Thursday, 20 December 2012

You Can Fly (MAMS)

In no small part because of the associated vid, this song really captivated me. It evokes with such precision and accuracy, what it feels like to be in the grip of freeform aerobaric wildness. I've never tried the flyboard experience, but I've certainly pulled Gs in a stunt plane, and believe me, this sounds like how that feels.

What inflamed me further was trying to locate a first-rate copy of the song so I could buy it. Despite exhaustive efforts, I had no success, however I have emailed the people behind the flyboard film and perhaps they will be able to help me.

There is little else I can say about this song. There is nothing particularly amazing about it lyrically or musically, but it is so gripping nonetheless that I have been looping it continuously. At the time of writing, I’ve listened to it more than 50 times today. Its message, also, is one I warm to: it urges one to take responsibility for one's own fulfilment, to go ahead decisively and aim for the greatest high achievable. And that, I think, is a sentiment worth sharing.

For me, this song is a visceral moment of pure artistic expression; perhaps it will inspire you with a sense of flight also.

Check it out on SoundCloud

Monday, 29 October 2012

Dreams of Ordinary Men (Dragon)

If you enjoy this song, please be respectful of its creators by buying it.

When I was nine years old, this song was receiving enough airplay for me to notice it. At the time I had something of a fascination with archery in general and Robin Hood in particular (somewhat prophetic, you might say), so it is perhaps to be expected that I thought the song was about ‘dreams of all the merry men’.

I gave this song hardly any subsequent thought for the next 26 years. Then, this morning... bam. Less than a minute before driving into the parking structure near my work, I was transfixed by an intense compulsion to listen to ‘Ordinary Men’, and dug it up immediately upon firing up my terminal.

I have alluded before to the idea that I often feel as if information from the infinite is being transmitted specifically for my attention through the medium of music. This song represents a quintessential example: the lyrics could not be a more precise reiteration of my own beliefs regarding reality manipulation, and all but lays out a logical framework for the next series of ideas I was planning to discuss.

In my understanding, the song explores the notion that consciousness can affect reality, in the sense of “the dreams of ordinary men” having a role in actually creating “the world that we’ll be living in”. At the crux of the lyric is the issue of changing one’s world in the same way as one changes one’s mind, and that exact topic is very   close to my own heart.

I love the emphasis on interactivity suggested by “we all must fit the pattern” immediately qualified by “the pattern must fit you”, as well as the brilliant montage of meanings between the spider “drawing webs”, and the fly “drawing nearer”.

In addition to the literary skill with which it was written, such sentiments make ‘Ordinary Men’ remarkably forward-thinking and insightful for a lyric written almost 30 years ago. And on that note, I should get down to business -- because to slightly paraphrase Todd Hunter’s words, I am impatient to show you how it is within our abilities to change our lives -- if we can only change our dreams.

Check it out on YouTube

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Silent Lucidity (Queensrÿche)

If you enjoy this song, please be respectful of its creators by buying it.

Considering the combination of unrelenting stresses in my life, and the fact I’ve had an anger mismanagement problem since time immemorial, I often cleave to music that I perceive as having a calming effect. ‘Silent Lucidity’ is a song that for me, takes the tone of a comforting lesson from someone of great learning and experience. Although it continually skirts the perimeter of being patronising, it never quite crosses the threshold.

I do wish it was possible to remove the four-sentence crash course in ‘dream control’ without damaging anything else in the song. This ghastly interlude notwithstanding, the overall subject matter is admirably ambitious for a 1990 release. This is not the place to set forth my own views about active dreaming, but suffice it to say, I warm to the fact Queensrÿche wrote a very successful song about an esoteric discipline that is close to my heart.

Aside from the sentiments expressed therein, the lyrics themselves are composed with considerable skill. I always think highly of poetry in songwriting, even if it’s not an issue that can ruin a composition for me if other qualities are strong enough to carry the piece as a whole. Favourite moments include “Living twice at once, you learn”, “A round-trip journey in your head”, and “A doorway that I run through in the night”; extra points are also earned for painstaking attention to the complex rhyme patterns and meter.

