Wednesday, 4 April 2007
I use the word magic a lot in my attempts to describe what I love about music. Or any other art. What I mean with magic is difficult to explain. And although I think that most people will know what I mean, I want to try and verbalize it anyway.
There is a movie (I can’t remember the title) about a woman who lives a very unhappy life. She drinks too much, forgets to take care of herself, etcetera. Then one day she gets a message that the love of her life will come to visit her. She has not seen that man for decades. She loved him dearly, but she married to another guy. What the woman did for the meeting with her old love, made me think a lot. And that is why I still remember it. She began to do her hair, put up some make up and put on her best clothes. As if neglecting something for thirty years can be made up for in a few hours.
I think that many musicians (and other artists) fall in the same trap. You cannot make up in a few hours in the studio or on stage for what has been neglected for the rest of the time. People hear that, even though you cannot say how.
Especially when I listen to all these young pop bands, I see the magic rapidly fade away. You cannot expect the magic to stay with you when you are loosing yourself in other things than trying to stayed plugged in to the source of inspiration, that is of course also the source of magic. Alcohol, fame, drugs, reputations, sex, money and all the other things that keep people’s minds from the real thing (music, or whatever) make the magic go away. If you are not completely dedicated to whatever is your way to express magic, you will express nothing but empty imitations.
I hate to see or hear or read my heroes loose the magic. There are only a few who stay with it for more than a few years. And I cannot think of anyone who had it all her/his life. I admire everybody who strives to keep it. That is difficult enough. Many talented artists even loose their memory of the magic: all they express is a desire for success, money and fame.
It is not fair to use one artist as an example for this idea (and it is just an idea; never belief any idea!), so I picked one of the greatest artists, Prince. The songs that he recorded in the period when he made Sign of the times are truly magical to my ears. He is said to have written and recorded two songs per day in that period. Some of these songs showed up on B-sides of singles and on later albums. But I heard them first on bootlegs. In those days these bootlegs were cassette tapes and the sound quality was often bad. I cannot listen to some of these songs with dry eyes.
I have only a few songs that never were released in any form later, but I have seen lists of all the songs that Prince has written, and there must be dozens of unreleased songs from this period. I really don’t understand why such great material is not available. To give an example, here is There’s others here with us.