ALL ABOUT THE MUSIC -- the Other Half of the Songwriting Coin

ALL ABOUT THE MUSIC -- the Other Half of the Songwriting Coin

Welcome to the All About the Music thread, where you will find discussions ranging from songwriting process and musical influences to detailed posts about time signatures, chord progressions, and key changes. And anything in between.

This thread began when I was feeling more than a little lonely here on DCO, thinking I was the only music nerd out there who wanted to discuss all that technical stuff that seems so mysterious to so many fans about David's music. At which point I realized that there was, oddly enough, no thread in which to do that.

Any topic of discussion that relates to the music is welcome here, including that about other band members and their musical contributions to the recordings and/or performances, past, present, and future. Lyrical discussions are welcome as well, as long as, again, they relate to the music. (For more detailed lyrical analysis, I direct you to our sister thread, All About the Lyrics. Our other sister thread, All About the Voice, is also available for discussions about David's vocal instrument -- although cross-posting here from the latter thread is not frowned on, either.) And any question, however simple, is welcome. I don't think anyone claims to be an expert here; certainly not me -- but I think we can all learn from each other about what it is about David's music that fascinates, and entertains, and affects us all.

The various resources provided below are a compilation of the many informative links that have been provided by the denizens of this thread, as well as several informative blogs compiled by said denizens and other DCO members. If you find anything incorrect, or if credit must be given to an otherwise uncredited contribution, please post in this thread or PM me and I will make the necessary changes. Also, any further contributions to this list of resources are not only accepted but encouraged. Thank you to all who have done so already. This list could not have become nearly as comprehensive without the devoted assistance of many.

Musical Execution





David Cook Discography, Sheet Music, Lyrics, Chords, and More

    Discography and Libraries
  • David Cook Unofficial Discography by QTTaquito provides all known credits to all known songs DC has written
  • David Cook Unofficial Discography by Cowriter by QTTaquito (the companion discography to the one above)
  • TLM Discography by FoolsApril64: a list of all songs on TLM, along with all other songs and known collaborations written in advance of that album, as well as all known writing and performance credits.
  • Album Writing Credits for DCTR, including non-DC-written songs, by BethRiot
  • Pre-Idol Video Library, compiled by LadyBirdSF, contains links to videos of all DC's pre-Idol music, from Axium to Analog Heart to those unpublished songs we actually know of.
  • Axium Resource on LiveJournal, contains information on the band's history, as well as a discography and links to download various songs.





On songwriting, recording, and production

  • Youtube video some smart aleck posted about his songwriting process (by Mitch Friedman)


    David About the Music: Comprehensive musical interviews and playlists (Thanks, David! We love this! Keep it up!)
  • The Musical Interview Archive contains links to all articles containing pertinent musical information.
  • David Cook -- Musical Likes and Influences -- A comprehensive list of songs that David has mentioned in various interviews or other media, compiled by G*Marie; an excellent resource, including the additional songs appended in the comments.

And, per request, Because at the end, it really is all about the music -- an open letter -- my blog post, which I hope DC reads at some point, informing him that while we'd love to talk about the music, we'd appreciate any nuggets of information he'd consider throwing our way as he sees fit.

Comments (2305)

Another thought - I have never been one to worry if I am playing the artist's exact chords. I usually figure out chords that suit my style and voice and my interpretation. Some players want to know exactly how the artist plays it and will sit for hours with the recordings or, if they are published, with official tabs. Tablature is very hard to read, and I usually just eff-it and do my own thing.

That's the cool thing about guitar playing and rock in general. It's DYI or it's do it technical. I am reading a book now called " Zen Guitar" which , at heart, encourages players to be at one with the music in whichever way flows from them. I will post some gems from it at a later date.

So, while it sure is great to know exactly what David is doing, just as he will revamp songs for his own style, it is perfectly ok to take his songs and rework them for yourselves.

