08 April, 2007

Soundtrack

Because finding the music for your films is more important than writing the films

I love discovering bands for myself just before they become big and then mentioning to everyone how I've had the album for ages or saw them on their first tour. That's fairly sad but what is far far worse is musical snobbery.

Musical snobs need successful good pop artists much more than they realise. It's a way of saying, "I am an individual, I do not follow the herd, I can think for myself". But ironically, being anti-pop is just following the particular herd you belong to. Just as being anti-rock is for some popsters.

I'm not saying people have to listen to music genres they don't like but dismissing all genres as crap and worse than your own favourite seems a bit adolescent. Sure when we're teens and we're trying to forge our own identity we will attach to tribes and gangs and do the whole hating/fighting/killing of other tribes and gangs but for grown-ups to still be doing it, it's a bit sad.

It's the same in television and film, dismissing all soaps as a genre because of Eastenders is silly when there is Coronation Street for instance.

It's maybe growing up listening to the catholic and eclectic mix of the John Peel show but I think good music is good music whatever the genre. There is good cool indie rock and there is utter shite cool indie rock. There is good pop and there is bad pop. The following two artists are good. And this isn't a cynical attempt to increase my movies ' soundtrack sales, I genuinely like these singer-songwriters' debut albums. No guilty pleasure, just pleasure.

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James Blunt



"You're Beautiful", co-written with the quite good in her own right Amanda Ghost, is a classic. If there is a problem with it then it's much too over-exposed to go in my film but that's not Blunt's fault. Is he really meant to say to radio stations "please stop putting my songs on seriously heavy rotation as people will get sick of me and hate me"?

But it's interesting how much of the snobbery is about his background and not his music. He's a posh boy and ex-military and there's issues with him not having "paid his dues" gigging before he broke through. So fucking what?

Official site
Wikipedia


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James Morrison


In the Observer a few weeks back you had Kathryn Flett thinking that James' speech at the Brits was good but having a dig at his music. In the music supplement you had, the increasingly idiotic, Miranda Sawyer slagging him off for beiong too much of wimp. Taken aback and doubting myself, I listened to the album again. And again. And genuinely couldn't see what was wrong with it. A character in one song even threatens violence against a woman, what's wimpy about that?

The Midlander was presented as a more authentic singer-songwriter than James Blunt because he had a troubled past and served his time gigging in pubs and doing menial jobs but again that's irrelevant. His vocals are awesome and the quality of his song-writing is equally impressive. I say 'his' songwriting but he co-wrote with the best pop songwriters in the business.

I admit I did find it difficult to believe he could have written such a wide range of mature quality songs unassisted at such a young age and while I was disappointed on learning he wasn't performing songs honed to perfection on the live circuit, ultimately I love the songs too much to care.

Official site
Myspace
Wikipedia

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