England Lost – Gotta Get a Grip – Mick Jagger

England Lost

England Lost – Gotta Get a Grip – Mick Jagger

 On the Floor – Music&Verse – Verses Inked

Mick Jagger at 74 Sings of Political Angst

Talk of getting the tabloid frantically typesetting. Talk of Mick Jagger and you have already embarked upon an endless quest of conversations that would empale your curiosity. His onstage theatrics, super celebrity collaboration and tireless creative ventures that define his body of work, with the stones or without . You could count on Mick Jagger to put on a show.

On his 74th birthday Jagger released two singles which he believed were thematically too hot in the moment to be held back and accommodated in a complete album some time later. A merry throwback to the times, for Jagger when songs were, ‘ recorded on the hoof ‘, and released immediately for some more hoofing around.

These two tracks are heavily laced with overt political overtones, both plaintively metaphorical and suggestively remedial, as Jagger states might had lost their appeal to the audience if withheld presently. The urgency per se was a result of the sheer dearth of optimism in the political scenario either side of Atlantic. With Brexit and Trump vying for top honours, it was left to the Rolling Stones front-man to bring together an entourage and document the somber state of affairs through appropriate artistic rendition. A ‘ first musical foray into political commentary.’-Gurdian

It is indeed an entourage which goes to work to carry out a Mick Jagger venture. The description of the YouTube videos for both England Lost and Gotta Get a Grip acknowledges the efforts of a host of persons who came together to make these tracks a reality in time, complete with video. The list, as matter of fact mentions of a director, executive producer,production company, producer, casting director, director of photography, focus puller, concept artist, first assistant director, production manager, production assistant, location manager, hair and makeup, costume designer, assistant costume designer, tailor, art director, 2D artist, lead 2D artist, grade and VFX producer, post producer and colour and sound personnel.

This would be Jagger’s first solo project since his 2001 album, Goddess in the doorway. Apart from his undertakings with the stones, which since the turn of the millennium has included two albums – A Bigger Bang, 2005 and Lonesome and Blue – 2016; to go with their 40 years celebration tour – 40’s Licks in 2002, Mick Jagger has otherwise kept himself busy with film production and celebrity collaborations that has included names like rapper will.I.am, country musician Brad Paisley, and the much critically acclaimed 2011 super group Superheavy, consisting of guitarist Dave Stewart, American soul singer Joss Stone, reggae singer and electronic composer Damian Marley, and Indian multi-instrumentalist, A.R.Rehman.

Coming back to the present, to 2017, to England Lost and Gotta get a grip. This been a non Rolling Stones project of Mick Jagger means that stylistically these songs are a shy away from the rock-n-roll influence of his glimmer-twin Keith Richards and adheres more to the pop and dance image of Jagger himself.

That been said both songs have a heavy electronic production environment influence, dominated by dizzying drum loops and cultured synth samples. Yet the sound of a wicked guitar could not be but missed every now and again. Speaking of the overall musical theme for the compositions, while England lost hovers on the line of angry jazz to blues on heavy boots, while Get a grip wears no pretense in showing up as higher grunge.

The whole set-up for England lost, with lyrics and videography complete has an impending calamity feel to it, while Get a grip effortlessly takes it to the next level with a post apocalypse utopian vibe about the happenings. The old man’s humor takes on the setting like vinegar to pickles.Comedy clearly steals the show in the blasé desperation of the lyrics and the appropriate arrogance in sputtering them out, which at times takes the tone of a headmaster’s belligerence at difficult pupils. While the videos play their part in putting together some semblance of drama in their respective scope.

England lost enfolds as a narration about an English football fan in the wake of defeat. Humor in self-ridicule. As well you could not help but roll over with senile laughter at this particular snippet of a verse from get a grip . A composition where sarcasm draws life source from the construct of frivolous extravagance.

“I tried diversion and I tried coercion
Mediation and medication
LA culture and aquapuncture
Overeating and sex in meetings
Induced insanity, Christianity..”

Both the compositions could boast of videos accentuates the central theme with vivid descriptions.

