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Author Topic: World Cup of Songwriters.
Screaming Lord Byron
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posted 11 September 2004 04:59 PM      Profile for Screaming Lord Byron     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
While undergoing a terribly tedious team meeting at work yesterday, I got to thinking about who was the best current songwriter in each of the English speaking countries. So, myself being an anal individual, I started organizing them into a world cup of songwriters. Who would win? To qualify, the songwriter must be alive and a citizen of his or her respective country. I stuck to modern, rock era songwriters, as that's what I know best.

New Zealand - Neil Finn (An easy one)

Australia - Nick Cave (Also, pretty easy)

Canada - Joni Mitchell (More difficult, this one, as you can imagine. I stuck to the holy trinity of Canadian pop culture - Mitchell, Cohen and Young. Young is the better rock star, but his output is notoriously patchy. Cohen is of course brilliant, but I went with Mitchell as she represents the whole package, a great writer, melodicist, singer and guitarist)

USA - Aimee Mann (Almost impossible. Many people, I imagine would go with Dylan, but I find Dylan to be melodically weak, although an extraordinary lyricist. Other possibles include Stephen Merritt of the Magnetic Fields, but I went with Aimee Mann as a gifted lyricist and a peerless melodicist, in many ways in the tradition of Mitchell, given that she is also a gifted guitarist.)

Ireland - Van Morrison

Scotland - Mike Scott (there are others, but none of them wrote 'This is the Sea', so it goes to the Waterboy-in-chief)

England - Elvis Costello. So many great songwriters, but Costello towers above all others for me.

Wales - OK, I'm stuck. Julian Cope is Welsh, so it goes to Cope by default, as I can't think of many other Welsh songwriters. I'll be damned if I give it to that guy from The Alarm, that's for sure.

Jamaica - Lee 'Scratch' Perry. (I know, I know, you prefer Bob Marley. Tough!)

South Africa - I'm stumped. Hugh Masakela? That guy from the KLF? Definitely not Mutt Lange.

Doubles Tournament.

England - Difford and Tilbrook (of Squeeze)
Wales - James Dean Bradfield and Nicky Wire (of the Manic Street Preachers)
Ireland - Bono and The Edge
Australia - Robert Forster and Grant McLennan (of the Go-Betweens).


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Anchoress
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posted 11 September 2004 05:34 PM      Profile for Anchoress     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I agree with you totally about Joni Mitchell and Elvis Costello, but what about Bowie for UK writer? How do you think he stacks up against Elvis?
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Screaming Lord Byron
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posted 11 September 2004 05:37 PM      Profile for Screaming Lord Byron     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Good point. I've always seen Bowie as a collaborator rather than an individual writer. He does his best work writing with the likes of Carlos Alomar, Brian Eno, Mick Ronson et al. Of course, for output, his output is perhaps superior to Costello, but in terms of individual writer, I'd take Costello.
Bowie is definitely a better producer and arranger.

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audra trower williams
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posted 11 September 2004 06:35 PM      Profile for audra trower williams   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I nominate John Cale for Wales. He's just cooler.
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Screaming Lord Byron
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posted 11 September 2004 06:40 PM      Profile for Screaming Lord Byron     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I'd forgotten Cale. He's in there for 'Endless Plain of Fortune'. Thanks, Audra.
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Agent 204
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posted 11 September 2004 07:58 PM      Profile for Agent 204   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
What about Lennon and McCartney for England?? Harrison too, for that matter??

For the US, what about Hank Williams Sr.?

Edited to add: Oops, didn't see the requirement that they still be alive.

[ 11 September 2004: Message edited by: Mike Keenan ]


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Screaming Lord Byron
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posted 11 September 2004 08:38 PM      Profile for Screaming Lord Byron     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Yeah. The dead thing puts a crimp on it. Although, it is a blessing as it removes the Lennon/McCartney default, which chokes everyone else out.

Apparently Hal David is still alive, so Bacharach/David would be my choice for the US songwriting partnership.


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Agent 204
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posted 11 September 2004 08:40 PM      Profile for Agent 204   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Or maybe Goffin/King (they're both still alive, aren't they?)
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Scott Piatkowski
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posted 11 September 2004 10:07 PM      Profile for Scott Piatkowski   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Screaming Lord Byron:
New Zealand - Neil Finn (An easy one)

Yeah, probably for the entire English-speaking world, I think.

An aside: Neil and Tim Finn have just release their second Finn Brothers disc, Everyone is Here. Buy it now.

quote:
Australia - Nick Cave (Also, pretty easy)

Garrett / Hirst / Moginy (sp?) / etc. (the members of Midnight Oil)

quote:
South Africa - I'm stumped. Hugh Masakela? That guy from the KLF? Definitely not Mutt Lange.

