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Archives: Songs&Lyrics

2016 21 Nov

Der Blow Up Effekt

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Armour let it through,
borne the arboretic truth
you kept posing

Sat down in the suit,
fixed on up it wasn’t you
by finished closing

Ramble in the roots,
had the marvel, moved the proof
be kneeled fine’s glowing

Storing up the clues,
it had it’s sullen blue
bruised through by showing

Settle past a patience
where wishes and your will
are spilling pictures

Water’s running through
in the valley where we grew
to write this scripture …
(Bon Iver, „Minnesota“)


Es sind nicht immer ganze Alben, oft nur einzelne Songs und hier wiederum kurze Passagen, die besonders zünden. Auf der Kunsthochschule gab es einen Professor, der mich unter seine Fittiche nahm, als ich am Tag der Aufnahmeprüfung nicht in Form war: „Ich sehe da viel Einfluss von Max Ernst in ihrer Mappe – das wird schon werden.“ Er malte gerne kleine Ausschnitte alter Meister in ganz gross, wie ein blow up Effekt. Oft denke ich daran, wenn ich in diesen Tagen besonders prägnante Ausschnitte feiner Songs zu covern trachte. Es wird wohl noch eine Weile dauern, bis ich die obenstehende Song-Passage in petto habe. Da solcherlei englischsprachige Lyrik zudem zungenbrecherisch ist wie „Fischers Fritze“, böte sich wiedermal eine Fender-Instrumentalversion an. Eh schon terminlich ausgelastet, erhielt mein Detektivbüro heute aber einen vorrangig wichtigen Auftrag: „Finden sie den Jochen Siemer, der die 56 Millionen im Jackpot knackte! Hinweise dazu gibt es in einem Manafonistas-Post von Brian Whistler.“

2013 31 Mai


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Stay still, be still | No wonder you are always lost | As a messenger you must be known | With messages you must return | To be seen by demanding hands | Blonde Readhead | And touches of jealous men | Invisible, unforgivable | To all their secret ends | Be it so be quick | Don´t run just walk and walk and walk | Don´t lose yourself to decorate | Somewhere on your wall | Cause somewhere in your mind | You know you are doing fine | David Sylvian | Holding secret hair locks | You’ll pluck before you hide | So how can I keep anything to myself | So how can I keep any of those things … | Behind these clouds | I´m almost home.

2012 5 Aug

Alasdair Roberts – „Farewell Sorrow“

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Raise me high, raise me high,
That I may see my fallen kindred seated.
Who met with death upon the battlefield,
Who, in the end, fell and were defeated.

And the way they were tricked by death,
Betrayed, betrayed, leveled and mistreated.
I’ve stuck a knife in a man for less,
But Death is not so easily defeated.

And you can pray, pray and pray for Life.
But know my friend, my dearest friend, please know this,
That Life is but Death’s own right-hand man.
In every piece of his own left-hand business.

So, arm in arm, we’ll run toward that pair
And, we as they, join them double-threaded
And, arms flung wide, we’ll run towards that pair
And never fear that which once we dreaded.


„Farewell Sorrow“ (Video) – performed by Alasdair Roberts


„Strange Overtones“ is a song recorded by David Byrne and Brian Eno, written by the duo with Leo Abrahams. It was released on August 4, 2008 by means of free download as the lead single from Byrne’s and Eno’s second collaborative studio album „Everything That Happens Will Happen Today“ (2008). „Strange Overtones“ is an uptempo electronic gospel song, and its lyrics explore the themes of humanity overcoming technology that are central to the album. (Wikipedia)

I wake up every morning | I hear your feet on the stairs | You’re in the next apartment | I hear you singing over there | This groove is out of fashion | These beats are 20 years old | I saw you lend a hand to | The ones out standing in the cold | Strange Overtones in the music you are playing | I’ll harmonize | It is strong and you are tough | But a heart is not enough | Put on your socks and mittens | It’s getting colder tonight | A snowball in my kitchen | I watched it melt before my eyes | Your song still needs a chorus | I know you’ll figure it out | The rising of the verses | A change of key will let you out | Strange overtones though they’re slightly out of fashion | I’ll harmonize | I see the music in your face | That your words cannot explain | Strange Overtones in the music you are playing | We’re not alone | It is strong and you are tough | But a heart is not enough …