 The noir-style video for “England Lost” follows a jittery businessman who discovers he’s being followed after leaving work. A chase ensues as the man runs through London then out into the countryside where things get even weirder. The man is hit by a bicyclist, then a car, then dashes into the ocean where he’s apprehended by two men who drag him ashore. The townspeople surround him and a little girl tells him flat out, “Pull yourself together.”.’

The video (of Gotta get a grip) is set in an opulent nightclub where extravagance and excess reach a boiling point and explode into chaos while Jagger rails against everything from greed to xenophobia.

-Rolling Stone Magazine

Keeping it uber, an official version of England lost, featuring British rapper Skepta on Rhymed verse had been put out only a few days post the original release.

The Promise – Chris Cornell Music Video Release on World Refugee Day

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Official Video Release – World Refugee Day

 

The Promise is the last single from Late singer Chris Cornell. The song which was released in March earlier this year in support of The International Rescue Committee, was originally written by Chris for the ending credits of the 2016 movie by the same name.

The Promise, is a 2016 historic drama flick, co-written and directed by Terry George. The story features Oscar Isaac, Charlotte Le Bon and Christian Bale in a love triangle, set against the Armenian Holocaust during the last days of the Ottoman empire.

 

Orchestral Accompaniments – The New Sound

 

Chris Cornell had written the song after been approached by the movie producer, Eric Esrailian. Cornell all the more associated with the movie theme of Armenian Genocide, as his wife – Vicky Cornell has Greek ancestry and her lineage was affected as a result of the heinous murder policies of the Ottoman government. A swan song of sorts for the empire.

The music for the song is arranged by Paul Buckmaster, renowned for providing musical accompaniment for The Rolling Stones and Elton John during the 70’s. The of the song as touted by Rolling Stone magazine is a move away from the grunge, alternative metal, hard rock of Soundgarden and Audioslave. A move as Cornell agreed, made in order to accommodate the period and theme of the movie. The final recording of the song is fulfilled with a 24 piece orchestra. Whereas on two different live rendition of the song, Chris is accompanied by a string quartet and a grand piano respectively.

 

The Official Video – An Ode to Hope

 

The official video for the song, as was Chris Cornell’s wish before his unforeseen death, was released June 20th, on the occasion of World Refugee Day. The video has been directed by music video director and Irish adman, Meiert Avis.

The video for the song was extended in scope, so as to address the current growing global concern of increasing refugees. An assemblage of clips of conflict ravaged cities and escaping refugees, is what constitutes video of Chris Cornell’s last ever song.

To override the dismay with hope, was the prominent creative input that Chris provided in the production of the video. The lyrics of the song gently amble through the verses, before every time embarking on a promise infusing, typical Chris Cornell power packed chorus. The rich sound of orchestra gracefully carrying voice and words of Chris Cornell, presented the listener with an experience that they could have got more used to. No matter the price, a promise to survive, persevere and thrive.

“The Promise”

If I had nothing to my name
But photographs of you
Rescued from the flames
That is all I would ever need
As long as I can read
What’s written on your face
The strength that shines
Behind your eyes
The hope and light
That will never die

And one promise you made
One promise that always remains
No matter the price
A promise to survive
Persevere and thrive
As we’ve always done

And you said
“The poison in a kiss
Is the lie upon the lips”
Truer words were never shared
When I feel
Like lies are all I hear
I pull my memories near
The one thing they can’t take

And one promise you made
One promise that always remains
No matter the price
A promise to survive
Persevere and thrive
As we’ve always done

The books still open on the table
The bells still ringing in the air
The dreams still clinging to the pillow
The songs still singing in a prayer

Now my soul
Is stretching through the roots
To memories of you
Back through time and space
To carry home
The faces and the names
And these photographs of you
Rescued from the flames

And one promise you made
One promise that always remains
No matter the price
A promise to survive
Persevere and thrive
And dare to rise once more
A promise to survive
Persevere and thrive
And fill the world with life
As we’ve always done

Also Read:   Tom Morello -CharacterPress – Verses Inked

 

The harsh Harmonica

 

Crossroads and Friends:

There are those crossroads that we end up at, where there are no two ways of going about things. You know you cannot lose your way around for you have known each stone. You probably were better off someplace else, yet here you are at the moment, right where you should not have been, pondering if that what does not kill you, does it really makes you stronger? A question perhaps best left to the better judgement of the conscience of the self. By the way it was Nietzsche who said these lines before the joker made it his own.

