In Which I Exert a Small Amount of Retribution

Posted in Books, Music on January 1st, 2010 by Tom

edwardIt’s the new year! The first full calendar year since the format change is ahead, and I intend to really go all-out. Wheels fell off towards the second half of the past semester, but as always, I mean to pick myself back up and try again.

This year begins with me a little Pissed Off. I just recently (two nights ago) saw the film adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, the dogged, beautiful, trudging tale of a father’s love for a son in a world utterly devoid of goodwill and kindness, not to mention people. Not a day or two previous to that, I was listening to a track I’d scraped off of the net by the Editors, titled ‘No Sound But the Wind‘. The chorus mentions “carrying the fire,” and a “road,” both of which served as prominent and important themes throughout the novel. I did a little searching for the lyrics, and low and behold, the song is in fact about the book, and “no sound but the wind” is a line directly from it.

He walked out into the road and stood. The silence. The salitter drying from the earth. The mudstained shapes of floating cities burned to the waterline. At a crossroads a ground set with dolmen stones where the spoken bones of oracles lay moldering. No sound but the wind. What will you say? A living man spoke these lines? He sharpened a quill with his small penknife to scribe these things in sloe or lampblack? At some reckonable and entabled moment? He is coming to steal my eyes. To seal my mouth with dirt.


‘No Sound But The Wind’
[ mp3 ♫ ]

As I read a little further, however, I discovered/remembered an awful thing. The reason I had a copy of this Editors song was because I had heard they would be on the soundtrack for the forthcoming Twilight film, New Moon. They were, but I thought to myself surely this couldn’t be the song. Such an assumption is both right and wrong. Right in the sense that this fantastic song does not appear on the soundrack; wrong in that some perversion thereof does. It appears that they changed a few of the lyrics (below, in red) to make it more of a generic song, though the darkness of it is now more Twilight-y, and it was thrown into the film, just like that.

Original Lyrics Modified New Moon Lyrics
We can never go home, son
We no longer have one
I’ll help you carry the load, son
I’ll carry you on my back
We walk through the ash,
And the charred remains of our country
Keep an eye on my back, son
I’ll keep an eye on the road

Help me to carry the fire
We will keep it alight together
Help me to carry the fire
This road can’t go on forever

If I say shut your eyes, son
If I say look away
Bury your head in my shoulder
Think of a birthday
The things you put in your head
They wont stay there forever
I’m trying hard to hide your soul, son
From things it’s not meant to see

Help me to carry the fire
We will keep it alight together
Help me to carry the fire
This road can’t go on forever

Help me to carry the fire
We will keep it alight together
Now help me to carry the fire
This road won’t go on forever

No sound but the wind
No sound but the wind

If I say shut your eyes
If I say shut your eyes
If I say shut your eyes
If I say shut your eyes

Help me to carry the fire
We will keep it alight together
Help me carry the fire
This road won’t go on forever

We can never go home
We no longer have one
I’ll help you carry the load
I’ll carry you in my arms
The kiss of the snow
The crescent moon above us
Our blood is cold
And we’re alone
But I’m alone with you

Help me to carry the fire
We will keep it alight together
Help me to carry the fire
It will light our way forever

If I say shut your eyes
If I say look away
Bury your face in my shoulder
Think of a birthday
The things you put in your head
They will stay here forever
Our blood is cold
And we’re alone, love
But I’m alone with you

Help me to carry the fire
We will keep it alight together
Help me to carry the fire
It will light our way forever

Help me to carry the fire
We will keep it alight together
Now help me to carry the fire
It will light up our way forever

If I say shut your eyes
If I say shut your eyes
Bury me in surprise
Where I say shut your eyes

Help me to carry the fire
We will keep it alight together
Help me carry the fire
It will light our way forever

Aside from content, the Twilight version takes what you hear above and strips it down to a boring march on an echo-y piano (you’ll have to go look for it yourself; you’ll find no links here), and also omits the really cool bridge; in other words, it just isn’t as good of a piece of music as it used to be.

So yeah, I’m a little upset that a tribute to a Pulitzer-winning novel about the unending love of a father for his son in spite of their lonely existence in a world marred by cold, cruelty, and death has been pilfered, modified, and degraded to serve as yet another moody element of the moody backdrop for a moody vampire drama marketed at emotionally immature moody teenage girls.

So, Editors, guess what? You were deadlocked for the No. 10 slot on my best albums of 2009, but your asses just got bumped, for no other reason that what you see above. That was a trivial, disgusting thing to do, to take something with so much meaning and beauty and mangle it in such a fashion. It’s also irritating that such a good song couldnt’ve instead found a place on your 2009 album, but whatever. I’ve spoken my peace.

Try and be less of sellouts in the future.

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In This Light and On This Evening

Posted in Music on October 22nd, 2009 by Tom

inthislightEh… Man. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, and even more than that, I hate to be mega-harsh on a band, but I’ve gotta say that I do not really get what the Editors were going for with this new record. I was SO excited for it; even more so when I found out it’d been delayed, and exponentially so after I heard the single, ‘Papillon‘. When I finally got the record geared up for a listen though… oh man. The opening/title track, ‘In This Light and On This Evening’, is a dragging dirge that seems to promise at every turn to explode into a crazy beat-driven song… and promptly never does. Contrast this with 2007’s An End Has A Start opener ‘Smokers Outside the Hospital Room’. That’s not to say I want the most approachable song first; that’s a formula I’m not terribly fond of. Just don’t put the creepiest, strangest one first either.


