Twilight of the Gods

Pretty self-explanatory
Hawksmoor
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Twilight of the Gods

Postby Hawksmoor » Wed Oct 28, 2020 6:09 am

There's a review of Hey Clockface from 'Riff Magazine' (whatever the hell that is) which somebody has kindly posted in the Hey Clockface thread. It's an interesting review: honest, critical where it needs to be, but also perceptive and well-written (in the sense that I like the vocabulary and the tone). The gist of it seems to be: on the upside, great to see EC continuing to be prolific, continually pushing to get new music out there, continuing to experiment and looking for new musical avenues to explore. On the downside, (a) his voice at 66 is not what it was at 26; and (b) he's losing his knack for writing a catchy tune for every song.

If that's the case – fair enough, in my view. Those of us who have adored EC's music for the last 40+ years probably also listen to people like McCartney, Neil Young, Dylan, Ray Davies, Jagger, Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Wonder, Townshend, Richard Thompson, Paul Weller, Joni Mitchell, Van Morrison, Paul Simon and (until their untimely deaths) Lennon, George Harrison, Bob Marley, Bowie, Leonard Cohen, Prince, and so on, and so on. OK, I know we don't all listen to all of those people, but I'll wager that many of us listen to several of them.

And if we do, we will be aware that we are living in the Twilight of the Gods. These are the people who became millionaires by simply selling records. These are the people for whom you could reasonably say they had a 'career' as a pop singer (a concept that would have appeared laughable in 1965). These are the prolific songwriters with gargantuan back-catalogues which you can explore night after night without ever getting bored. Sure, they're also the people whose record companies are keen to release £200 box-sets with all the out-takes and live tracks, but hey, you can take those or leave them, and let's be honest, most of us have more disposable income in our mid-50s than we did when we were fourteen.

But they are also people who are now in their late 60s or even late 70s. Cards on the table, and all things being equal, several of them are probably into their last decade of life now. McCartney can't hit the high note on 'please please me!' any more. Dylan's largely given up on tunes, as a concept in popular music. The quality control on Weller's LPs is variable to say the least, but he continues to knock one out every year (presumably because four marriages and eight kids is a lot of alimony). Springsteen (in the days when live concerts were still possible) talks his way through several key songs that he used to actually sing.

It doesn't matter. We have grown up with these people and their music has soundtracked our lives. We're not stopping now, and thank God, neither are they. In their twilight years, they continue to put new music out there, to explore new ideas, to provide us with songs about love, and death, and sex, and politics, and getting old. Some of those songs still take our breath away with their brilliance. Some are jaw-droppingly bad. For every unmemorable melody and cracked vocal, there's always a moment that floors you with the wisdom of the years and the sheer brilliance of a perfectly-captured line. But it doesn't matter. We're not stopping now, and thankfully, neither are they. To the end now. Twilight of the Gods. Hey Clockface, keep your fingers on the dial.

Neil.
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Re: Twilight of the Gods

Postby Neil. » Wed Oct 28, 2020 7:57 am

Great piece of writing, Hawksmoor.

Yeah, it was a golden era for musicians - when they stopped being wandering mistrels and could become millionaires. That's probably gone forever now that streaming for pennies is the thing - no-one will be able to become so wealthy off music again.

The artists who were there when people had to buy records were in the right place at the right time! You can't even see people live at the moment. I think even CDs as a convenient present at Xmas is almost over - it will die out.

Elegaic times!

invisible Pole
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Re: Twilight of the Gods

Postby invisible Pole » Wed Oct 28, 2020 9:25 am

Brilliantly written, Hawksmoor! Agree with every word.
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verbal gymnastics
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Re: Twilight of the Gods

Postby verbal gymnastics » Wed Oct 28, 2020 9:49 am

Hawksmoor - at times I think you are my articulate alter ego. 8)
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sulky lad
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Re: Twilight of the Gods

Postby sulky lad » Wed Oct 28, 2020 5:58 pm

verbal gymnastics wrote:Hawksmoor - at times I think you are my articulate alter ego. 8)


yeah, you certainly speak for me too here, great thoughts and perfectly voiced, thank you!

ice nine
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Re: Twilight of the Gods

Postby ice nine » Wed Oct 28, 2020 8:11 pm

Every artist mentioned got his/her start in late sixties/seventies. Does this mean, as I would agree with, that the best musical decade was the 70's?
It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think that you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt
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Hawksmoor
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Re: Twilight of the Gods

Postby Hawksmoor » Thu Oct 29, 2020 3:40 am

ice nine wrote:Every artist mentioned got his/her start in late sixties/seventies. Does this mean, as I would agree with, that the best musical decade was the 70's?

