Wednesday, July 15, 2009

2002 : 06 Two songs by Calvin Johnson

You fill my heart with forget me nots
And I feel eight foot tall

2009 is the tenth anniversary of Napster. I think it is one of the most transformative technologies in the last decade. In 1999 I listened to Chuck D on the radio talk about how the music industry's days were numbered. He said that this would empower artists who were willing to take the jump. I wonder if he knew how right he was.

I hope there is a Statue of Limitations on this; if not I am screwed. Yes, I used to use Napster, before the lawsuit came down saying it was illegal. I did not use it to download the latest albums from big name bands. I used it to find new bands and try out music I was not hearing other places. I used to find people with songs I liked in their collection and find other songs I ever heard of before. I would download a lot of songs, listen to all of them, and delete the ones I did not like.

There were two songs from this process that stood out: "Love'll Come Back Again" and "Lies Goodbye." Neither of the songs had an artist listed for them. The person I downloaded them from did not know who the artist was. For months I could not find any record of these songs on the Internet. I searched over and over again and came up blank. The songs sounded like they were recorded in a coffee house. In the version I had you could hear cars drive by the window and a dog outside barking. It was the lowest of lo-fi. I was worried I would never find the artist of these songs.

What got me was how the voice in the song seems so desperate. This is another case of a voice that sings not because they want to, but because they have to. The lack of polish and range in the voice only made me love the songs more. If felt like the place I was in with my head and my heart at that time.

We've both wasted so much time hedging bets

Rich Thomas

Listen: Calvin Johnson >> "Love Will Come Back Again" | "Lies Goodbye"

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