2012 9 Mrz

A New Sylvian Song

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Baby’s putting on her make-up | Her mouth is swollen as arose | Countdown, she wraps her legs around him | Weightless, she’s taking off her clothes | Candy, colours in her pocket | Bright children hiding in their rooms | Soft toys spread across her pillows | Self-annihilation couldn’t come too soon | Where’s your gravity? | Where’s your mind? | Share your thoughts with me | Waste my time | Slow down, nothing’s gonna save you | Ice-cream dripping from your spoon | Oh, but come now, you’re always telling stories | Bare-foot, walking on the moon | Wake up, and someone’s bound to tell you | Your pretty face is gone to hell | So find them, something you can trade with | Hand-make something you can sell | Where’s your gravity? | Where´s your mind | Share your thoughts with me | Waste my time …
„Where´s Your Gravity?“ A VICTIM OF STARS ©2012 David Sylvian

2011 18 Dez

PJ Harvey in Concert

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„Let England Shake wurde in den Januarausgaben der geschätzten britischen Musikzeitschriften UNCUT und MOJO zum Album of the Year gewählt. Als sie nach ihren derzeitigen Lieblingsalben gefragt wurde, erzählte sie, dass sie seit vielen Monaten, wieder und wieder, die zwei ersten Studioalben von Neil Young höre, Neil Young und Everybody knows this is nowhere.“ (Michael Engelbrecht)

Im Februar 2011 gab die britische Sängerin und Songwriterin ein fantastisches Konzert im Pariser Olympia. Ein Song aus dem Album Let England Shake, hier im Videoclip – aus einer Serie von 12 Kurzfilmen von Seamus Murphy.

„In The Dark Places“

We got up early,
washed our faces,
walked the fields
and put up crosses.
Passed through
the damned mountains,

went hellwards,
and some of us returned,
and some of us did not.

In the fields and in the forests,
under the moon and under the sun
another summer has passed before us,

and not one man has,
not one woman has revealed
the secrets of this world.

So our young men hid
with guns, in the dirt
and in the dark places.


„An Dunklen Orten“

In aller Frühe standen wir auf,
wuschen unsere Gesichter,
zogen in die Schlachtfelder,
stellten Kreuze auf.
Durchquerten die verdammten Berge,

marschierten höllenwärts,
und einige von uns kehrten zurück,
und einige von uns taten es nicht.

Auf den Feldern und in den Wäldern,
unter dem Mond und unter der Sonne,
ging erneut ein Sommer an uns vorrüber,

und nicht ein einziger Mann,
und nicht eine einzige Frau,
hat die Geheimnisse dieser Welt erfahren dürfen.

So also versteckten sich unsere jungen Männer,
mit Gewehren, im Dreck
und an dunklen Orten.
Lyrics by Polly Jean Harvey | Übersetzung: Jochen Siemer

„And who could feel sorry for a drunkard like this,
In a democracy of dunces with a parasites kiss?“

(David Sylvian)


Her skin was darker than ashes | And she had something to say | Bout being naked to the elements | At the end of yet another day | And the rain on her back that continued to fall | From the bruise of her lips | Swollen, fragile, and small | And the bills that you paid with were worth nothing at all | A lost foreign currency | Multi-coloured, barely reputable | Like the grasses that blew in the warm summer breeze | Well she offered you this to do as you pleased …

And where is the poetry?
Didn’t she promise us poetry?

