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PostPosted: Fri Mar 10, 2006 11:03 pm
by Abbot
Sweeping statement police alert:

Work songs, travel songs, songs of yearning, nostalgia, regret, despair. Murder ballads, revenge songs. Political songs, social comment, historical songs, fantasy, religious songs.

I am not a list person, but could give you examples for all the above.

Anything can be a subject for a song (thankfully), the fact that a great majority of popular songs are about love doesn't mean that is all they are or can be restricted to.

Bah humbug.

PostPosted: Sat Mar 11, 2006 11:48 am
by howard male
Abbot wrote -

Work songs, travel songs, songs of yearning, nostalgia, regret, despair. Murder ballads, revenge songs. Political songs, social comment, historical songs, fantasy, religious songs.


Well, needless to say, Abbot, I would have had have lead a pretty sheltered life not to know these other types of songs exist, but in the bigger scheme of things the really are a drop in the ocean, hence me plea of 'only relatively guilty' to the SS Police.

Let me present some evidence me lord: In a randomly googled chart of a 100 UK Number One Hits of the Seventies only 8 were not about love, which means that 92% of the songs were about love and related issues.

And half of the ones that weren't (listed below) were novelty, one hit wonders.

A HORSE WITH NO NAME
ANOTHER BRICK IN THE WALL
POP MUZIK
CONVOY
THE STREAK
KUNG FU FIGHTING
BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY
STAYIN' ALIVE

PostPosted: Sat Mar 11, 2006 12:41 pm
by joel
Easy.
Betty Davis - Anti-Love Song

PostPosted: Sun Mar 12, 2006 3:04 am
by Abbot
Howard,

Yes, but if you are restricting yourself to top 100 or popular song in the western sense, maybe. But if you consider folk, or African or other cultures, then I think you will find a broader range of subject matter. Maybe popular song is popular, in the commercial sense, because of its romantic emphasis, then you have a self-fulfilling argument?

Even then, Dylan Lennnon Marley etc had their fair share of political/social comment songs. But maybe not No 1's.

PostPosted: Sun Mar 12, 2006 3:23 am
by Tom McPhillips
"self fulfilling argument" - you're onto something there! (actually that's almost a definition of Mr Male!)(pace Howard!)

"popular music is mainly songs of/about love" - that's a truism and thus not so interesting...

but beyond popular music - less about love more about other experiences...

Many poets have commented on the fact that early poems are about love and poems written later in life tend to focus on death.... So are we Baby-Boomers about to be assaulted by a plethora of death songs?

this thread too will die....

PostPosted: Fri Mar 17, 2006 2:57 am
by judith
Should this thread die, I would like to request a recording of Joan Baez singing 'Love is a Four Letter Word' be played at the funeral, if anyone has a copy. I don't know how popular her rendition was.

PostPosted: Fri Mar 17, 2006 3:02 am
by judith
correction: "Love Is Just A Four Letter Word'.

PostPosted: Fri Mar 17, 2006 10:01 am
by howard male
Abbot wrote -

Yes, but if you are restricting yourself to top 100 or popular song in the western sense, maybe. But if you consider folk, or African or other cultures, then I think you will find a broader range of subject matter.

Well, yes and no. Many African songs (at least the ones I've seen lyric translations for, such as Mapfumo) are about love - although often of his country and its people - an aspect of love which I included in my original posting. Also many songs (even popular commercial songs) are about the love of the deity the artist belongs to, or has recently had a revival of interest in - as is the case with the latest Cheikh Lo album.

Tom wrote -

Many poets have commented on the fact that early poems are about love and poems written later in life tend to focus on death.... So are we Baby-Boomers about to be assaulted by a plethora of death songs?


No. But I'm sure Nick Cave will continue to write enough death songs to satisfy demand. You have inadvertently added fuel to my argument, Tom, because the fact there won't, in my opinion, suddenly be more death songs than we know what to do with, supports my argument that the natural form for music is the love song. Poetry, being purely about words, has more flexibility to embrace other subjects. As I said before: music yearns - it's rarely good at expressing complex ideas or political manifesto, as poetry can.

Judith wrote -

Should this thread die?


Indeed it should, and it's death may then put you in the right mood for crossing over into Ian Anderson's funeral thread! I'm giving that one some further thought before I commit.

PostPosted: Fri Mar 17, 2006 10:51 am
by Con Murphy
howard male wrote:You have inadvertently added fuel to my argument, Tom, because the fact there won't, in my opinion, suddenly be more death songs than we know what to do with, supports my argument that the natural form for music is the love song.


Over to Abbott (or maybe Mr Anderson) to list the folk songs that are about death. The first hundred or so will do........:-)

PostPosted: Fri Mar 17, 2006 11:29 am
by howard male
Yes, but how many of those deathly folk songs are about the death of a loved one?

PostPosted: Tue Mar 21, 2006 11:11 am
by howard male
Abbot wrote -

But if you consider folk, or African or other cultures, then I think you will find a broader range of subject matter


I was thinking about the frustrations of how I can't take my theory much further regarding the music of other cultures - African music for example - when what should arrive this morning but a fantastic new Tuareg album by a band called Etran Finatawa (in a nutshell; Tinawiwen unplugged) and opened up the accompanying booklet to find all the lyrics printed in English.

So here goes.

Track 1 - A man asks a woman how she is today, and tells her how beautiful her hair is.

2. A man (possibly the same one) tells a woman (possibly a different one) she is more beautiful than a cloud and that her "teeth shine like sugar when it is breaking."

3. A man gets frightened by some monkeys and nearly looses his cow and calf.

4. A woman loves a man who is "handsome and nice" But other men are jealous and threaten to cut off the man's penis!

5. Another beautiful woman with long hair, but this time a spirit

6. A woman believes her man will never lie to her. It ends with the wonderfully succinct couplet:

But if you do not understand women
You will always have difficulties with them


Aah, the wisdom of the desert people!

7. The woman adored in this song has beautiful eyes that wake up the sun.

8. The practical difficulty of praying while keeping an eye on your cows, is addressed.

9. A song about the best male dancers dancing for the most beautiful women.

10. A traditional song ostensibly about a camel race but it then turns out to be about men and women eyeing each other up at the camel race.

So there we are - 8 songs about love, and 2 songs about cow problems!