I guess there's always something about the music that was current when you were in that exciting phase of discovering music for the first time, which for a lot of us would be our mid-teenage years, I suppose. I persist in my belief that 1978-to-1983 was the most exiting, most fruitful and most brilliantly innovative period for popular music ever. But then, I turned fourteen in 1978 and went to college in 1982, so I probably would think that, wouldn't I! :)

Neil.
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Re: Twilight of the Gods

Postby Neil. » Thu Oct 29, 2020 4:06 am

Hawksmoor wrote:I persist in my belief that 1978-to-1983 was the most exiting, most fruitful and most brilliantly innovative period for popular music ever. But then, I turned fourteen in 1978 and went to college in 1982, so I probably would think that, wouldn't I! :)


Yeah, I was aged 10 to 15 during that period and Radio 1 was on in our house all the time.

So it feels like I know every song from that period. The variety was amazing.

Have you ever listened to 'Pick of Pops' on Radio 2? They play some great singles for all the different eras - including that era. You often hear stuff you'd forgotten you'd forgotten!

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006wq ... des/player

Hawksmoor
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Re: Twilight of the Gods

Postby Hawksmoor » Thu Oct 29, 2020 4:51 am

Neil. wrote:
Hawksmoor wrote:I persist in my belief that 1978-to-1983 was the most exiting, most fruitful and most brilliantly innovative period for popular music ever. But then, I turned fourteen in 1978 and went to college in 1982, so I probably would think that, wouldn't I! :)


Yeah, I was aged 10 to 15 during that period and Radio 1 was on in our house all the time.

So it feels like I know every song from that period. The variety was amazing.

Have you ever listened to 'Pick of Pops' on Radio 2? They play some great singles for all the different eras - including that era. You often hear stuff you'd forgotten you'd forgotten!

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006wq ... des/player

Yes, that's a great show for nostalgia freaks like us! But also - yes, the variety was amazing. Punk, new wave, old-school ska, reggae, disco, prog, metal, traditional singer/songwriter stuff, cheesy power ballads, unlistenable metronomic synth stuff...and it would get played alongside each other. I can't help feeling music has become more bland, generic, and 'market-led' since then, but again, could just be my inner fourteen year-old talking.

sheeptotheslaughter
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Re: Twilight of the Gods

Postby sheeptotheslaughter » Fri Oct 30, 2020 3:25 am

Echo what everyone has said beautifully written piece.

I might have a bit more glam rock in my listening pleasure. :D

IMO Elvis and Weller have actually recently made a couple of great records. I know my friend VG doesnt agree on Weller. But I have really loved his last three albums.
I love Look Now I think its up there with Elvis's great records. And although I wasnt actually looking forward to Hey Clockface on first listen its a really good album too. I probably have to listen to Byline and I cant say her name, again. I have only heard them the once. Others of course have been out there for a while

Hawksmoor
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Re: Twilight of the Gods

Postby Hawksmoor » Sat Oct 31, 2020 1:26 pm

sheeptotheslaughter wrote:IMO Elvis and Weller have actually recently made a couple of great records. I know my friend VG doesnt agree on Weller. But I have really loved his last three albums. I love Look Now I think its up there with Elvis's great records. And although I wasnt actually looking forward to Hey Clockface on first listen its a really good album too. I probably have to listen to Byline and I cant say her name, again. I have only heard them the once. Others of course have been out there for a while

I love Weller to bits, I'm a veteran Jam fan, and I actually think the Style Council might be the most (critically) under-rated band of the 1980s. 1983 to 1989 was one of the most adventurous and tune-packed phases of Weller's career, and it saddened me a bit, in the early yeas of his solo career, to watch him treating the Style Council era like some embarrassing lost weekend. Thankfully he's grown out of that now, and happy to play TSC songs live!