Johnny Clegg.

quote:
Doubles Tournament.

Canada - Jim Cuddy and Greg Keelor


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kingblake
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posted 11 September 2004 11:30 PM      Profile for kingblake     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I don't know if I'd call Lee Perry a songwriter!
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audra trower williams
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posted 12 September 2004 12:00 AM      Profile for audra trower williams   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Screaming Lord Byron:
I'd forgotten Cale. He's in there for 'Endless Plain of Fortune'. Thanks, Audra.

My dad is from Rhyl I have to defend the awesomeness of My People.

[ 12 September 2004: Message edited by: audra trower williams ]


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Baldfresh
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posted 12 September 2004 01:13 AM      Profile for Baldfresh   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by kingblake:
I don't know if I'd call Lee Perry a songwriter!

I was going to mention that. Give me Marley. Produced by Perry, of course. Hmm. Except, Marley's dead now isn't he?

Some good picks in your first post though, SLB; I'll take Merritt over Mann by a slim margin (untill she can put out the equivalent of '69 Love Songs' I'll stand staunchly by that as well) Gruff Rhys of the Super Furry Animals takes the Welsh title hands down, and can hold his own with many listed here for that matter.

Some others that come to mind, indiscriminate of origin: Vic Chesnutt, Kathleen Edwards, Mark Eitzel, and howzabout Daniel Lanois & Bono for a tagteam?


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Reverend Blair
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posted 12 September 2004 01:29 AM      Profile for Reverend Blair   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Canada - Joni Mitchell (More difficult, this one, as you can imagine. I stuck to the holy trinity of Canadian pop culture - Mitchell, Cohen and Young. Young is the better rock star, but his output is notoriously patchy. Cohen is of course brilliant, but I went with Mitchell as she represents the whole package, a great writer, melodicist, singer and guitarist)

I have no quibbles with Joni for Canadian songwriter pick. I have a story though. In the mid eighties I was sitting in Dad's family room. There was some retrospective of the sixties on. Dad saw Joni Mitchell on TV and said, "Hey, that's (what ever her father's name is) daughter."

He was all excited and happy that he knew somebody with a famous kid and completely oblivious to the fact that she'd been famous for twenty years and had been one of those damned hippies he was so suspicious of. She was on TV, damn it, and not CKOS's Profile either....American TV.

For American songwriter I'd like to put Steve Earle up for nomination. He's articulate, controversial, and makes things rhyme. He's also a bit of a political force.


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Screaming Lord Byron
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posted 12 September 2004 01:30 AM      Profile for Screaming Lord Byron     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I was thinking of putting Gruff Rhys in, but I thought no-one would've heard of him. I'm a big SFA fan.
But, yeah, as Marley is dead, he's inelligble. Horace Andy works, I suppose.

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al-Qa'bong
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posted 12 September 2004 02:20 AM      Profile for al-Qa'bong   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
She was on TV, damn it, and not CKOS's Profile either....American TV.

At this point I'd say, "Linus Westburg Rocks", but he doesn't.


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audra trower williams
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posted 12 September 2004 12:20 PM      Profile for audra trower williams   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I've heard of him, SLB! I've never mangaged to get into the SFA, though. Maybe I'll try again.
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Screaming Lord Byron
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posted 12 September 2004 08:15 PM      Profile for Screaming Lord Byron     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I'd say 'Rings Around the World' is probably the most accessible SFA album, although the latest one 'Phantom Power' is also a keeper. The Welsh-language CD 'Mwng' is great also.
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audra trower williams
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posted 13 September 2004 12:15 AM      Profile for audra trower williams   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Mwng is the one I have.
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candle
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posted 13 September 2004 12:58 AM      Profile for candle     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Screaming Lord Byron:
[QB]Yeah. The dead thing puts a crimp on it. Although, it is a blessing as it removes the Lennon/McCartney default, which chokes everyone else out.
QB]

The dead thing also eliminates the Strummer/Jones possibility too which would be my default.

I would consider Ray Davies for England (seeing as we are counting Joni Mitchell as Canadian, I would presume Chrissie Hynde would be considered American and not English)


For the U.S. I think Chrissie Hynde, Paul Westerberg or Mike Watt(check out his Contemplating the Engine Room which is a concept album which compares his life in the Minutemen, Richard McKenna's book "The Sand Pebbles", his pop's life in the navy, and James Joyce's "Ulysses" ) would be damn fine choices. I would also consider Dr. Greg Graffin (he is an evolutionary biologist and has taught zoology at Cornell) of Bad Relgion but sometimes you feel like you need a thesaurus when listening to his lyrics.