The expansive orchestration is also very forward-thinking for its time, and serves to greatly enrich 'Silent Lucidity'. Although listening to a song -- no matter how exquisite -- is no substitute for the Land of Dreams itself, this represents a lovely window into it. Even if that window is open for just shy of six minutes at a time.

Check it out on YouTube

Monday, 10 September 2012

Seven Wonders (Fleetwood Mac)

The music of Fleetwood Mac has always been close to my heart for several reasons. One of them is the uniquely feminine yet feisty perspective pwned by Stevie Nicks (as well as Christine McVie and Sandy Stewart), which makes a refreshing break from stereotypes both in its time and today.

For me, the core of ‘Seven Wonders’ is the simplicity and sincerity of the speaker’s reflection on the person who moved her so. It was just the touch of her beloved’s hand -- “all the way down to [the misheard] Emmaline” -- that filled her heart with such beauty that not even the Seven Wonders of the world could exceed it. I don’t think Sandy Stewart, who wrote most of the lyrics so passionately delivered by Stevie, was conscious of the paradoxical implications of living to see wonders that had, in six out of seven cases, returned to dust long ago.

Or perhaps I am being obtuse, and that was the exact point being made; honestly, I have not researched the rumours (~_^) about this composition conscientiously enough to make a truly informed decision. Suffice it to say, I love the fact that the speaker makes a point about her loved one’s “intensity”, and relishes such a simple pleasure: the touch of that person’s hand. There is not even so much as a kiss involved! It is something more subtle and meaningful, in context.

I also warm to the serenity of “if our paths never cross”. Although she does “hope and pray” that “it might work out someday”, the speaker has already gained so much from the encounter that she is at peace with the idea that she may never “live to match the beauty again”. What a heroic perspective to take, instead of lamenting the possibility that she may never again meet this person who has made such an impression on her!

I have, myself, experienced similar epiphanies based on the most meagre contact with people who have had such electricity that they have changed my very essence. So I suppose it is inevitable that this song carries the signature of a kindred soul -- a signature executed in the most gorgeously fluid musical calligraphy.

Check it out on YouTube

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Crazy (Icehouse)

If you enjoy this song, please be respectful of its creators by buying it.

Icehouse is an Australian band who enjoyed their greatest commercial successes through the 80s. I have admired their effortlessly sophisticated compositions, and thoughtful and imaginative yet understated lyrics, since my early childhood. The juxtaposition of the speaker’s “pocket full of holes” against his love interest’s “ribbon of rainbows” is picturesque and evocative, even if the imagery becomes diluted by the second verse. This particular song also showcases Iva Davies’ considerable vocal prowess.

It is a very special feeling, to remember I was privileged to enjoy ‘Crazy’ -- and other songs of its era -- at the very time they were first released. Icehouse has cemented its iconic status in Australian rock history, and for good reason: when I revisit compositions like this one from the perspective of having much greater experience in music, I am afforded a new appreciation of what talent and skill went into their creation.

I do not believe music was ‘better in my day
. Just as there is no shortage of atrocious classical compositions, there are many contemporary artists whose work features the same genuine talent and adroit musicianship as this song. Only time will tell if they too leave a legacy that future generations may find breathtaking.

Check it out on YouTube

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Carl Sagan (Blue Sky Black Death)

If you enjoy this song, please be respectful of its creators by buying it.

This is one of the songs that I feel I was presented with as a personal gift from the universe. While searching for something completely unrelated (‘Machine Heart’ by Instrumental Core), YouTube decided to offer me Blue Sky Black Death in the list of suggestions.

I was immediately drawn to the artist name, and although I did not realise at the time that ‘Carl Sagan’ was the title of the song, I always had the utmost respect for the man, so I went ahead and clicked the link.

And what an intriguing marvel I discovered.

To be sure, the music has a beautifully haunting quality, and adds a great deal of atmosphere. But the lyrics are out of this world -- perhaps literally. Whether or not my interpretation is congruent with the intentions of the writer, I have a strong sense of the speaker’s identity as implied but never explicitly stated. The arrangement of the clues, though, and the poetic eloquence with which they are expressed, serve to evoke a visceral understanding in the listener that exceeds what directly naming the subject could achieve.

The eeriest thing is that there seems to be such truth in this song. It does not feel like a figment of the imagination, a work of art, a fictitious narrative.

It feels like a harbinger.