[ mp3 ♫ ]

As I write this, I’m giving the album it’s 5th listen. Admittedly, I have not spend a great deal of time with it, and while I am coming around on a good half of the tracks, I still can’t shake the notion that something here is off. ‘Bricks and Mortar’, as well as ‘You Don’t Know Love’ serve to anchor the top of the listing, supporting Papillon at either end, earnestly trying to convince you that the record is relevant to your interests, but next comes ‘The Big Exit’. I almost included it to listen to, as an example of what is easily the low point of the album, but it seemed stupid to post a track and say “don’t listen to this, it’s awful.” The timing is all off, with a rapid percussion backing a smeared and ethereal synth melody, your ear is left confused as to what the aim of such a juxtaposition, not to mention the unsettling feeling of hearing Tom Smith sing higher than mid-range…


[ mp3 ♫ ]

I can’t complain too much, though. ‘The Boxer‘ is a fine example of what the Editors are capable of when they really want to slow things down and get their brood on. The remaining songs, despite their bizarre names, make for a decent end. Perhaps maybe my problem was expectations. An End was my obsessive record of the spring, and I got fairly into In the Back Room this summer. I had high hopes that this record would really lock in the Editors as my best ‘find’ of the year. When it didn’t happen, I maybe gave the album too hard of a rap. It certainly did not meet expectations, but mine were so high that even though it falls far below the mark, In This Light still comes out to be a decent set of songs.

If you’re a big Depeche Mode fan, or into some related or similar sinister-synth type music, then the Editors have written an album just for you. For those of us waiting for a follow-up more in the vein of their earlier work, we’ll just have to grit our teeth and dance extra-hard to ‘Papillon’ to make up for the frowning the rest of the tracks are sure to induce.

The Editors – In This Light and On This Evening

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Catching Up On the Editors

Posted in Music on July 29th, 2009 by Tom

editorsBesides sampling a bunch of tracks of the inter-web this summer, I also make an effort to go deeper into some of my favorite artist’s catalogs. It’s always great when I can get on board only one or two records behind, and get ‘caught up’. I call this ‘backlogging’ for whatever reason. One such record I picked up to accomplish that was The Back Room by The Editors. Now, if you’ve heard my radio program (which is more or less current, FINALLY), you know that I started to get into a major Editors phase last semester.

Me and that band are my patented Pandora Success story. I heard ‘Smokers Outside a Hospital Door‘ on my station one day, and I clicked the thumbs up. A few weeks later, it popped up again, and I liked enough to *cough*stealtherecordfromtheinternet*cough* listen to the entire album. I was pretty taken with it, and it became a staple of my Spring roster. I felt stupid for having overlooked it last near, thus earning it the title “Best Missed Album from 2008”, with Fleet Foxes also ranking highly up there.


[ mp3 ♫ ]

So I listened the pants off of it, and really enjoyed it. The Joy Division-esque veil of dark and brooding is probably one of my favorite musical gimmicks (see: Interpol, and the National on most days), and the Editors have that in spades. Sure, maybe it’s a little derivative, but Joy Division didn’t exactly churn out a very hefty library, and so I don’t mind somebody else trying to pick up the torch.

That being the history of me and this group, lets talk for a second about The Back Room. Honestly? I had a bit of a hard time warming up to it. There is one song I really liked, even from the beginning, ‘All Sparks‘, and a few others (‘Blood‘, ‘Fingers In The Factories’) that I was warm to, but it took some time to come out and say “I really like this record!” In the few short days we’ve spent together, we’ve made good strides…

backroom


[mp3 ♫ ]


[ mp3 ♫ ]

Which I guess brings up an important point: I hate basically everything the first time I listen to it. Sometimes there’s a song that’ll just grab you on the radio (‘When You Were Young’, ‘Starlight’, ‘Amsterdam’ (Guster), and so on…) but besides that I take a good five listens to like something. I kid you not, I didn’t even start to like Transatlanticism until 10 listens and two months of time. I think is OK, you know? It’s like how you have to build a friendship; you don’t just meet a person and decide to be best mates until the end of the world. That kinda thing takes time.

Anyway. I still think their sophomore album, An End Has A Start is better than their debut, but either way you turn it, the Editors are worth looking into. To really send this home, I decided to throw in a fourth track, off of An End…, ‘Escape the Nest‘. Also, if you like what you hear, keep your eye out for their newest record that lands September 21 called In This Light & On This Evening. I’ll post samples of that when I have them myself, but until then, enjoy!


[ mp3 ♫ ]

[NOTE: Two things-
I’d just like to say I’m officially on the board: I like neither of these closers, so take that, Ian!
And do I post too many tracks? I feel like giving people options is nice, but I’m not sure.]

The Back Room – Editors
An End Has A Start – Editors

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