4 January 2018
Hello MLE,First post of 2018!I was sharing Laurie Anderson’s O Superman song with one of our designers yesterday, and thought I’d look up what this song means, as it is so intriguing.When this song was written, Laurie Anderson was a performance artist, not a musician, and this song was created for one of her art pieces.It was influenced by a 19th-century aria by Massenet that began: "Ô Souverain, ô juge, ô père" (O Sovereign, O Judge, O Father). It was a prayer to authority, which Anderson thought was interesting, and so she wrote the beginning of the song: "O Superman / O Judge / O Mom and Dad.”The lyrics are a one-sided conversation, like a prayer to God. It sounds sinister – but it is sinister when you start talking to power. Sinister is juxtaposed with mundane imagery: “Hold me Mom in your long arms, your petrochemical arms, your military arms.” Americans had always been told that America was the motherland, to appeal to their love of mom and dad, but it’s really not like that.The song consists of only two chords,A♭ major and C minor, as well as the repeating "Ha" syllable done on a vocoder. I had to look up what that is, and learned that it is a bit like auto tune… An early 1970s vocoder, custom built for electronic music band Kraftwerk is seen above, which was probably not too different from Anderson’s vocoder. This was very high tech for 1981.Though never a hit in the USA, this song was #2 on the UK Singles Charts in 1981, after it was championed by DJ John Peel. This lead to a record deal with Warner Brothers.Anderson’s artist friends said she was selling out, but just months later the term being used was “crossing over,” and Anderson became a visionary.Says Anderson, “I had just brought the song back to my live set when 9/11 happened. People said: ‘I can’t believe it. You’re singing about current events.’ I said: ‘It’s not so strange. We’re in the same war and our planes are still crashing.’”Suzan
12 February 2015
Hi hi MLE,
I remember the first time I saw that Chandelier video, it's a stunning, beautiful, creative, unique... Definitely something I'm not used to seeing on the screens of Fitness First when I'm on the cross trainer. The best music video I've seen in years.
I don't care about Sia, I have no idea who Kristen Wiig is, and I don't care about the Grammy's, but decided to check out the performance, and it's almost as good as the video. Amazing. Well, at least I think so (I know a lot of people would not agree)... And I know you don't really keep up with this stuff either so thought I'd share:
Sia - Chandelier (57th GRAMMYs feat. Kristen Wiig & Maddie Ziegler)
27 January 2014
Well, my path has crossed with Peter Saville's; I've been living here in London for almost seven years now, so it's about time. And what's the two things I should never ever do when this sort of thing happens? 1) go and get my photo taken with him and 2) blog about it. But, that is exactly what I am going to do, haha.
At least my parents would understand, they have no pride either. When my path crossed with my second design hero, Stefan Sagmeister, I was with them, unfortunately. They got so excited about who he was that they chased him down the street shouting, "Sagmeister! Sagmeister! Hello! Over here!" I had to hide in a shop so I never met him obviously.
So this time I made sure I did not miss my chance to meet Mr Saville and I must say he was lovely and it was nice to tell him how much I respect his work.
It's funny, the work of Sagmeister and Saville is very different. Sagmeister is conceptual and easier to appreciate with words, whereas Saville is more abstract and easier to understand emotionally.
There are always a few album covers that still stick out in my mind when I think back to the olden days of CDs and vinyl. Most of them were the work of Saville - my favourites are above. I love Saville's ability to create one strong, single image - which is in large part why he is such a successful album cover designer.
Not to say that Saville can't do Sagmeister style stuff, also above is one of my favourite non-album-cover pieces, the brothel sticker.
Okay I'll stop now.
Oh and I can't wait to see Saville's logo for Kanye West, can't believe my two heroes are collaborating, crazy.
27 November 2012
For you today, I have an incredible video of Gainsbourg in his prime... what could be better? Had to send, as I know you are a big fan as well. This song is, of course, about Brigitte Bardot with whom he had a fling in 67. What a lucky lucky woman. Sigh... Okay, anyway... une magnifique dédicace...
Gainsbourg was actually one of the first to sample, and for this song it is the Symphonie n° 9 « Du nouveau monde » from Dvořák. He also uses the first couple verses from Edgar Allen Poe's The Raven.
The song is a beautiful poem, this being my favourite part:
Jusques en haut des cuisses, elle est bottée
Et c'est comme un calice à sa beauté
Elle ne porte rien d'autre qu'un peu
D'essence de Guerlain dans les cheveux
Talk soon. And don't forget to send me that email.
Oh and would you like to see me cry? Cry with joy? Then buy me the bacon scarf from the post below for Christmas. Amazing.
xxxPosted in: music
17 January 2012
Happy 2012 my friend! 2012 is gonna be a good year! (Yes I will be repeating all the time until the end of summer).
A few weeks ago, I went to the Postmodernism: Style and Subversion 1970-1990 exhibition at the V&A. In one room, on a huge screen, this was found:
Laurie Anderson O Superman
It echoed over and over throughout the exhibition and it wouldn't leave my head for hours until after I left.
I never really liked Laurie Anderson's Big Science album when I gave it a try ages ago, but maybe I didn't give it enough of a chance. This song is gorgeous. It unexpectedly rose to #2 on the UK Singles Charts UK Singles Charts in 1981, making a name for Anderson, who was little known outside the art world at the time.
The clip above is Laurie Anderson performing from her home in Soho New York 1982.
There are only two alternating chords in the background.
The lines "Cause when love is gone, there's always justice / And when justice is gone, there's always force / And when force is gone, there's always Mom" derive from the fourth sentence of Chapter 38 of the Tao Te Ching: "When Tao is lost, there is goodness. When goodness is lost, there is kindness. When kindness is lost, there is justice. When justice is lost, there is ritual. Now ritual is the husk of faith and loyalty, the beginning of confusion."