Radio Jesus

My dear friend John Hardt just released a new track for which I wrote the lyrics (and he cleaned them up to fit). He said “I want to write an Oasis song called ‘Radio Jesus.'” I think we pulled it off.

Words and Music

The Rilke post from earlier got me thinking about the first poem I ever memorized.

Obviously, nursery rhymes were first, and then songs like Jesus Loves Me. Then, when I started school, My Country Tis of Thee, America the Beautiful, The Star-Spangled Banner, Simple Gifts.

In fourth grade we had to memorize and recite poems, so of course we all asked if we could do Top 40. Someone beat me to We Didn’t Start the Fire (I memorized it anyway…we all did), so I did Another Day in Paradise by Phil Collins. The song really affected me. Years later, I’d find myself working street-level with the homeless populations of the Lehigh Valley. What had seemed like a very 80s problem has gotten so much worse.

The first sort of classic poem I ever memorized was To Althea From Prison by Lovelace, the cavalier. It’s very famous, especially for this line:

Stone Walls do not a Prison make,
Nor Iron bars a Cage;

but the ones that really got me were

When (like committed linnets) I
With shriller throat shall sing
The sweetness, Mercy, Majesty,
And glories of my King;
When I shall voice aloud how good
He is, how Great should be,
Enlargèd Winds, that curl the Flood,
Know no such Liberty.

and especially:

When I lie tangled in her hair,
And fettered to her eye,
The Gods that wanton in the Air,
Know no such Liberty.

I was 15, so yeah. Killed me. Still does.

It strikes me now that “Slide Away” by Oasis, which I also discovered around that time, is a cavalier poem from the Council Estates. I love it so much.

Liam in London

But as a Mancunian whose teens were set to a soundtrack of Oasis, Liam could have come out and played Wonderwall on his iPhone and I’d still think he was the coolest man alive. 

That’s a great line from Stefan Kyriazis.

As a Pennsylvanian whose teens were set to the same three albums, I know what he means.

There’s no real American analogue to Oasis. By convention, I should have been listening to Nirvana for a few years already when Oasis got to American top 40. And, I mean, I was, because it was impossible not to. But I’ll just be honest. Nirvana always seemed too privileged.

Oasis was swaggering, life-affirming, sneeringly ironic but also really, truly earnest. Liam packed about a million miles into what he did with the simplest of things (namely, vowels). Show me another frontman who, standing still with his hands clasped behind his back, could electrify hundreds of thousands of people.

Medleys

Happy Thanksgiving from the Cocca Internet Array.

Two kinds of medleys on my mind. The vegetable kind, for obvious reasons, and the musical kind. I was playing with a chord progression/strum pattern just now, and decided that “We Are Going to Be Friends” and “Rock Around the Clock” make an excellent medley (play them both in G).

“We Are Going to Be Friends” is also a prequel to “Thirteen” by Big Star as far as I’m concerned.

Enjoy having all of those songs in your head today. I know I will.