Wednesday, May 6, 2015


The Golden Age series was built on a simple premise, to attempt some command on this staple of the pop idiom that is largely and conspicuously absent from the Songs of Days: the chorus.  I took as my guide a segment of the so-called "Golden Rule" from the KLF's The Manual (look it up: it's like there's a rule on the internet that anyone can host a free copy of this late 80s artifact of British punk/pop music culture - a description I'm sure would fill someone with shaking rage - but it has to be in some sort of eye-bending, Geocities era visual presentation - so it's not hard to find):

Thirdly, [your aspiring number one hit song] must consist of an intro, a verse, a chorus, second verse, a second chorus, a breakdown section, back into a double length chorus and outro. Fourthly, lyrics. You will need some, but not many.

My interpretation of this formula was to write a hundred and one (which were meant to be a hundred but I discovered long after the fact that I accidentally wrote number 30 twice) songs of the formula verse chorus verse chorus, sometimes a lyrical bridge, chorus chorus.

The experiment was a failure, I'd say, I never felt my choruses really fit, somehow, and I certainly didn't go on to integrate the form into my ongoing writing. It bums me out, I love a good chorus. I just don't seem to have the knack, though if I say so myself I scribe a winsome line from time to time.

There's quite a bit more to the Golden Rule as dictated by the Justified Ancients of Mu Mu, all to do with the music - oh right, the music. The rub, right there.  Lotta lyrics, but I've never been too great at creating music.  Not prolific. Not very sophisticated. And I suspect while not grasping the exact mechanism that the chorus problem is totally bound up in that deficiency.  It is the chorus that binds the words and melody, binds them up with the rhythm into a single shining braid.