His solo career is fine by me (I have every LP he's ever made, of course), but I'd probably say his quality control is more patchy than Elvis', and there have been a few howlers. Well - not 'howlers', exactly, but LPs I look at on the shelf and think 'you know what, I couldn't sing you the chorus of a single track on that'. :lol:

But what I really admire is his determination to keep going, keep banging out the LPs. I think it's the mark of a great songwriter. When you get writer's block (which you will) or the choruses won't come (which sometimes they won't) or everything's just a bit shit...don't stop! Don't fall into the one-LP-every-five-years thing. Keep writing, keep banging them out. And eventually you'll write your way through it. One day you'll wake up and you can make '22 Dreams'!

Sorry - bit of a digression about Weller there. But I believe Elvis is not dissimilar in his approach. I think there are far too many artists working in popular music who (a) decide to make a new LP; (b) take some time to write the new LP; (c) record and release the LP, then probably tour it; and (d) sit back for three years until it's time to start thinking about making a new LP.

I honestly don't think Elvis is like that. I honestly think barely a day goes by that he's not working on a new song, or having an idea for a new project. It's just in him, and I love that about him. I think there are plenty of artists who plan their careers, LP-by-LP, with a three-year break between in which they don't think about songwriting - and that's fine. I'm sure there are also plenty of artists who do it purely for the adrenalin rush of playing live, and that's also fine. But in my head, Elvis is always the guy who's just itching to play you the new song he wrote yesterday. 'Hey, you wanna hear a new song?' He can't turn it off. I find that incredibly endearing, and it's one of the (many) reasons I'm loving the Hey Clockface LP.

sheeptotheslaughter
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Re: Twilight of the Gods

Postby sheeptotheslaughter » Mon Nov 02, 2020 5:26 am

Hawksmoor wrote:
sheeptotheslaughter wrote:IMO Elvis and Weller have actually recently made a couple of great records. I know my friend VG doesnt agree on Weller. But I have really loved his last three albums. I love Look Now I think its up there with Elvis's great records. And although I wasnt actually looking forward to Hey Clockface on first listen its a really good album too. I probably have to listen to Byline and I cant say her name, again. I have only heard them the once. Others of course have been out there for a while

I love Weller to bits, I'm a veteran Jam fan, and I actually think the Style Council might be the most (critically) under-rated band of the 1980s. 1983 to 1989 was one of the most adventurous and tune-packed phases of Weller's career, and it saddened me a bit, in the early yeas of his solo career, to watch him treating the Style Council era like some embarrassing lost weekend. Thankfully he's grown out of that now, and happy to play TSC songs live!

His solo career is fine by me (I have every LP he's ever made, of course), but I'd probably say his quality control is more patchy than Elvis', and there have been a few howlers. Well - not 'howlers', exactly, but LPs I look at on the shelf and think 'you know what, I couldn't sing you the chorus of a single track on that'. :lol:

But what I really admire is his determination to keep going, keep banging out the LPs. I think it's the mark of a great songwriter. When you get writer's block (which you will) or the choruses won't come (which sometimes they won't) or everything's just a bit shit...don't stop! Don't fall into the one-LP-every-five-years thing. Keep writing, keep banging them out. And eventually you'll write your way through it. One day you'll wake up and you can make '22 Dreams'!

Sorry - bit of a digression about Weller there. But I believe Elvis is not dissimilar in his approach. I think there are far too many artists working in popular music who (a) decide to make a new LP; (b) take some time to write the new LP; (c) record and release the LP, then probably tour it; and (d) sit back for three years until it's time to start thinking about making a new LP.

I honestly don't think Elvis is like that. I honestly think barely a day goes by that he's not working on a new song, or having an idea for a new project. It's just in him, and I love that about him. I think there are plenty of artists who plan their careers, LP-by-LP, with a three-year break between in which they don't think about songwriting - and that's fine. I'm sure there are also plenty of artists who do it purely for the adrenalin rush of playing live, and that's also fine. But in my head, Elvis is always the guy who's just itching to play you the new song he wrote yesterday. 'Hey, you wanna hear a new song?' He can't turn it off. I find that incredibly endearing, and it's one of the (many) reasons I'm loving the Hey Clockface LP.


Couldnt put it better myself


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