For Canada, Mitchell, Young and Cohen would all be good choices as would Bruce Cockburn and Murray Lightburn of The Dears.


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Screaming Lord Byron
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posted 13 September 2004 10:14 AM      Profile for Screaming Lord Byron     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Some leeway is allowed of course, but I can't see Chrissie Hynde ever being considered as anything other than American. Despite her anglophilia, she is definitely an artist in the American rock and roll tradition.
Besides, she's way too mouthy to be English.

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Screaming Lord Byron
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posted 27 September 2004 11:05 AM      Profile for Screaming Lord Byron     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I think Neil Finn is the eventual winner here.
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Briguy
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posted 27 September 2004 11:11 AM      Profile for Briguy     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I agree with that assessment. Neil Finn takes the cup for the All Blacks!

Is Paul Simon worthy of mention for the American Side? I've always enjoyed his melodies and lyrics, even if they are a bit pablumesque compared to Dylan et al. Oooh! Oooh! What about Woody Guthrie himself? David Byrne? Stop me before it's too late!


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Screaming Lord Byron
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posted 27 September 2004 11:18 AM      Profile for Screaming Lord Byron     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Paul Simon would be a worthy candidate. Byrne is clearly a good songwriter, but I think his skills are more on the producer/musician/organizer side.
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Scott Piatkowski
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posted 27 September 2004 12:20 PM      Profile for Scott Piatkowski   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Briguy:
I agree with that assessment. Neil Finn takes the cup for the All Blacks!

Interestingly enough, one of Neil's more obscure gems is "Can You Hear Us?", a tribute to the All Blacks (which, for the uninitiated, is the name of New Zealand's national rugby team).

quote:
What about Woody Guthrie himself?

You're clearly forgetting the "must be alive" rule

[ 27 September 2004: Message edited by: Scott Piatkowski ]


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paxamillion
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posted 27 September 2004 12:31 PM      Profile for paxamillion   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Screaming Lord Byron:
Besides, she's way too mouthy to be English.

Pssst. Think Johnny Rotten, mate.


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Screaming Lord Byron
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posted 27 September 2004 12:33 PM      Profile for Screaming Lord Byron     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Irish!
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Briguy
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posted 27 September 2004 12:48 PM      Profile for Briguy     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
You're clearly forgetting the "must be alive" rule

Pshaw! Woody Guthrie is immortal! Which reminds me, I'm voting for the equally immortal Stan as the Canadian entry.


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Boinker
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posted 27 September 2004 01:06 PM      Profile for Boinker   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Quite a few of these song writers I have never heard of. But I am over 50 so that is understandable prerhaps even forgiveable if you'll allow me...

On the other hand how can you simply compare all singers and say rank them? It's kind of folly because tommorrow you would get up in a different mood and have a different set of tastes and pick someone else entirely.

Who is missing? Green Day, The Travelling Willburys, Leonard Cohen, Garnet Rodgers, Donovan(England), Jimmy Page and Robert Plant, Nora Jones, Carlos Santana,The Eagles...

Ray davies was mentioned...

What about moments or great collaborations like Joe Cocker and Leon Russel?

Every time I hear a Joni Mitchel Song from the 70's my heart breaks.

There's Gordon Lightfoot, Sly & the Family Stone, Stevie Wonder, Sam Cooke, James Brown, Marvin Gaye, Simon & Garfunkle, Leo Sayer, actually my head is too full of all of this music nostalgia and I will have to listen to Drops of Jupiter, You Remind Me, or When the Levee Breaks just to clear my head.


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Screaming Lord Byron
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posted 27 September 2004 01:08 PM      Profile for Screaming Lord Byron     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Green Day?

Donovan is most assuredly not English, by the way.

[ 27 September 2004: Message edited by: Screaming Lord Byron ]


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Catchfire
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posted 27 September 2004 02:12 PM      Profile for Catchfire   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
For my money, it's a crime that you have left out Lou Reed for America. Aimee Mann is out of her depth in the best of American songwriting. Bob Dylan, Brian Wilson or Mr. Reed should beat her by default, and her contemporaries are so far over her head, she can't even get started.
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Screaming Lord Byron
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posted 27 September 2004 02:40 PM      Profile for Screaming Lord Byron     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Lou Reed is a great lyricist but his melodic skills hover around nil. You make a far better case with Brian Wilson.
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Willowdale Wizard
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posted 27 September 2004 03:01 PM      Profile for Willowdale Wizard   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
for germany, nena and her 99 red balloons is a good anti-war choice.
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Catchfire
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posted 27 September 2004 09:39 PM      Profile for Catchfire   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Just because someone does not have a beautiful voice does not mean they have no melodic talent. Besides, are we talking just talent for vocal writing, or the whole song? Have you heard Sweet Jane? Have you heard Satellite of Love? Because to say they have no melody, it sounds like you haven't.