And, yes, minstrel, I can't "see" those left-handed chords. I am a lefty, but have always played guitar righty because, for my brain, I seem to "think better" through my left hand on the fret board. My right hand could never connect cognitively well enough with my brain to "know" the chords. But my right hand is a h*ll of a rhythm and fingerstyle machine. The brain is sure interesting.

BTW - isn't is also interesting that David and one of his idols - Paul McCartney ,are both lefties and play lefty? Love it.

Someone mentioned AH's my take.......


Ab(sometimes an Ab2), Eb, Fmin, Db2

Ab(sometimes an Ab2), Eb, Db2, Db2/Gb~Db2*

Fm9, Gb, Db2

*On the end of most phrases in the chorus, he jumps from the Gb in the bass back to the Db

This is the basic chord structure. Again, this is a piano translation, which is not always exact. There are some other 2nds, 6ths, etc. thrown in there, but it's hard to pick up. I will get my son to look at this to see if there are other nuances.

Did someone want Straight Ahead? I'll work on that one next. It will be later on though......full day today!

I forgot to mention, you can capo the first fret and play these (easier!) chords:
G(sometimes a G2), D, Emin, C2

G(sometimes a G2), D, C2, C2/F~C2

Em9, F, C2

I know David is not a "lead guitar" type player (I don't know the terminology), but on a 5 point scale for rhythm guitar, is he a musical genius, advanced, good, average, mediocre

He calls himself mediocre, but is he just being self depreciating?
1. He is intelligent
2. He has been playing in bands for at least 10 years
3. He is a professional musician
4. He has an ear for music (melodies, harmonies)
5. He composes complex music (voice and instruments)
6. He is dexterous, has rhythm (no physical handicap)

I'm no musician, but the way I understand the conversation is that:
1. He does not like to use a capo even though there is nothing wrong with it.
2. He probably uses alternate tunings instead. (different guitars may have different tunings)
3. If you use an alternate tuning you can play regular chord as far as fingering but they will be (for example) a half step lower (or whatever depending on the type or alternate tuning) resulting in minor/different chords produced when playing the usual chords.
4. There are many possible alternate tunings and you might use different ones for different songs.
5. Trying to match exact chords without taking into account tuning (or capo) will result in weird tabs but if you do take it into account then you can play with regular chords/tabs and get the same effect.
6. He probably does this to match his voice or the song.
The best revenge is massive success. ~Frank Sinatra

I would flove to get ACCURATE tabs to the AH stuff.

When you look at the vids of 'Truth' acoustic from that TV show dave did? it is hard to tell what he is playing for sure. He's way up the neck, for one thing, and because of the way he plays left-handed, it is very hard for me to extrapolate his chords to a right-handed context. I just can't SEE it properly, esp since the camera does not stay on his hands most of the time.

Tell ya what, though -- there is truth to that D-flat business -- because many times I've seen DC tabs online that are just... weird. And the simple use of a capo at the first or second fret completely clears up the weirdness and makes the stuff completely playable in a more 'standard' (or at least more simple) key -- C, G, A, D, E, something like that. Not this D-flat stuff, lol. (Cos in D flat? the subdominant is G flat, the dominant is A flat, this is not such standard stuff.) And also, I think he's playing drop D tuning at least some of the time, as mentioned before, and usually the online tabs do not recognize/acknowledge this.

Or, as discussed before -- dispense with the capo and just tune up a half or whole step, whatever -- you end up with the same result. (Fine if you're only playing one thing... not so fine if you only have one guitar and want to do several songs in a row, not all of which lend themselves to the alteration... thus the handy capo, lol....)

David, sweetie -- puh-leeze -- a bunch of us would really LOVE this if you could make some accurate tabs happen, along with accurate lyrics? So we can fully absorb your genius chord progressions? Tips? HInts? Letter in a bottle? Clues? Hieroglyphics? Something?

I laugh at myself while the tears roll down....

So - I think the capo question has now been cleared up. However, it leads to discussion of how a songwriter picks a key signature and melody line or chord pattern.

