I’m not typically a lyrics gal. When listening to music, I respond more to the melody of a song rather than to its words. That being said, sometimes I want to know what a song is trying to convey beyond the musical notes or I want to get the words right when I sing them in the shower. And let me tell you, this extra level of confirmation is sometimes critical; I won’t humiliate myself here by telling you what I USED to sing to Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” There’s a reason Al Yankovich made a parody of the song’s slurried lyrics.
I miss the old days of music packaging when record and CD liner notes included all of the lyrics. I distinctly remember sitting on the floor by our record player listening to the entire side of an album while reading along with the words printed on the record sleeve. Nowadays, it’s not quite so easy. When I buy a song on iTunes, it downloads with only basic information and the album artwork--no lyrics. To add them, I have to manually enter the words into the empty “Lyrics” section that can be accessed through the “Get Info” command. Tedious! I usually end up searching for the lyrics online where I am directed to an amateur website with incorrect or incomplete lyrics and pop-up ads promising to help me lose my tummy fat. I have often wondered why iTunes doesn’t simply embed the lyrics directly in the metadata of the song.
The answer is pretty simple: lyrics are protected by copyright law and you must have the copyright-holder’s permission to reproduce them, even Steve Jobs can't trump that. Lyrics are to a downloaded song what words are to a published book: I can’t post a copy of “The Shining” on my website and I can’t post the lyrics to “99 Luftballons” there either. For years, songwriters and their publishers have battled to shut down websites that illegally make money posting lyrics. Unwittingly, I have contributed to that by using some of those very sites myself. And I'm not alone, "lyrics" is one of the most searched-for terms on Google. Now I know to use LyricFind or MetroLyrics because copyright holders accrue royalty revenue when their work is displayed on websites that use these services.
I feel better knowing that I can legally find the lyrics to songs. I hope that you’ll do the same. Or maybe we can just do what Noah Lennox from Animal Collective advises in a recent interview for New York Magazine: “One of the reasons that I don’t often release lyrics, at least not right away, is that when you don’t have meanings shoved in your face, you find your own way to it.” There is something to be said for that.
I hope that you'll find your own way thru the Music Monday picks this week:
It’s been awhile since I’ve mentioned it but hopefully you have not forgotten that HUICHICA is just around the corner! Yesterday, GunBun tweeted an exciting announcement: Daytrotter will be recording and filming this year’s festival. This is a big deal for Huichica. Daytrotter is a unique and fantastic website that provides minimalist recordings from popular and upcoming indie music acts. You can read more about it here and here. This Monday's first song is from one of my favorite bands right now, Dawes. This recording of “Western Skyline” was performed in a freezing cold, open-air barn as part of Daytrotter’s “Barnstormer” tour in October 2009.
“Circuital” is from the forthcoming album by the highly regarded, country-rock band My Morning Jacket. This band puts on an incredible live show - just ask anyone who was at their epic, four-hour, thirty-five song Bonnaroo set in 2008. If you want to experience them for yourself, you should check out their upcoming touring schedule.
The band Ivan & Alyosha takes its name from characters in Dostoevsky’s “Brother Karamazov” but don’t worry, their music is much more approachable than their esoteric namesake implies. “Fathers Be Kind” is from this Seattle-based group's second album.
The cover for the upcoming debut album from Washed Out (aka Ernest Greene) is quite striking. Greene was discovered by music bloggers a few years ago after releasing music he produced in his bedroom on MySpace. He was recently signed to Sub Pop and “Eyes Be Closed” will be released on Within and Without July 12.
This last song was sent to me from a friend in London. At first, “Another Lost Apache” sounds like a Beach Boys song but just wait, the Fixers make it their own. Their album, Here Comes 2001 So Let’s All Head For The Sun, is not available in the US yet but you can listen to it on their Soundcloud page.
Can't see the playlist below? Click here.