I also have repeatedly tried to make the case that The Beach Boys have the notorious distinction of writing both the best (Good Vibrations) and worst (Kokomo) pop music singles of all time.

I also wonder why Mick Jones and Joe Strummer haven't nicked the combo England nomination. I also move to disqualify John and Paul, as tyhey weren't really a combo anyway.


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Scott Piatkowski
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posted 27 September 2004 09:54 PM      Profile for Scott Piatkowski   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Yah, but you dissed Aimee Mann, so I'm not listening to anything else that you say
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Screaming Lord Byron
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posted 27 September 2004 10:25 PM      Profile for Screaming Lord Byron     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I know Lou Reed's output pretty well, and it's very, very patchy. Transformer is a variable pop album, the Velvet Underground material swithers between genuinely great (Pale Blue Eyes, Sunday Morning) and overrated self-indulgence (Black Angel's Death Song, Sister Ray). Frankly, I think Lou Reed has been trading off three good records (Berlin, The Blue Mask and New York). The rest isn't up to par.

As far as Jones and Strummer, as much as I love the Clash, they're not quite up there with Elvis Costello or Ray Davies as songwriters.

I echo Scott's comments on Aimee Mann.


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'lance
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posted 27 September 2004 10:34 PM      Profile for 'lance     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Frankly, I think Lou Reed has been trading off three good records (Berlin, The Blue Mask and New York). The rest isn't up to par.

Tell me about it. Moved by something or other -- curiosity, boredom -- I just bought a second-hand copy of Songs for Drella. I never even gave a rat's ass about Andy Warhol before, and I still don't; nor are the songs memorable independent of subject matter. I don't imagine I'll give it a second listen.

I've heard good things about Set The Twilight Reeling, though. Is it worthwhile?

quote:
...overrated self-indulgence...

That's a good summation of White Light White Heat, if you ask me, though I suppose "The Gift" has some novelty-song value. The third and fourth VU records are much more solid, "The Murder Mystery" always excepted of course.

[ 27 September 2004: Message edited by: 'lance ]


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favoritething
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posted 28 September 2004 10:46 AM      Profile for favoritething     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
my favorites are those that speak to me in some way, yours are likely the same. i'll never agree on an overall best!

i would put saint julian down for the entire british isles, just ahead of robyn hitchcock. even lee mavers deserves a mention, but his output is minimal. i love SFA too.

for a U.S. duo, how about Mould/Hart? granted (!) they didn't write a lot together so to speak, but their competition proved fruitful.

gotta be westerberg from the U.S.!


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Catchfire
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posted 28 September 2004 05:10 PM      Profile for Catchfire   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Scoff! Balk!

Aimee Mann wishes she could write an album one trillionth as good as Transformer (where, I'll concede, Lou Reed's awesomeness begins to plummet.) Sister Ray is indisputably brilliant, and I'll take all comers who say otherwise. VU's four albums stand as an untouchable beacon of Rock Music glory, whereas Aimee Mann's shining moment was the soundtrack to a pretty good film that badly wanted an editor. I can't even believe I'm having this argument. VU = legendary. Aimee Mann = discount bin.

When was the last time you heard a decent band/songwriter say they were really influenced by Aimee Man? Staying power? Zero. Come on guys, you can do better. You can keep her as your guilty pleasure, but leave the serious songwriting to the serious songwriters.


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Screaming Lord Byron
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posted 28 September 2004 05:19 PM      Profile for Screaming Lord Byron     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
God, I hope I don't sound that arrogant when I make music posts.
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beverly
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posted 28 September 2004 05:22 PM      Profile for beverly     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I just saw a special on Jojn/Cougar/Mellencamp and I truly had forgotten how great he was.
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Scott Piatkowski
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posted 29 September 2004 02:47 AM      Profile for Scott Piatkowski   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Hey Catchfire, in your books, is there a certain apendage required to be a great songwriter?

Shall we compare memorable lines...

quote:
Now that I've met you
Would you object to
Never seeing each other again?
'Cause I can't afford to
Climb aboard you
No one's got that much ego to spend

quote:
Hey babe, take a walk on the wild side...

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Screaming Lord Byron
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posted 29 September 2004 10:15 AM      Profile for Screaming Lord Byron     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I'm rather partial to this.