Guitar-based song writiers, if not formally trained in musical composition, all have their own quirky approach to the song. Sometimes you start with doodling around with chords, just improvising and playing almost at random, maybe with some mood in mind, and you see what sort of comes up. You might start with a rhythm pattern or a fingerstyle patttern or a lead pattern.

Or sometimes you start with the lyric and try diiferent chord patterns , going with instinct or an actual framework - like a blues pattern or classic rock n roll pattern.

I have found that many memorable songs can be explicitly heard just in the strummed chord pattern. So that leads me to think that maybe their writers "heard" the melody within that.

Some incredible writers use the most basic chord patterns forever but are so creative that they never repeat themselves - Neil Young comes to mind. Neil uses just a few basic chord patterns for all of his amazing oeuvre - key of G patterns, key of D, key of C. He will throw in some Am, or Dm or D7 or Dm7, or A etc, but generally, even the most novice player will be able to strum his songs. His astounding genius is in his vocal phrasing and incredibly pure lyrics and world view.

Right now I'm looking at one set of tabs for "Straight Ahead." If these are the chords David actually uses, while not extremely exotic or difficult, they must be where they are to fit his voice without the capo: Db/F#/Ab. Most writers do not immediately jump into sharp and flat chords - it's just an easier stylistic approach to write the song in Cmajor. . Maybe he wrote the song in C, but likes where his voice ranges in Db, a 1/2 step up. Transposing up to D may have been too high.

With the capo, he could've written the song in C : C / F/G/E and placed the capo on the first fret.

I'm going to guess that the original poster of the song on UltimateGuitar Archive actually sat with AH and played his guitar along to get the right chords. But the page does not say how he arrived at these chords. It will be great once we get David's officially publised sheets.

(Gee - that was fun. I have never had a place to go on about this stuff before. Cool.)

Chawan, 18:06:
I really admire Neal for the way he plays without any desire to be in the spotlight. I take it that he is confident enough in his own abilities that he just plays the music. He doesn't seek to be noticed.

Redana, 8:49 et. al.:
Andy uses a capo. Lots of people use capos. It's accepted practice. It's fine. I have marveled that David doesn't use one because I remember at least one situation where he should have used a capo but chose not to, leading me to believe that he has something against them. I don't think there are too many guitar players who have something against capos. Neal's style of playing doesn't lend itself to using a capo.

And capos can be changed very quickly. There are many different styles of capos, but most people use one particular type, the kind that Andy had on his guitar. It is a quick one hand change.

Jayelgee1: May I say that using a capo is not cheating?
I'm so sorry, I should have clarified - I certainly don't think a capo is cheating. I can just see it as something a young boy/man would think, so I went on a little flight of fantasy. My bad if I made it out to be anything other than that.

Re: Neal on Hallelujah: I was especially taken by and fascinated with how he used the tremelo bar to sustain the notes and give them that haunting and delicate sound. Very artful. Hope he eventually uses that technique with some future David song.

BTW - another thought occurred to me as to why David doesn't use a capo: For a lead singer or frontman to use the capo would mean taking the time between songs to place it on the fretboard, which sometimes can be tricky and is always time consuming.

This means that while you are doing that, you need to have some really good patter to entertain the audience - a story of some sort, or a joke etc. Since you have to concentrate on placing the thing correctly, you can't really banter back and forth.

Maybe David just doesn't want to take the time and/or be forced to have stories to tell. Acoustic solo singer/songwriters frequently use capos and always have to have schtick to fill the silence.

Another BTW, to illustrate that it is not cheating - I saw Jackson Brown on a pbs station last week and made special notice of the fact that he was using the capo alot.

I am sorry if this was posted from the other day but Neal's guitar playing on this song made me cry. Its amazing to hear him without all the other parts. This is the song he did with Nick Gibson at the flytrap in Tulsa. (messed up finger and all.)

i'm totally making this up, but David said that his dad influenced him as a guitar player (no evidence that he was taught guitar by his dad, but maybe they played together or discussed guitar at least) and it could be that his Dad might have had that perfectionist value and I can totally see that as a father-son thing. *end of fan fic*

The best revenge is massive success. ~Frank Sinatra

Wow. Make Me acoustic with Andy. Le sigh. To have been a fly on that wall. Or on the bar. Whichever. One thing that really stood out to me was that there were a few spots where Dave took the harmonies in a different direction that complemented the acoustic guitar very well. It was amazing. And I wish we could hear Andy live more. Just sayin.

