Your Mother Should Know
I recently did a bunch of covers of side 3 of the Beatles’ ‘White Album’. What prompted it was a combination of coming off a 12 song set of fairly difficult and challenging tracks which exhausted me and the desire to just play a bunch of stuff I liked as a teen. After I posted them up, it occurred to me that the ‘White Album’ was recorded in 1968, placing it 45 years ago.
Now, I don’t know about you, but that is actually an interminably long time in the timescale of pop music. Paul McCartney is about to come out with a new album (called ‘New’) so he’s still going strong after the morbidly death-obsessed ‘Memory Almost Full’ album, but I sat and tried to figure out how music that old – 45years! – must look like to say, an 18year old today.
If I subtract 45 from the year I was 18, it goes firmly into the late 1930s. Now, I had no shot of owning any music from the late 1930s, let alone being more than passingly familiar with it. Quite frankly I – or my other music listening, record-buying friends- would have been extremely unlikely to be familiar with anything that old.
And yet, Walk-Off HBP went to see Ringo Starr earlier this year because his daughter wanted to see Ringo, so clearly the charms of music that’s 45-50 years old is not entirely lost on kids of today. Obviously it’s going to vary from person to person, household to household, family to family. Even so, you wonder about the distance of this time that separates one from the moment of recording.
Bono was saying in some interview someplace that each time U2 go into a studio there’s a challenge of doing better than before but also an equally large battle to be relevant. So it can’t be easy for anybody to be doing any recording 10years, 20years and 30years in. You sure don’t see Led Zeppelin heading for the studio with Jason Bonham, you don’t see a new album from the Rolling Stone every 2years, it just doesn’t happen.
That being said recorded music has one advantage over literature and movies and it is the ability music has to be consumed over and over again. Even your most favourite movie can only be sat through a handful f times unless you want to make a total study of it. Your favourite albums will be by our side in decades to come, surviving multiple listens upon listens. I think the reason why music drags me back is that in the end I can control my output in a ay that is closed off to me in the cinema. I’m doing more and more recordings because I am able to complete thoughts, ideas, concepts; then execute and finish; and in finishing, I am able to move on to the next thing.
This is in stark contrast to the horrors of being a screenwriter and waiting for people to get back to you about your script; and in most instances, nothing gets made even if people tell you how much they like your writing. Frank Zappa certainly wasn’t wrong when he said “music is best”. There’s certainly a lot of wisdom in that observation.