Friday, September 17, 2010

Friday Crap Simile Blogging

Andrzej Lukowski tries to describe Neko Case's voice with a "series of crap similes":

It’s like bells tolling at night. It’s like being buried in red dirt. It’s scorched earth and starlight and murder and suffocation and rust and blood and molten bronze and lots of other images clearly subliminally influenced by the fact she has red hair. I dunno… I guess she sounds like a country artist, somebody like Loretta Lynn, if you just ripped away the technique and mannerisms and everything but the elemental essence and spun it back out, dark, low and ominous. She is, by-the-by, a superb lyricist, but when the voice gets fully enmeshed in the blasted country noir guts of a song like of ‘Ghost Wiring’, ‘Deep Red Bells’ or ‘Things That Scare Me’, it all goes rather further than words.
Not all crap is equal. "Bells tolling at night" is getting there, and I can see the aptness of "starlight," "molten bronze," and "dark, low, and ominous," in several instances, but I wouldn't compare her voice to "scorched earth," "murder," "rust," "blood," or "suffocation" -- these make thematic cameos in what she sings about, but they don't work as descriptions of how she sings. I don't even want to know how a voice would sound if it merited comparison with being "buried in red dirt."

I don't want to be too hard on Andrzej Lukowski; he admires her poetry and her voice, as I do, and it's no easy thing to describe the sound of a voice. The thing is to listen to it.

Below is a fan-made video of "Ghost Wiring," and maybe all things are fair in love, war, and fan-made videos, but I would have applied these visuals to a different Neko Case song, perhaps "Star Witness" or "South Tacoma Way." "Ghost Wiring" is more about pining for a lost sense of home and place, the place being Washington*, where she spent the lion's share of her childhood.

Whatever the video accompaniment -- none is required, surely -- "Ghost Wiring" is a superb song:


Ghost Wiring from Andrew McCalman on Vimeo.


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* No. No, I will not call it "Washington state." In the realm of place-names, Washington refers to a state. To refer to the similarly-named city built on a swamp where lobbyists govern the USA, call it by its name, "Washington D.C." or just "D.C."

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