Friday, June 18, 2010

Say Something

Since I became enthralled with the Yeah Yeah Yeah's in middle school, I've been called a music snob.  I know I don't purposefully shun music that is popular.  I quite like Rihanna, and enjoy Fiona Apple as much as I love Iron Maiden.  To me, music doesn't rest high-tech gear, a million pedals, or even a nice guitar.  On the Classic Albums special about Nirvana's Nevermind, the sound technician talked about the cheap guitar that Kurt used to record the harrowing, barren "Something in the Way."  The guitar was cheap, and it sounded cheap, but the power of the song was in Kurt's story and his soul.

Here, one of my new favorites, John Mark McMillan, talks about this issue.  Sure, there are people who play guitar, and have nice voices, but make lifeless songs.  When I first listened to McMillan I wrote in my moleskine notebook, "John Mark McMillan is a real person."  There is a story behind his voice and his eyes that can't be overlooked, like the commonalities that we each miss every day.

"I read an interview with Bob Dylan a while back where he was asked about songwriting. Dylan's immediate response was "the world has enough songs". He said the world doesn't need any more songs "but a person who has something to say, that's a different story".

People often ask me how I write songs, but the question I would like to ask you first is: What do you really have to say?

Ultimately, I really don't care about your technique or your usage of metaphor. I don't care about your ability to communicate emotion with a melody. I, and the world, don't really care about your songs unless we, at least, feel like you have something to say."

-John Mark McMillan

Listen to his music here and check out his blog on my side bar.

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