When everything's the same, and nothing ever changes, will you fall back into me?

May I say that using a capo is not cheating? In all my years playing and concert going, noone ever says that using a capo is cheating. There are alot of good musical reasons to use a capo - not all chord forms sound the same when you transpose them to another key. Capos provide flexibility. AND if one is more limited in either their chord vocabulary or the size of their hands ( and therefore can't stretch to play some complicated chord formations), then we use the capo.

It's just another tool. Look - Richie Havens plays every song in his open E tuning so he can just one-finger barre the fretboard up and down and noone has ever accused him of cheating. The guitar is an amazing instrument that is adaptable to each indvidual.

A few things...

Cimorene: .. Is exactly why I love David's music. Extremely melodic and extremely rhythmic, all at the same time. It's the reason I love BBS and the same reason I love Lie, and LOTM -- his use of melody to drive the rhythm is something that I think is quite unique. DC's said he's still trying to find his sound, but I'm hoping that characteristic may be part of his sound, as it exists at the moment, and that he continues to go in that direction, musically.
Oh how I want that missing 2nd album to be released, because it must hold some clues. But if what we do have from it is any indication, then that is indeed the direction he's going. WOHWWS is extremely melodic, with multiple vocals interweaving, yet also really hard-rocking. Same about ADAM, which has those soaring guitar lines as counterpoints. And I think it's also the way this band is pushing him, judging by the way Souvenir has evolved. I think as long as he has Neal (and Andy and Kyle) in his band, then he'd be crazy not to utilize their talents for harmonizing.

Speaking of harmonies, I thought the acoustic Make Me from yesterday's after-party was really interesting. We have Andy on vocals, and David on harmonies, emphasizing that yes, he can harmonize effortlessly with the best of them. I'm seriously impressed at the way he can go from singing lead to harmonies on the very same song - that's something a lot of singers struggle with, especially if harmonizing doesn't come naturally to them. Which, I think it's safe to say by now, it does to David.

Note also that Andy has a capo fastened to his guitar - not in use, but ready for use (I have yet to see a video where he actually uses it, but maybe it'll show up). David, on the other hand, doesn't. I'm going to take a guess, based on David's perfectionism, and say that the reason he doesn't use capos is that he doesn't want to. I bet the young David at some point went 'no way, I don't have to cheat, I'm just going to learn the chords the hard way!' and then laboured with his guitar until he had it down to the point where it would feel counterintuitive now to do it any other way.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009 - 13:42
Wow. Incipit, thank you for providing the cues I had to listen for. I just watched both BBS videos (and I should point out you accidentally duplicated the Injected link for the Soundcheck video... the correct link is actually at and now will attempt to describe more accurately the difference.

Thank you, Cimorene - I never noticed that glitch in the duplicate urls - and they were staring me right in the face! I corrected that, and thank you again for the other link. I had meant to use the AOL Sessions, because Kyle's opening is different there, but since you provided it - I also added the WallMart Soundcheck. Both are an initial version of what the music was refined to, so they compare better with the live Injected version, IMO. DCTR is NOT all the Boyz playing, and that matters...once again, IMO.

I've not listened to the version of Injected's that you reference - just the live recording...which always makes me laugh, since someone is asking for "Freebird" there too. (snerk) I think when David first heard it - just as he says he does w/songs he's going to cover, he 'heard' what he could do with that song....but he says "we" tweaked it. FWIW.

I read your post, and I see what an advantage it is to have the language to explain what one is trying to say, but if my attempt made it easier for you to pick out the differences...well, then that's a good thing. Your post made it very clear - and that's a much better thing. I'll leave it to the people w/the language to explicate further.