The redwoods, the deserts, the tropical ease | The swamps and the prairie dogs, the Joshua trees | The long straight highways from dirt road to tar | Hitching your wheels to truck, bus, or car … |  And the lives that you hold in the palm of your hand | You toss them aside small and damn near unbreakable | You drank all the water and you pissed yourself dry | Then you fell to your knees and proceeded to cry … | And who could feel sorry for a drunkard like this | In a democracy of dunces with a parasites kiss?

And where are the stars?
Didn’t she promise us stars?

Nothing will ever be as it was | The price has been paid with a thousand loose shoes | Pictures are pasted on shop windows and walls | Like a poor mans Boltanski | Lost one and all … | Sell, sell | Bid your farewell | Come, come | Save yourself | Give yourself over | Pushing your consciousness | Deep into every atom and cell | Sell | Bid your farewell | Come, come | Save yourself | Give yourself over | Pushing your consciousness | Deep into every atom and cell | Sell | Bid your farewell …


Atom And Cell“ ( Video-Clip)

2011 11 Jul

Lambchop, Paperback Bible & Radio Days

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I’d like to buy a good
Used paperbacked living bible
And I’ve got some things
That I’d like to put on out there
Like a pony cart and an old bird bath
A kitchen sink and a rocking chair
You can turn me on
Almost any day at noonHey I’d like to put on
A four month old rat terrier pup
I think he’s a male
And he’s marked up pretty and
This woman’s got some goats
But his feets never been on the ground
You can just buy one
Or you can have the whole heardYeah I’d like to find
A twenty seven inch color TV
Has to be non working
An RCA cause I need the parts
And daily there’s an old drive shaft
And the same Berkeline recliner
It’s green and it’s cloth
And it’s been used very little.Then there’s a Reba designs
Size eight, prom pageant dress
It’s icy blue
With sequins worn just once
There are others that are strapless
But this one’s slit above the knee
If you’re looking for
Something perfect for that studentI have always thought
That hand guns were made for shooting people
Rather than for sport
Why not use a rifle in most other applications
You might find a riffle or a musket
But you’ll never hear a pistol
There may always be
Someone looking for or finding someGuess I’d like to sell
A good used paperbacked living bible

In seinem Essay zu „Drums Between The Bells“ betrachtet Eno diese (meist gesprochenen) Gedichtvertonungen von Rick-Holland-Texten als „speech songs“ und führt als Beispiele (neben Schönbergs „Pierrot Lunaire“, „Leaders of the Pack“ von den Shangrilas und dem immensen Vorrat des Hip-Hop)  diese zwei Songs an: Mike Berrys „Trbute to Buddy Holly“ und Wink Martindales „Deck of Cards“… Mir fällt ja noch das lange,  gesprochene Intro von Donovans „Atlantis“ ein, das dann in einen ziemlich pathetischen Gesang mündet.

Es fand statt kurz vor der Veröffentlichung von „Wrong Way Up“, Enos Zusammenarbeit mit John Cale.  Mal sang Eno, mal Cale einen Song. Hier die Passagen, die drei Songs dieses Albums betreffen, und ein paar Gedanken zur Songlyrik, die ganz interessant sind, im Hinblick auf sein in Kürze erscheinendes Werk „Drums Between The Bells – Brian Eno and the Words of Rick Holland“.

 Apropos: wie freundlicherweise von ENO WEB (s. Blogroll) angekündigt, veröffentlichen wir hier ab kommenden Freitag die deutschen Übersetzungen der Rick Holland-Gedichte aus „Drums Between The Bells“ (pro Tag drei).   Heute erschien ein längerer Artikel zu  Brian Eno in der „FAZ am Sonntag“, der  leider die Möglichkeit verschenkt, etwas tiefer die Räume dieses kleinen Meisterwerks zu öffnen, und in postmoderner Koketterie um das Phänomen „Eno“ herumtänzelt.

Und nebenbei klärt sich, spätestens in den Kommentaren, wieso ich ans Ende des Interviews eine Abbildung der  DVD-Box „Northern Exposure“ platziert habe  (in Deutschland hiess die Serie „Ausgerechnet Alaska“). Da kann man übrigens oft einem meiner Lieblingsradiomoderatoren bei der Arbeit zuschauen.