Check it out on YouTube


I emailed Alexander Chen (, the person responsible for the lyrics and vocals on this song, congratulating him on such an exceptional piece of music. To my amazement, he actually wrote back to say thanks. What an admirable gesture! If only more successful and famous individuals retained such humanity.

Monday, 20 August 2012

Only my railgun (fripSide)

I frequently become gripped with a somewhat pathological compulsion to listen to a specific song; luckily, thanks to the wonders of the digitally augmented world in which we live, I can usually access that song in a reasonably short period of time. Once I do, I tend to thrash it repeatedly for an hour or two before I finally feel satiated.

Although I have not really analysed this behaviour, I can report with certainty that it is good for my mind. It probably has something to do with a self-reinforcing biofeedback loop that optimises my metabolism, or perhaps it is related to a specific waveform of neural oscillation. Fortunately, the instances when I am unable to devour the song I crave (in much the same way as a junkie craves a hit) are few and far between -- although it is worth noting that when this does happen, it only takes me a few seconds to get over it. Aerodynamic stability ftw.

But I digress. Sometimes this fixation is a reminder of how remarkably specific the recollective ability of the human mind can be. This afternoon, my addiction-song was something Japanese I hadn’t listened to in close to a year, and other than a few vague seconds of melody, I didn’t have the faintest clue as to what the title or artist might be.

Then I realised the melody was associated with a picture of Kagamine Rin, which quickly led to my realisation that it was ‘Only My Railgun’, originally by fripSide. I had a similar moment of surprisingly non-linear recall a few days ago, when I was trying to remember the title of a film from which I was quoting some dialogue: I hadn’t seen this film in years, but the keyword magically surfaced in my mind when bidden, instantly and without resistance.

Please note that the only reason there is no iTunes link to this song is because I could not find it for sale there, or anywhere else. I have already been in touch with Apple to remedy this situation, but if you come across an alternative way of supporting the artists, please contact me and I shall post it. As an aside, I strongly recommend watching the original PV of this song; in my opinion, it is fresh, imaginative, and visually captivating.

Check it out on YouTube (unless you have already watched the original PV)

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Another Time (Thunderstone)

If you enjoy this song, please be respectful of its creators by buying it.

A long time ago, I fell obsessively in love with a feisty and extremely intelligent young woman, but unfortunately she took me for a stalker and that was the end of that. She turned out, in the end, to have been something of a fraud herself, but not before she had exerted a deeply formative and beneficial influence on me. In fact, it could even be said that she is indirectly responsible for the understanding I have of the universe today. In any case, I have already written the treatment for a novel that was inspired by her, and as fiction anyway, it is a story I have a lot of faith in.

One Christmas, I made a compilation CD for her, with the most painstaking care, although I question whether she even listened to it. This was one of the songs on it, and here is what I wrote about it for her in the liner notes.

"To me, this song echoes the timid hope that forever seems to exist despite the horrific evils perpetrated by humanity. The rarer such a delicate and indispensible thing is, the more precious it tends to be."

Check it out on YouTube

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Silver Future (Monster Magnet)

If you enjoy this song, please be respectful of its creators by buying it.

My love of Monster Magnet stretches well back into the last millennium, and some elements of this song -- such as the unsettling, claustrophobically restrained verse juxtaposed against the balls-out testosterone of the stadium chorus -- are epitomic of their work. So is the mastery with which the song's dynamics build to its glittering metal crescendo.

Overall, though, what appeals to me most is the sense of being at the threshold of something monumental and brilliant. Interestingly, silver is not the most precious imaginable adjective, yet the conviction and bombast with which Wyndorf delivers his prophecy make it clear that for the speaker, this is the best future imaginable. It has an unearthly, fantastical beauty about it, like cities of tomorrow depicted in sci-fi magazines from half a century ago.

I often have the impression that music is acting as a vehicle for information from the divine. I have chosen this song as the first in its series because of its powerful message: I stand at the edge of a silver future, and before me is the best of all possible worlds.

In the reality of my life, the construction of this website has been a grisly, exhausting and blood-soaked battle. Now that I finally have a place to land in the vast infinity of the virtual world, I feel as if I am finally ready to take that decisive leap forward.

Check it out on YouTube