Incipit9 - Irrationally 0sup2;
"Expect the Unexpected." tm WTF!Cook

Redana, this:
I've been pondering what the difference is, why I love Neal's guitar work, when it's everything I usually hate, and the only thing I can come up with is this: It's so bloody melodic. Those counter melodies, the almost Baroque style of using the lead guitar as counter point to the melodies, draws me in completely.

.. Is exactly why I love David's music. Extremely melodic and extremely rhythmic, all at the same time. It's the reason I love BBS and the same reason I love Lie, and LOTM -- his use of melody to drive the rhythm is something that I think is quite unique. DC's said he's still trying to find his sound, but I'm hoping that characteristic may be part of his sound, as it exists at the moment, and that he continues to go in that direction, musically.

Chawan, no idea about songwriting credit. My understanding of what Neal did was that he lay down the tracks and helped voice David's perspective on the production, but didn't actually write anything that's on DCTR except for KOTN. But again, that was just my impression based off the same information you have.

Back to song writing credit. I know if one person writes the music, and the other the lyrics, they both get writing credit. Regarding BBS we know that David changed the lyrics. We know the music is more sophisticated.

We're assuming that the melodic/instrumental changes are due to David. But I'm wondering if it was David or Neal that supplied the musical changes, and if Neal had anything to do with it why he would not get any credit or if he is not credited that it means that he did not help with those changes. Also if you take the same basic melody but improve on it before recording, does that entitle you to a song writing credit or does it only apply to the lyrics.

I think for someone with Neal's musical and song-writing (lyrics and music) ability he seems strangely taking a back seat where David is concerned. I don't want to get into the dynamics of their relationship, just wondering how much input Neal had with the record and music (we know he was Dave's man in LA when they were laying down tracks when David was not there).

The best revenge is massive success. ~Frank Sinatra

Here's the thing that strikes me when comparing Injected's and David's versions of Bar-ba-sol: I tend to hate guitar solos. I'm much more of a bass-drums-vocals kind of girl. Guitars are usually, at best, inoffensive imo. Even hearing The Police live a few years ago I got a bit bored with the guitar solos, though Andy Summer's not exactly a slouch on an axe. And yet I flove Bar-ba-sol, not in spite of, but partly because of its heavy guitar riffs. That song was what made me actually buy the record (David's, that is), because I wanted to blast it out loud on my stereo. I've been pondering what the difference is, why I love Neal's guitar work, when it's everything I usually hate, and the only thing I can come up with is this: It's so bloody melodic. Those counter melodies, the almost Baroque style of using the lead guitar as counter point to the melodies, draws me in completely. For someone who's usually all about the vocal harmonies and the bass lines, it's a bit of a surprise (albeit a pleasant one). (I'd love to know how they work out those solos, if it's a collaborate effort, if it's actually worked out the same way a vocal harmony is, or if it's more instinctual than that. My guess would be all of the above.)

That said, the Injected version doesn't really do anything for me, other than remind me of my old hatred of electrical guitars. Probably because the guitars don't really do anything to drive the melody and the breaks don't build to anything.

As for the beat, I'd say Dave's version puts way more emphasis on the 6/8 beat all the way through. And Kyle adds his usual discrete flourishes, but I lack the vocabulary to analyze it.

Oh, and David hasn't quite nailed the vocals yet on the Soundcheck version. A few bum notes here and there, particularly the first 'sailing all alone, I thought I'd made it home'. I like hearing the progression from this early version to the way he hits it out of the park these days.

Wow. Incipit, thank you for providing the cues I had to listen for. I just watched both BBS videos (and I should point out you accidentally duplicated the Injected link for the Soundcheck video... the correct link is actually at and now will attempt to describe more accurately the difference.

In a nutshell, I think what David added to the song was finesse. He took what was, in truth, an amazing song to begin with, but added a whole new dimension to it musically, and with a few critical changes to the lyrics, I agree, he made the song simultaneously more subtle and poetic. And I admit I didn't really understand why David's name came first in the songwriting credits before now, but I will now state unequivocally that he absolutely deserves that much credit for what he did with this song.