BE: Well, SPINNING AWAY is a very easy one for me to talk about, because it has a feature that I like a lot, and that I have used before as well. I like very much to have contrasts of speed. For instance I like to have very very fast staccato rhythms, chopped-up rhythms, which very liquid vocals running over the top of them. Maybe the best example of this is not on one of my records, but on the Donna Summer song „I Feel Love“ with Georgio Moroder playing. The synthesizer part on that is very very technological and mechanical, Kraftwerk almost, but her singing over it is just like a beautiful liquid feeling going on over the top. Anyway, I have that kind of feeling in Spinning Away, something of two very opposing qualities: a rhythm that is staccato, off-balance slightly. If you listen to the way the drums begin on that song, they have a strange, off-balance feeling. Their sound is crisp. The vocals on the other hand, and the violins are not played in the same mood, they’re in almost a different musical universe. They float on top of this sea of action, you know, this sea of activity. And the violins play in a different time signature: dam dam dam dam dada over taka tak taka taka taka tak taka taka… Well, actually I’m not very good at talking about that particular piece of music (laughs).

ME: Let’s come to the question of lyrics. I have the impression that,  in your comments on rock songs generally,  you underestimate the qualities of your lyrics, because  they really enrich a song.

BE: Well, I agree with you. I mean, if I didn’t believe that, I would use nonsense, I would say any sounds. But what I’m always fighting against, is the tendency of lyrics to overbalance music, to outbalance the music in terms of the attention they draw. So I’m always downplaying lyrics, because I want people to be looking at other things, too. And especially I want writers to be looking at other things, you know. It’s very easy for writers to write about language, it’s there medium. Of course they can comment about that. And what happens very often, is that writers write reviews of records, where they never tell you, what the music is about. They never give you any idea, even. They might give you a couple of references like „It’s a bit like The Clash“ or it’s a bit like …, just comparisons. The feeling you have is that the persons has really only heard the words. This is not what I want either. I completely agree with you that lyrics can be as much an evocation and an inducement to enter into the music as any other element. And in fact lyrics have an advantage in that they can make you think, they mean something (laughs). They draw you into the game of interpretation. That’s a very interesting game and I like to stimulate that game.

ME: on WRONG WAY UP, you have written some kind of ironic ’self portrait‘ in LAY MY LOVE.  And it’s a love song, too.

BE: Well, it’s quite interesting, that you are the first person that noticed that it’s a self portrait (laughs), which was so obvious to me. But I never said it to anyone, because I don’t like to tell people things like that. Nobody else ever mentioned it. And I mean, it says: every line begins „I am“, „I“, „I“, „I“, „I“, „I“. So that song was kind of a joke on myself. I’ve always said in the past, I don’t like to write songs in the first person singular. There are so many rock songs with „I do this“, „I want“, „I need“, „I woke up this morning“, „I gotta get next to you, girl“ – that kind of thing, „I gotta feel your body“. And I’ve always said, I don’t want to write songs like that, ‚relationship songs‘ I call them. So I had this idea, I didn’t want to write songs that started with „I“. I didn’t want to write songs that ended with „you“ – that was the other thing I didn’t want. And I didn’t want „love“ in between. So I didn’t want „I love you“ as a message, how ever it was filled out and disguised. I didn’t want that as a message. And so, partly through John Cale’s influence, he said „Oh, come on. Just do it!“ And so I thought „Well, maybe I break my own rules for a change. And not only will I use the word „I“, I use it at the beginning of every single sentence!“ (laughs) So I realized this was going to be some kind of a love song. But I thought „How could you do something with the love song form that is maybe original?“ The first part of the song that I had written was „I’m gonna lay my love around you“, which in English has a nice feeling: it’s like someone laying a bouquet of flowers around somebody else, or laying a cloak over the shoulders, or something like that – this notion of surrounding someone. But I thought „That’s nice, but it’s too sweet alone, it‘ too simply romantic“. So these other images starting coming up, and they were kind of nice, because they undermine the romantic quality. You start thinking „Would I really like to have this person laying his love around me, this person who is ‚the termite of temptation‘ and ‚the crow of desperation?“‚.And then, of course, I should say, there are all the autobiographical parts of it. The way that the song is written is described within the song: „I spin relentless combinations“, „I multiply and fly my population“, because within the song I’m spinning, I’m shuffling the same cards over and over again. So it’s not only an autobiographical song, it’s a – what do they call it – a self-referential song.