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Is that not what harshness is. An all too familiar crossroad from your hometown, where you once got beat, and you keep visiting it like you got an alkaline score to make man.  If you could only side step the longitudes of time, there would be someone waiting for you there. Yet for the sake of the beloved planet we move on ahead, with only hope to meet again. Uncalled for yet, necessary, offending and hilarious at the same time, avertible yet forever cherished. That would perhaps be all the authorship could make of harshness before we move onto the harmonica.

Groove in to the Harmonica:

 

 

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“Gonna change my way of thinking, make my self a different set of rules. Gonna put my good foot forward and stop being influenced by fools.”-Bob Dylan

 

Onto the harmonica, the French harp, the mouth organ, on to the free reed,  aerophone that it is. Perhaps what distinguishes the great romancers from the lugubrious lovers, that which draws from the hollows, and soars above the skyline of sound arrangements. This which sings when the flimsy reeds, its heart and lungs like the sails of a vessel dance to their own tacking, in this case tone, at the breath and blow of the performer. That which rubs not just the lip of ja performer, but even the deepest recesses of the soul of those who care to listen. The faithful companion to the one man band. The prodigal folly of the venturer, what but the vocation of the virtuoso. The gasp of air which holds the melody through, when there is no verse to be sung, or a chorus to be emphasised upon, or hook to be dearly hung onto, or any other form of lead to be strung out.  Be it service to the Jazz, or personification of the blues, reviving the flamboyance of the swing of the 30’s, or the drone of the bebop of the 40’s, or the soul and gospel of the 50’s. there always was to be found the compositional vibratos, and the harmonies of the harmonica, with their bends, beginnings and endings, which kept on breathing in the spirit of the decades gone on by, as rolled over the pages of Beethoven digging on those rhythm and blues. That would be the harmonica my friend, what virtuoso John Popper would say as, ‘delicious but not digestible.’

The Great Harmonica Romancers:
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Something surely goes amiss without at least a modest mention of some of the humble mongers, who got the trade to the stature it is at, as of the day. The masters at their war. The missionaries of their order, the soldiers incognita with their hollow, innocent shoulders, all of them, of the precepts of the pride beholders. Simply speaking the great harmonica romancers.  Without been specially, or temporally too data basic about it, we shall infer upon the ramblings by touching on the names and the notions of a few of those harmonica romancers, about whom an average reader may already know.

Now obviously there is the Bob Dylan. The prominent personage with his rhythms and harmonica stand, sticking out close to the microphone, like a swarm of bees working on a hive. There is the Neil Young of old, overtly confused as to which of his pockets holds which piece of what tuning. There is Mick Jagger, as there is Brexit, there is as well at the harmonica, Eddie Vader at his contemplative best, as there is Steven Tyler, feeling the tone of the instrument, through the chords of his voice. Then there are the purists as well, at least a couple among whom, who simply could not do without a mention. John Popper, with his line of Fender Harmonica, whom the reader may remember from earlier in the publication.  There is also the much lauded lord of the licking stick, to his listener, known as Magic Dick.

For a calling somewhat commonplace, and an expression stirringly rustic, to the extent of been inclement. Many maestros and mediocre alike would have had their time with the instrument, and would have their body of work and extent of imitation to speak of. So has the universe many mysteries untold.

 

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The Alternate Age of Music Production:

Wandering On: 

The woes of a wanderer are best perhaps left untouched. It sure takes great courage on the part of an individual to document or artistically redeem the choicest episodes of the wanderings. Otherwise what is left of art is just austere flattery, and what use is left of a form of documentation, but for the cause and sake of the government.

The act of wandering is the stuff that makes poetry, is the mind that remembers the shade, and the hand that mixes the colours. It is my friend the bewitchery which holds the verse together and for very sure is the force which presses each key, pulls the strings and wraps out the beats. It is the moral decision captured in the one eighth fraction of a second. Wandering is to the artist, what the shallows are to the fishes.

To get it worth thier words, they wandered. They wandered lonely as a cloud, and floating over high vales and hills, and on subway walls, and in tenement halls, they came across, a host of golden daffodils. And at the end of it all, they were left with a heartful of ache and the ever loss of god. Wandering, still wandering, in hopeless nights, because out there in the perimeter, there were no stars, out there they was stoned immaculate.

