Metasongs!

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Glyph

Glyph is worse than some and better than others. He believes that life is just one damned thing after another, that only pop music can save us now, and that mercy is the mark of a great man (but he's just all right). Nothing he writes here should be taken as an indication that he knows anything about anything.

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19 Responses

  1. Avatar trizzlor
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    says:

    Morrissey’s self-indulgence truly knows no bounds 🙂 but what a neat device. The only instance I could think of was the surreal nonsense the Silver Jews pull on Federal Dust ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FDAiZ0bLPSU ):

    They don’t cry and they don’t die in South Dakota.
    They don’t match and they don’t hatch in South Dakota.
    Here comes the coda:

    Not much water coming over the hill…

    Where the coda still sounds deep and meaningful even though they just told us with a smirk that they were going to do it (Malkmus you rascal!). There’s also the neat little self-edit that LCD Soundsystem did on their live album version of “Pow Pow” where “Three, we have a black president and you do not, so shut up / because you don’t know shit about where I’m from that you didn’t get from your TV” gets revised into “Three, well, three doesn’t make sense anymore because it’s, you know, it used to be played in the future“. Oh, and of course that old classic:

    I must stop singing this song because I’m high
    I’m singing this whole thing wrong because I’m high
    and if I don’t sell one copy I know why yea-hey
    ’cause I’m high ’cause I’m high ’cause I’m high

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    • Avatar trizzlor in reply to trizzlor
      Ignored
      says:

      One more: This is a song about a superhero named Tony / It’s called Tony’s ThemeReport

    • Avatar Glyph in reply to trizzlor
      Ignored
      says:

      Ooh, Malkmus should have been an obvious one.

      When it’s central, so essential,
      It has a nice ring when you laugh
      At the low life opinions
      And they’re coming to the chorus now

      http://youtube.com/watch?v=lPvhKV3Yg2k

      And I’ve been wasted
      Advocating that
      Word for the last word
      Last words come up
      All you’ve got to wasteReport

    • Avatar Stillwater in reply to trizzlor
      Ignored
      says:

      Morrissey’s self-indulgence truly knows no bounds 🙂 but what a neat device.

      He’s the only artist I know who can tap dance the tightrope of self-aware self-indulgence and pull off the musical joke. The guys a genius all the way down. He makes me laugh every time.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Stillwater
        Ignored
        says:

        I’ve honestly never understood people who just see him as dour, and don’t think he’s hilarious. I mean, look at the two examples I quote: “More songs than they’d stand”.

        But he’s dead serious about what pop music means, and the way a song can be a comfort and companion for life. I didn’t include “Rubber Ring” because although it’s about songs, it’s not exactly about itself (Elton’s “Sad Songs” got disqualified for the same reason):

        “But don’t forget the songs that made you cry
        And the songs that saved your life
        Yes, you’re older now, and you’re a clever swine,
        But they were the only ones that ever stood by you.”Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater
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        says:

        Yeah. I couldn’t say it any better, that’s for sure. He’s a joking trickster about events and situations that shape all of our lives but deadly serious about the power of music to get us thru those “tragedies”. If folks think he fails musically – who am I to judge? But if they think he’s depressing I’ll start arguing.Report

      • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Stillwater
        Ignored
        says:

        Many of The Smith’s(‘s) songs were musically self-referential. I always enjoyed “Paint a Vulgar Picture” … Especially in light of their post-break release of their “Best of” album(s).

        Re-issue ! Re-package ! Re-package !
        Re-evaluate the songs
        Double-pack with a photograph
        Extra Track (and a tacky badge)

        The frenzy when Morrissey dies will be delicious.Report

  2. Avatar Mike Schilling
    Ignored
    says:


    This is the theme to Garry’s Show,
    The opening theme to Garry’s show.
    This is the music that you hear as you watch the credits.
    We’re almost to the part of where I start to whistle.
    (whistles)
    Then we’ll watch “It’s Garry Shandling’s Show”.
    Report

  3. Avatar aaron david
    Ignored
    says:

    Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, the Weeping Song:

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  4. Avatar Burt Likko
    Ignored
    says:

    I appreciate the reference to the best album ever.Report

  5. Avatar Chris
    Ignored
    says:

    See also every hip hop song ever.Report

  6. Avatar Brandon Berg
    Ignored
    says:

    I think a metasong would be a song about songs in general. Maybe you’d call a song about itself a reflexive song?

    Helen Reddy had a song called “Think I’ll Write a Song” about being interrupted while trying to write a song. I’m not sure whether the song in question was that song, though. Maybe not, since the lyric implies that she failed to finish her song, but the actual song is nevertheless complete. Bobby Darin’s “Distractions” had a similar theme. And “Simple Song of Freedom.”

    There’s “Money for Nothing” by Dire Straits.

    And Joe Wecker’s DeCSS song.

    Wikipedia has a category for metasongs.Report

  7. Avatar Maribou
    Ignored
    says:

    I’ve been pondering, nd I think I prefer the songs that flirt with this trope over the songs who fully embrace it. For example, Poet, by Bastille. The song IS the thing that the song is talking about doing, but the song never comes right out and says “this is a song about this song” – it’s more general than that.

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