The main thing -- the thing that drives David's version -- basically comes down to this: Neal.

There is really no lead guitar part in the original version. I mean, I'm sure Injected had a lead guitarist, but not someone with close to the same abilities, or if they did, they just didn't provide him with much material. David basically wrote in a whole new harmonic line for Neal. Oddly enough for a song that's so rhythmic, there's actually not all that much rhythm guitar in David's version, unlike the original. In David's version, the drum beats drive the song, but instead of rhythm guitar, you get rhythmic melodies and countermelodies -- the best way to explain that, I think, is if you listen to Baroque music -- it's extremely rhythmic, but based on melody instead of percussion.

So there's a more melodic baseline, and it seems Andy switches between a countermelody to what Neal's playing and to actual rhythm guitar in some places, and Neal's got this whole other countermelody going on, and David comes in and out of yet another one as well. And of course there's the vocal. I think it was a very wise decision to replace the bridge with the guitar duet. The bridge added some tension by repetition, but didn't really go anywhere, not like the duet. The guitar duet just takes the music to somewhere otherworldly, building on all the melodies that run through the whole song, and actually does resolve the tension it creates more satisfactorily, at least for me. The word you used, Incipit -- "intricate" -- I think is a wonderfully accurate description. This is also kind of reflected in the introduction -- I think in the live versions of this song, Kyle has a much more intricate drum solo, and when the actual song introduction begins, it doesn't stagnate like the Injected version. The harmonies build up on top of each other pretty quickly, only a few measures at a time. Perhaps this is part of what we're discovering, that David has a very strong talent for hearing harmony? It's obviously not just something that affects the backup vocals -- it's something he's able to do with all of his instrumentation.

I still don't quite hear any other differences in the percussion, but that's probably due to my ear being more trained to listen for melodies. I'll try giving the versions another listen later -- or someone else can take a crack at it, perhaps?

ETA: OK, I just found the recorded Injected version -- and that and the BBS version on DCTR are MUCH more similar than the respective live performances. In fact, this is what I had originally been listening to when I mentioned that I didn't hear much difference between the two versions. Incipit, calling on your ear again ... or anyone else's... to puzzle this out. The harmonic line is still there in parts, there's no bridge, there is a guitar solo, but nothing quite as melodic in the Injected version as in DCTR:

"I'm tending toward the idea of that there are two voices in the song. The melodic part is one person, the angry/rock part is another person or group. There might even be three voices (one being a narrator) If that is so, I can't decide which is which."

I think David does this in several songs. Of course, I have no idea if my thoughts are correct or not, but if you try to figure out what his lyrics mean and don't assume that there is only one person, they seem much easier to figure out.

Just happened to come across an old discussion of Mr S. mostly about the meaning of the song.

ETA: Per the discussion of David's M.O. of matching lyrics and music and performance, why you think that there are two melodic sections of Mr. S? He said that he actually had the riff down for several months before the song was written and It seems that the song is written that way for a reason, but I'm not sure what the reason is. Are there any other vocal or musical nuances that help.

I'm tending toward the idea of that there are two voices in the song. The melodic part is one person, the angry/rock part is another person or group. There might even be three voices (one being a narrator) If that is so, I can't decide which is which.

The best revenge is massive success. ~Frank Sinatra

And hmmm, Incipit, given that you must have a very discerning ear to be able to pick up on those things, in light of BBS, which chawan brought up, I'm wondering if you've picked up on any differences in the musical performance of that song? I was also able to hear the lyrical changes, which were minor, but couldn't tell what, if anything, changed in the music from the original, although David did say they "tweaked it."