The Alternate Age:

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It speaks of substance to fall in under the bracket of alternate. Take cancer therapy for instance. The alternate is surely in some measures superior to the ordinary, or the average, and up to certain tangible extent even the mainstream. That is exactly where popular politics comes in. The politics of popularity, rather than the popularity of the politics. It is that which gets assimilated and multiplies. It is what the system endorses, out of sheer convenience. Savage, scavenging, as ephemeral, as it is eternal, figged out to blend into the times. This is what determines your ranking in the chats of pop culture.

The case of music production, the term alternate associates with the mode of expression, both in the scope of the sound as well as through the persona of the performers. A progeny of the rock n roll of the nineteen sixties and seventies. The generation which still carried the angst of the predecessors, even as backstage, the puppet masters consolidated on their skill set. A situation which left the youth all the more confused. Thus were the Alternates, once younger in time, ever since have been worked upon by the elements.

So what did these alternates sound like, who listened to them man. To the audience first. The wrath children and the leftovers from the sixties, and the seventies, and those who evolved during the eighties and the nineties, and still kept growing into the new millennium. The originals from the school of punk, hard rock, progressive, independent and metal, those still obsessed with the rhythm n blues. Not much however could be spoken about the change in taste of those interested in country, jazz, or classical. Keep the humour going metal heads. You are not the only vertebrates, bestowed with the skills of a’ capella.

The alternate age however, was no more about how unique the sound was. What mattered from now on was how different it could be every other time. Drawing heavily from the DIY (do it yourself) ethos and embracing every bit of the change. Still screaming out loud, yet not letting it all out, keeping it simmering somewhere deep inside, so as to still provide on some rainy day. The conscious scales of justice were decisive in their contemplation about burning out and fading away.

The energy is what perhaps made so many tributaries possible both when the alternative was mainstream, and also during the techno takeover. The electric injection of the 60’s had truly taken effect and the electronics was peeking fast. The capo, the harsh harmonica, the dependable tambourines, the distortion kits,  the pedals and the amplifiers were systematically getting arranged into chipsets, to be accessed over mere mouse clicks.. Yet the change was more evolutionary in nature, rather than been a forthwith conquest, for there never was any short of effort on behalf of those involved in still staying loyal to the basics, every time a new sound was brought to the table.

Who is Who:

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Among the first in class may be included U2, Aerosmith, REM, RHCP, Sound Garden, Guns n’ Roses, Radiohead, Alice in Chains, Nirvana, Pearl Jam. Then came the nineties, and with it brought the ever growing force of the electronic underground. No form of artistic expression, could be since then said to have been untouched by technology. Some bands may have skipped the attention of the authorships. Some bands still would have rather wandered into more drastic genres like metal, acid rock, grunge and reggae. Even the alternates, as we have mentioned them all drew from the source of more than one genres, which on their own part represent a messy family tree. Post Punk, jangle Pop, Brit Pop, Independent Rock, Garage Rock, more grunge, obviously hard rock, spoken words, and it goes on.

There was then the motherboard generation of musicians and their respective categorisation into soundscapes, and personalities. What differentiated the DJ’s from the producers, and both from the engineers. Yet the alternate age held its own, as the storm slowly, but ever so surely gained pace. Oasis, Creed, Foo Fighters, Linkin Park, White Stripes, Strokes, Matchbox 20, Kings of Leon, The Killers and the list is endless. Yet the last of breed in manners of sorts.

These generations of musicians, over the decades who provided the charts with their numbers, week in and week out. Cultures developed and dissolved away around the bands and the individuals who formed them. Some notes stayed etched, some voices became immortal, the blueprint got more detailed in its own modest and humble ways. The spirit of the alternate was still being served to the last instinct. The music videos sure became more refined, while the knobs of the sound consoles threatened of the increasing possibilities of evermore. Yet the receding hairlines and familiar pitches surely in some ways confirmed that the artists were still doing it themselves. The rookies got easily assimilated even as the veterans worked on the consistency of the broth. Until the day it all came crashing down on the thimble.

 

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