Todayís the fourth of july
Another june has gone by
And when they light up our town I just think
What a waste of gunpowder and sky
Iím certain that I am alone
In harbouring thoughts of our home
Itís one of my faults that I canít quell my past
I ought to have gotten it gone

So thatís todayís memory lane
With all the pathos and pain
Another chapter in a book where the chapters are endless
And theyíre always the same
A verse, then a verse, and refrain


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Catchfire
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posted 29 September 2004 07:41 PM      Profile for Catchfire   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I figured it might come to this...yes: of course I prefer Lou Reed over Aimee Mann becuase he has a penis.

Well, I also prefer Nina Simone to Ms. Mann, not because of an extra appendege, but because she shames Mann when it comes to songwriting. Not to mention so does Hope Sandoval of Mazzy Star, Kathleen Hanna of Bikini Kill and Le Tigre, Kim Deal of the Pixies, Sleater-Kinney and numerous other women who don't write lame one dimensional songs about a relationship gone sour.

If you can't see the nuanced lyrics of "Walk on the Wild Side" then you will never understand the brilliance of a line like "And the coloured girls go, doo, doo, doo." It's all about context, one of many qualities of good lyrics that escapes the decent, but out-of-her-league Aimee Mann.

Still...I didn't come here to disrespect Aimee Man, though I feel she is out of her depth in the tradition of American songwriters, and I can also tell when I will never change someone's opinion (it begins when I see myself being called arrogant...I don't say I'm humble, but I, like you, am expressing my opinion of music...I didn't take such offense when someone referred to the brilliant White Light/White Heat as self-indulgence) and so will leave you to the last word on the glories of Aimee Mann.

However, I do feel it strange that John Cale goes uncontested as the Welch entry after Audra's suggestion (one I completely agree with, as did many) but his bandmate Lou gets the shaft...literally, by the look of Scott's mention of Lou's and Aimee's lyrics.

Besides:

quote:
I'm searching for my mainline
I said I couldn't hit it sideways
I said I couldn't hit it sideways

[ 29 September 2004: Message edited by: Catchfire ]


From: On the heather | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged
Screaming Lord Byron
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posted 29 September 2004 11:13 PM      Profile for Screaming Lord Byron     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
'You can keep her as your guilty pleasure, but leave the serious songwriting to the serious songwriters. '

I may contact the Oxford English Dictionary to offer this new definition of arrogance.


From: Calgary | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
Lard Tunderin' Jeezus
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posted 29 September 2004 11:48 PM      Profile for Lard Tunderin' Jeezus   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I thought it a rather pithy rebuttal.

...and no, I'm not speaking with a lisp.


From: ... | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
Lard Tunderin' Jeezus
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posted 30 September 2004 12:54 AM      Profile for Lard Tunderin' Jeezus   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
My turn:

Allow me to indulge myself with my own favorite guilty pleasure as a category: 'Pure Pop for Now People', as Nick called it in my youth. The cutting edge, clever stuff. Music and lyrics, in a 3 minute package. It doesn't get any harder than this....

Difford and Tilbrook (Squeeze) being the category Kings of England. And England being the world leaders, with such contenders as Andy (XTC) Partridge, Declan McManus, and others too numerous to mention. (But may I mention Ian Dury, nominee to the 'Dear Departed' Hall of Fame?)

Todd Rundgren is my winner for U.S. of A., as he practically created the genre. A bit of a dearth of talent to the south, for all their output, though. A few shining stars, but inconsistency is a constant theme. If only David Byrne could be bothered with lyrics regularly. If Danny Elfman weren't such a self-indulgent asshole. If Fred Schneider or Webb Wilder or Stan Ridgway could make a whole album...

And as Canada's under-rated entry, (by no means any lesser artists), Levine and McCollum, aka Simon and Milo of Prozzak. Anyone who doesn't own both albums doesn't appreciate great pop music.
Some serious competition in this country, BTW, what with Moe Berg of TPOH and Steven Page & Ed Robertson of BNL fame breathing down their necks.

And representing the continent, I have Holland's Hans Vanderburg, of Gruppo Sportivo fame. Europop with a seriously bent twist, done first, done best.

Anyone care to add to the list?

[ 30 September 2004: Message edited by: Lard tunderin' jeesus ]


From: ... | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
al-Qa'bong
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posted 30 September 2004 02:02 AM      Profile for al-Qa'bong   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
The hands-down winner of English songwriter is the team of William Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan.

To wit:

"When all night long a chap remains
On sentry-go, to chase monotony
He exercises of his brains,
That is, assuming that he's got any.
Though never nurtured in the lap
Of luxury, yet I admonish you,
I am an intellectual chap,
And think of things that would astonish you.

I often think it's comical--
Fal, lal, la! Fal, lal, la!
How Nature always does contrive--
Fal, lal, la, la!