ME: There is another wonderful song: EMPTY FRAME. I think this is one of the songs you can enjoy on very different levels. I have seen people start to dance and to whistle to this song. And on the other hand, if you listen to the lyrics, there is this very strange story about a ship turning around and around, a motive in many of your songs.

BE: Well, the sea image is always really interesting to me, because it has two factors, the idea of being out in a ship at sea: It’s first of all the idea of being separated off from the rest of the world, so suddenly finding yourself alone. That’s an important part of it. The second part is that you are not in control of the situation. You can influence the situation, you know, you have sails and you have a rudder and you can row. You can change your direction, but there’s a huge current as well. So I like very much this feeling of being separated off and suddenly being surrendering to a powerful force of some kind. So you might want to go in that direction, but because this force is pushing you, you moved diagonally instead of in a straight line. That’s a strong image for me, because it seems to me, it’s what is happening to you all the time in your life, you know. You keep finding yourself separated off from the community that you feel you’re a part of. You don’t want to be, maybe, you would like to be part of everything, but you find that you don’t quite fit in there. So, and then you notice that you don’t have independent total control over what you are doing. You are actually subject to a lot of forces that are very strong, and you really are not even able to describe them. They are so strong that they are your environment: you don’t notice them most of the time. You keep rowing in what you think is a straight line, but actually you are being moved in a circle or off into a diagonal, and you keep finding yourself in the same point again and again. And you think „Why did that happen? I thought I was going in a straight line, yet I’m back here, where I was last year and the year before“, you know. So, all of those images of power beyond your own conciousness, beyond your own will, and of separation, are to do with the sea image for me. The other thing that’s in there, is about a little ship that is always falling apart, that they always are trying to fix up again. It says in there „the broken sails“. This is also a very poignant image to me of the notion of people constantly trying to repair their sails. What do you have a sail for? To catch wind, to catch the other forces that are around, the controllable forces. The wind is the force that you can do something about. The sea is not, you know. But of course, the wind also keeps breaking your sails, so you always have to sow them back together again. It’s an endless struggle to try to keep going in any kind of a line. Because the other implication in this kind of song is „Why don’t you surrender? Why don’t you surrender to the tide and see where you go?“ And in one of my old songs „Julie with…“, that’s what happened in that song, the people have surrendered. They’ve stopped, they’ve stopped rowing the boat and they suddenly have allowed themselves to become completely, not victims exactly, but to have fallen under the control of this powerful force.

ME: So this is a point where the ambient music and the rock music have strong links?

BE: Very strongly, I think, yeah. I guess, it’s what I realized in the late seventies, that I was making a music which was not about the traditional subjects of rock music, which are actually controlled, control, and focus, and assault, and directionality of some kind. My stuff was getting more and more lost (laughs), I was drifting further and further out, and I liked the feeling as well – playing with those kinds of feeling, seeing what is the relationship I want between control and surrender. That’s a question for everyone, you know. It’s actually one of the biggest questions we ask. How much do I try to take things in my hands and force a particular type of life? What kind of balance do I make between ambition and surrender? That’s the big question, I think. And it’s a question that is not explicitly asked in a lot of music. Most of it is ambitious. „Girl, I want to feel your body“, „I will do this“, „I want that“. It’s about will, most of it. Well, this is a kind of music about the failure of will, or the necessity to recognize that will doesn’t control everything. It’s not the strongest force in the universe.

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