On Music, Then and Now

April 25, 2014 § 9 Comments

Let’s talk about music for a sec.

I enjoyed this interview in the New York Times Magazine last weekend with Sia Furler, the artist whose songwriting touch turns tunes to gold. The part that interested me was where she said that when she got exhausted from writing deeply personal songs for herself, she took a break and spent a few years writing pop songs for other artists. (She’s a bit of an oddball — and has some demons, clearly — but damn, is she talented. She wrote Rihanna’s “Diamonds” in 14 minutes.) Here, she explains how she feels about that switch:

“Maybe I have some shame around it,” she said. “Maybe I’m embarrassed because I’m writing something so cheesy. Then something like that experience will happen [where she helped an artist articulate a very personal experience in a song], and I’ll realize maybe I’m not as stupid as I thought — and maybe people aren’t as stupid as I think. It occurs to me that there is value to what I do.”

I always sort of wondered how she went from doing songs like “Breathe Me” to writing Flo Rida’s “Wild Ones.”

Anyway.

Speaking of music, here’s an odd little musical thing that happened this week. For the record, I’ve nothing against talking dirty, as long as you’re not talking to a theater full of small children waiting to see a G-rated movie. So thanks a lot for that experience, Regal Cinemas.

mixtape

And now for one more musical interlude…  I couldn’t be more delighted that Nancy Kho of Midlife Mixtape (love that name) invited me to contribute an essay to her series, Still in Rotation. I think the music we listen to at certain turning points in our lives becomes a touchstone later — when you listen to it, you remember exactly who you were then, and you realize that the then-person is still there, inside the now-person. I wrote about an album I played on repeat a good bit when I was on the cusp of turning into a teenager. Pop over and visit, if you like.

Thanks — and have a great weekend.

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