June 9: #5 Read/reflect on the lyrics to a song chosen by the other person
June 9, 2017
Phil: Bruce gave me Sage Francis' "Makeshift Patriot,” a song about the immediate aftermath of 9/11. I must say, good choice, Bruce. He found something that he knew would likely be outside my musical wheelhouse, but also include a message that’s very much in it. As someone who works in the news, it was easy for me to get into the political message behind the song and follow the narrative. The song was accessible, catchy and brave. I gave it a few listens while at work, actually. I even gave the artist a Google and put him on my radar. The key lyric that stood out here was, “Freedom will be defended at the cost of civil liberties,” which became one of the bigger underlying themes when the Bush administration was figuring out what to do after the attacks. The timing of this song entering my life now is also pretty interesting, given the political reality of 2017. Aside from a short stint in elementary school, I never really listened to hip-hop music in my life. I’ll admit, I’ve been listening to mostly punk music over the years. But songs like this still remind me of what punk music is supposed to be about. “Makeshift Patriot” gives a big middle finger to the military complex and big government stripping civil liberties for the illusion of freedom. It’s like when NWA was inducted into the rock and roll hall of fame and people flipped. I’m into it. I was actually at a bar last week and some of the rap I used to listen to when I was in 5th grade came on, and I started to wonder why I never listened to it - or anything like it - anymore. This track was another soft nudge for me, and I just might start adding some stuff like Sage Francis to my angry white kid playlists. Thanks Bruce. Side note: by giving Bruce a song from Vanna to listen to, I was somehow able to listen to them today with new ears, as if I was imagining how Bruce was hearing the song. It allowed me to reacquaint myself with a lot of my favorite songs from them today as I gear up to see them for the last time ever this week. I was actually having trouble listening to them to prepare for the final show because it all sounded the same to me, like I already took all I could from it. But today, I was losing my mind to Vanna on my commute home. Weird consequence.
Bruce: Phil suggested “Void” by Vanna for me today, a band that I know he loves and I've been curious about (mostly because of his love of it). I've never listened to them and this song was a hell of an introduction. Intentionally abrasive and admittedly hard to listen to at first with how aggressive and dissonant the screaming vocals were. This isn't innately my preferred music style but looking up the lyrics I enjoyed the writing and really could feel the energy in the song and the darkness of it. As a lyricist, sometimes it occurs to me that any writing could be any “genre” which paints me a picture of how certain delivery of lines renders them more effective. The vocalist really got the point across. “I’ve become a black hole I'm not like you,I can't fucking pretend that the sun’s not goneMy sky’s all wrong, no floating on clouds”Were probably my favorite lyrics, so visual and devastating in their way. I don't know that I have a new favorite band in Vanna, but I'm grateful for a glimpse into a friend’s musical taste and to the song for reminding me the power and great breadth of expression, maybe I need more unselfconscious abandon when recording. Thanks Phil!
Tomorrow's challenge: #20 Drink a gallon of water.