Seven Things We Can Learn From Death and All His Friends
This is one of my current favorite songs, by none other than lovely Coldplay. It used to be really cool to like Coldplay, because they were kind of indie, sort of British, and a little bit unknown. They were like a find…an entrance into a club. Now, they’re too popular for you to feel cool if you like them. So now only the mass populus likes them, and most indie kids and musicians don’t. Hmmm…
But I cannot get over their newest album. It really hasn’t gotten a rest on my car’s cd player. (Yep, you read that right…cd player. Keepin’ it classy since 1996.) And the last song on the album, ‘Death and All of His Friends’ really does (at least for me) what I look for in music and what I try to do with my own music–it reaches in and grabs my soul in a way I cannot explain or fully understand. But I like it.
So, there’s five things we can learn from this song:
1. Sometimes understanding a song technically and cerebrally can take away a bit from the joy of listening to it musically and emotionally.
So that being said, here’s the song to listen to, before going into some things about the writing of it. (One picture……it’s just for sweet, sweet aural pleasure.)
2. Music is Melody.
Just a beautiful song. It lets the overall melodic spine of the vocals, piano, guitars, and loops be the song. The rest is to support it. No style, orchestration, musicians, solos, anti-solos, power, or dynamics, will ever fully make up for a poorly written song. The song and subsequent melody have to come first. (This, of course, from a little guitar player guy who happened to put a blog up, hopes someone will read it, and has never written a hit song……even with himself. hehe)
The piano intros, and then the guitar just melds in with it perfectly. Very nice contrapuntal section…you kind of forget which is leading and which is following, and just let the whole of the passage run its course through the veins of your very being. (Okay, that was admittedly a bit much. )
4. Keep it Simple
I wish I could play the first drum beat nonstop for 24 hours for every drummer on the planet. The power of that simple beat says more, in my hopefully humble opinion, then anything else ever could have.
5. Technicality is for the Purpose of Sounding Good; it’s not a Purpose in Itself
You may or may not have noticed, but the last passage, the hook of the song, was in 7/4. What I love about that, is that it helps the flow of the song. It doesn’t call attention to itself as an off-tempo rhythm per se, but is written because that’s what the song called for. And in my personal opinion, it takes a way better musician to make 7/4 timing sound good, then one who plays 7/4 in a way that screams, ‘Listen to me! I can play something other than 4/4!’
6. Escapism, Ambiance, and Soundscape in Music is Back (or so I think)
Now this is purely my own expert (hehe……riiight……) speculation, but the ambient escapism music that kind of takes you to a physical location, is coming back into style. I’m thinking we’re going to see a rebirth of this type of music, mixed with the currently popular folky melodies. It’s almost a new style emerging a bit, and it’d be cool for the church to jump on it now, instead of in five years, which seems to be our habit. But I’m loving this soundscape stuff right now.
7. Johnny Buckland has Good Tone
Of course, tone is subjective, so this is up for debate; but I do dig his sound.