That every boy and every gal
That's born into the world alive
Is either a little Liberal
Or else a little Conservative!"

As for Lou Reed; gimme a break!

"And she never lost her head
Even when she was giving head..."


What kind of a rhyme scheme is that? He uses the same words over and over because can't even find something to rhyme with "head."


From: Saskatchistan | Registered: Feb 2003  |  IP: Logged
West Coast Lefty
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posted 30 September 2004 03:16 AM      Profile for West Coast Lefty     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Some songwriters that haven't been mentioned yet:

Canadian:

- Grapes of Wrath (mainly Tom Hooper and Kevin Kane). "What Was Going Through My Head," "All The Things I Wasn't," "Backward Town," are all great '80s folk-rock.

- I don't think anybody has mentioned Randy Bachman yet. His contributions to the Guess Who (in fact, the song "Undun" alone) would put him near the top of the list, but when you add the BTO classics ("Taking Care of Business," "You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet," and "Looking Out for Number 1") and recent solo hits like "Prairie Town", Randy's body of work is pretty much unmatcheable in the straight rock category for Canada. Burton Cummings has some good songs to his name, but isn't nearly as consistent as Randy in terms of songwriting.

American:

- REM have written some of the best pop songs ever, "Everybody Hurts," "Fall on Me", "Losing My Religion," "Man on the Moon," etc.

- Somebody briefly referenced the Eagles. Don Henley, both with the Eagles and solo, is one of the greatest American songwriters in the rock era. "The Last Resort" off "Hotel California" is an underrated political statement from the 1970's.

- Can't forget Chuck Berry and Smokey Robinson, who basically invented rock'n'roll and the Motown Sound respectively. Nobody tells stories like Chuck or rhymes like Smokey.

- I have a soft spot for Billy Joel - he had quite the run between "The Stranger" and "Innocent Man" in the '70s and early '80s. "The Stranger" alone has around a half-dozen incredibly well-written songs like "Scenes from an Italian Restaurant."

Britain:

- Can it be that nobody has mentioned Jagger/Richards? Where to begin? "Sympathy for the Devil," "You Can't Always Get What You Want," "Ruby Tuesday," "Street Fighting Man," "Tumbling Dice," "Shattered," "Waiting on a Friend", "Wild Horses", "Miss You." I could fill a whole thread with classic Stones songs in every genre, blues, straight rock, country, ballads, funk/disco, soul, etc.

- Noel Gallagher from Oasis. He steals from the best of them but makes his own original statement nonetheless. I just finished listening to "The Masterplan," what an incredible song! Plus the anthems like "Live Forever" and "Wonderwall."

Australia: Do the Bee Gees count as being from Australia? They were born in the UK, moved to Australia as kids and then came back to England, I believe. Absolutely incredible songs whatever the country of origin.

And of course...Angus Young, Malcolm Young and Bon Scott/Brian Johnson from AC/DC. Hard rock does not get any better than this. Nobody comes up with riffs like Angus.

[ 30 September 2004: Message edited by: West Coast Lefty ]


From: Victoria, B.C. | Registered: Feb 2003  |  IP: Logged
Willowdale Wizard
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posted 30 September 2004 04:33 AM      Profile for Willowdale Wizard   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
I do feel it strange that John Cale goes uncontested as the Welsh entry after Audra's suggestion

i know he's not a songwriter, but to decide the welsh entry, i think we should put tom jones and john cale in a steel cage and see which one comes out alive.


From: england (hometown of toronto) | Registered: Jan 2003  |  IP: Logged
Screaming Lord Byron
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posted 30 September 2004 10:03 AM      Profile for Screaming Lord Byron     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Remember, the rules are that a songwriter has to be alive, and singular (unless you're going for the doubles tournament in which case both must be alive - this is uncertain in the case of Jagger/Richards)

[ 30 September 2004: Message edited by: Screaming Lord Byron ]


From: Calgary | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
Scott Piatkowski
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posted 30 September 2004 11:02 AM      Profile for Scott Piatkowski   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
My theory? The reason that the Stones have stayed together so long is that standing next to Keith Richards is the only way that Mick Jagger can look young.

As for Wales, I think that Mike Peters from the Alarm wrote some pretty good tunes. In a bigger field, he'd be left behind, but he's a good candidate for Wales.

But isn't folkie Martyn Joseph from Wales? If so, he wins.

[Edited to note that, yes, Martyn Joseph is from Wales. And, he's definitely a better songwriter than Cale, Peters or... ack... Jones.]

[ 30 September 2004: Message edited by: Scott Piatkowski ]


From: Kitchener-Waterloo | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
Lard Tunderin' Jeezus
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posted 30 September 2004 11:15 AM      Profile for Lard Tunderin' Jeezus   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Oops.

