be mobilized By standing in the way of control As the Eton Rifles take their bloody toll ?
You wanna fight the power ? Then let the records turn turn turn – With ice-pick vocals to make ears burn. Cometh the finest hour, Then lock up the guns & ammo – it’s clear That we’ve gotta sing our way through here.
Fernando, can you hear the drums, Rocking the free world, rocking the casbah – Let’s sing for a year that we’re dreaming after, Until the reckoning comes – And the lost cause chord at last gives birth. To give peace a chance, for what it’s worth.