I missed Japan's entry in the great pop sweepstakes: Puffy Ami Yumi

The theme song for 'Teen Titans' is my favorite earworm of the past year.


From: ... | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
candle
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posted 30 September 2004 01:40 PM      Profile for candle     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I was thinking about this a bit the last couple of days and a few I missed for the U.S.A. (two who have since been mentioned):


Tracy Chapman - she isn't the most productive songwriter (only 6 albums since 1988 and many of the songs on her eponymous debut had been around for a few years until she finished college and recorded them) but a great one none the less. She deserves to be in the Songwriter's Hall of Fame just for the songs on the Tracy Chapman album. Hell she deserves it just for writing "Fast Car"

Lee Ranaldo of Sonic Youth - for a while he wasn't getting many songs on the SY albums as Thurston said "SY was designed as a project for Kim and I" but on the last few albums that view seems to have changed. Also check out his solo work. His SY classics include "Eric's Trip", "Hey Joni", "Wish Fulfillment", "Mote", "Hoarfrost", "NYC Ghosts & Flowers" and "Genetic"

The two that were already mentioned were Chuck Berry and John Mellencamp, who are both tremendous story tellers.


From: Ontario | Registered: Sep 2002  |  IP: Logged
Screaming Lord Byron
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posted 30 September 2004 01:43 PM      Profile for Screaming Lord Byron     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Ranaldo and Moore are great. More as soundscapers and engineers than writers, but their contribution to the form is huge.
From: Calgary | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
koan brothers
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posted 30 September 2004 07:10 PM      Profile for koan brothers     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Honorable mention at least.

Van Morrison

Bruce Springsteen


From: desolation row | Registered: Oct 2002  |  IP: Logged
Scott Piatkowski
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posted 07 October 2004 04:25 AM      Profile for Scott Piatkowski   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Catchfire:
Besides:

quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I'm searching for my mainline
I said I couldn't hit it sideways
I said I couldn't hit it sideways
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Are you trying to make your point or mine


From: Kitchener-Waterloo | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
ronb
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posted 07 October 2004 11:05 AM      Profile for ronb     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Perhaps this is as good a time as any to point out that music shouldn't really be considered a competitive pursuit. Kinda like figure skating.
From: gone | Registered: Jan 2002  |  IP: Logged
Screaming Lord Byron
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posted 07 October 2004 11:07 AM      Profile for Screaming Lord Byron     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I don't know, a little Darwinism goes a long way. Particularly where Phil Collins and Chris de Burgh are involved.
From: Calgary | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
Woodnymph
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posted 10 October 2004 03:32 AM      Profile for Woodnymph     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I have to add Ani Difranco for the American nomination. She is an incredible songwriter, able to transport the listener into a feeling. Her imagery rocks me to the core.

I have so many Canadian loves. Kinnie Starr gives me beautiful things to ponder. The Me, Mom and Morgantaler crew still make me laugh. Same with the Bran Van 3000 group (their song-stories are my favorites).

Can Bjork be added as the Icelantic nominee, even though technically it is not an English speaking nation?


From: A little island on a big ocean | Registered: Sep 2002  |  IP: Logged
Calm
rabble-rouser
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posted 10 October 2004 01:11 PM      Profile for Calm     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Of all the tunes I've listened to, this is the most "unique" one that I've heard.

I'll leave this link active for the next 24 hours.

Bobby Gaylor - Suicide
http://www.pair-annoyed.com:9090/!DL/BobbyGaylor-Suicide.mp3


SUICIDE

By Bobby Gaylor
„ 1999

Animals don't have a choice.
If they're not happy with their place in the world... too bad.
They have to live the life they've been given.
Humans, on the other hand, don't have to.
We have a choice.
If you don't like your place in the world
you can get off anytime you want.
Suicide. That's right.
You don't like the way your life's going,
you don't like the way you are in the world,
anything around you,
you can check out anytime you like.
Animals aren't allowed that thought
and believe me, if they were, they would use it.
There'd be a lot of dogs and cats, owned by assholes
that live in high-rises, diving out the windows.
Zebras... if they even had remotely that thought
would take a look at themselves and go, "What the F*#K!
Black & white in a green & brown world... this blows.
I'm just gonna jump in the river.... I don't have a thumb to work a gun or hold a knife or even open a jar of pills. I'm just gonna dive into the next lion's mouth. Why even bother?"
Now, monkeys have the opposable thumb so they could kinda do it the exact same way we do. Now, there's a bunch of people that say, "Oh, it's against the law". Well, it's only against the law if you do a crappy job and get caught. Other people say, "Oh, we should save them". Yeah, well you know what? Not everybody wants to be saved. Not everybody should be saved. And who are we to force our will upon them? I mean, isn't that one of the joys about being a human? Freedom of choice? Now, it's not all bad. Now, I'm not saying "Kill yourself". But if you're gonna be an idiot and do it anyway, it's no sweat off of my back. There's a lot of good that could come from it. A little bit of bad thrown in. Some of the things: A job will open... An apartment will become available... There'll be more air for me... They say there's two girls for every guy - if you're a man, there'll be four chicks for me... There'll be more Ketel One vodka for me... There'll be one less idiot in line at the bank who gets up to the window without their F*#King slips filled out... I won't ever have to go to the store to buy my favorite Salt & Vinegar Chips and have the clerk point at you and say, "They bought the last bag".... You won't help change the McDonald's sign to a Hundred Billion Served... You'll never get AIDS... You won't have to worry about calories ever... No more, "Hey, does this make me look fat?"... There'll be one less polluting human...You won't have to recycle... There'll be one less car on the road... There'll be more Ring Dings for me... Fifty or so chickens' lives will be spared... Your fingers won't ever get red from eating pistachios... You won't be forced to visit your Grandparents on Sundays anymore... No more church... You'll be saying, "Hey, World - Kiss My Ass!"... No more wet dreams about Supermodels... No more Barry Manilow... For a few years anyway... Wondering "Am I a loser?" will be a thing of the past... Say good-bye to crappy Xmas presents from Aunts and Uncles... You won't have to suffer through a Motley Crue reunion... F*#K flossing and brushing... You'll never lose sleep over a pregnancy scare... Adios, Acne... Worrying whether you fit in or not won't be on your brain... See ya later, homework... You'll never have to sit through another movie brought to you by the creators of South Park... Schools out forever.... No more paying bills... You won't have to do chores... You won't be able to run over toads with the lawnmower though... You'll also miss McDonald's French Fries... Bugs Bunny... The amazing electrifying feeling that surges through your body when you kiss someone for the first time...
You won't be able to watch the letterbox director's cut of Jaws... Candy... Living above ground... Pudding crust... You'll miss the rush of getting your first apartment... Getting to the point in your life where you can tell your parents to "F*#K Off! I gotta make my own mistakes....you did"... You'll miss sex - you'll miss thinking about it, looking for it, sex by yourself, sex with a partner, sex with multiple partners... No more summer nights that seem to go on forever... Roller coasters.... Naming your kid the name you always wanted... Making a difference in the world... You'll miss the experience and pleasure of Hallucinogenics... Watching your neighbor's wife change clothes with her blinds open... A lifetime of masturbating... Watching your favorite team sweep the series... Music... You will definitely miss music... Trying to sneak into your house drunk - three hours past your curfew... You'll miss the blaze and glory of the 4th of July fireworks... The taste of Captain Crunch... If you're a boy, you'll miss the feeling the first time you reach up a girl's shirt... If you're a girl, the feeling the first time you reach down a boy's pants... You'll miss your favorite coat... Waffles with whipped cream and strawberries... Beating your friends at video games... You won't be around to see what shape and color the new marshmallow in Lucky Charms will be... You'll miss the feeling you get when reminiscing about your first love - thirty years after the fact... The joy of giving and receiving at Christmas... Skinny dipping... Getting stoned, reading Green Eggs & Ham, and eating like a horse that got loose in the grain bin... Flying cars... Hey, you were born - Finish what was started.

„ 1999 Angelic Monkey Music/DreamWorksSongs

[ 10 October 2004: Message edited by: Calm ]


From: Toronto | Registered: Sep 2004  |  IP: Logged
Screaming Lord Byron
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posted 10 October 2004 07:18 PM      Profile for Screaming Lord Byron     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I've never really understood the appeal of Ani DiFranco myself. She's a good guitarist, but her songs don't grab me in the least. She seems to suffer from the Prince syndrome of putting out way too much material without subjecting it to a proper quality-control process.
Pity really.

From: Calgary | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
Moderator
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posted 10 October 2004 09:01 PM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Excuse me, SLB, but Prince is a god. As you were.
From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Screaming Lord Byron
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posted 10 October 2004 10:40 PM      Profile for Screaming Lord Byron     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I like Prince. He just went through a long period where he desperately needed an editor.
From: Calgary | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
Hawkins
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posted 11 October 2004 12:31 AM      Profile for Hawkins     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
She definately goes up and down. But when she is on, wow, she is on. She definately writes some very good songs.

What about Tom Waits (has he been mentioned yet?)?


From: Burlington Ont | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged

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