The first thing different from the original is the driving four on the floor drum beat that Kyle begins with, and continues to pick up off and on throughout. Injected's version starts w/ a 1 - 2 beat instead...and I DO NOT have the language to explain... Neal throws in quite a few extra notes right off the bat - the bass is very heavy, in fact all the bass, rhythm and drum lines are filled in with layers on David's version, the breaks are not just a drum beat w/ a repeated guitar line, they have Neal and David doing that distorted guitar and layers added from the rest of the Boyz....Injected's lead guitarist doesn't reach as high a note on the shredding, it's not nearly as intricate , and there's a vocal bridge that slows things down considerably, that's not on David's rewrite. Most interesting, the lyrics change may seem minor, but they also slide the meaning into subtlety, and away from the vernacular.

Here's Injected's live version -

And although modifications have certainly been made on tewer - this is from the AOL Sessions.

And the WallMart Soundcheck:

Someone who speaks the language could explain it so much better than I....I can only tell you what I hear....but there you are, FWIW.

(Edited to correct duplicate url)
Incipi9 - Irrationally 0sup2;
"Expect the Unexpected." tm WTF!Cook

Chawn: I'm also reading the book "Outliers' and was thinking the same thing when reading the part about how it takes 10 years to master something and at the time David went on Idol, he'd been playing in a band for 10 years. Don't know if he had been playing 10,000 hours but I wouldn't be surprised.

IDIYAT- He again took another 80's song that I liked in a more lighthearted way with the original and "intensified" it if you will. Along with Billie Jean, and even Shattered Dreams, these songs I enjoyed in fun, pop kind of way but David's versions are so much more intense to me. I don't know what the musical or technical term for this would be but he brings that raw emotional energy to them and translates it musically and vocally into an intensely emotional experience. I think it's his signature or sound if you will and he will be known for that. I think something David is really good at is arranging and I can see him being known for his arranging and composing at least as much as his performing as his career progresses.

Jenniesaunt, welcome! I don't believe there is an actual thread for lyrics. I do believe they get discussed on the fly in various threads that are either dedicated to the songs themselves or on threads dedicated to more general discussion topics. The last song thread I saw lately was one for IDIFY; before that was the Anodyne thread (last updated as of my post 5 days & 9 hours ago), which contained lyrics to the song and links to all performances. There was some discussion about the song itself but also a mention of specific thread for that in the OT forums.

If you do choose to start your own thread, more power to you! I'm very excited about how this one seems to be going, and I obviously won't consider discussions about the lyrics to a song as OT, but I would like to try to keep the focus of any discussion about them mainly to how they relate to the music or to performances. A lyrics thread, if you'd like to try setting that up, has the potential to be a nice complement to this thread.

And chawan, as for purposeful lyrical changes -- well, IMO the best way to tell if it's purposeful or not is wait it out until we have future performances to compare it with. I've noticed that when DC makes mistakes with a song, whether musically or lyrically, sometimes it takes a few performances to work it out and perfect what he's doing; so I think that by the time we're in mid-summer, we should have some "canon" performances.

And hmmm, Incipit, given that you must have a very discerning ear to be able to pick up on those things, in light of BBS, which chawan brought up, I'm wondering if you've picked up on any differences in the musical performance of that song? I was also able to hear the lyrical changes, which were minor, but couldn't tell what, if anything, changed in the music from the original, although David did say they "tweaked it."

ETA: Corrected because the IDIFY thread is currently up and easily found as well.

minstrel at 16:33 : I don't think we will lose the contemplative, acoustic David. What we are watching is David evolving, experimenting, shaking out his band, developing his identity, expanding his repertoire.

AI boosted him forward while also making him a kind of novice on the big time with a spanking new band (despite his two old buds). As he tries new songs - playing covers to expand his set and to try out alternate styles - he is, I am sure, exploring his own musical journey.

I think you will find that most rock composers do have their "softer" songs. I am waiting for the day David actually writes " I love you" in a lyric. I have not heard that yet, and it will be a momentus emotional happening when he pens that.

I wholly agree about the Oxford Permanent. Thanks for the link again. I favorited it. That is a performance by an artist in "flow." He was totally absorbed in the moment of that song. He probably will never be able to sing it like that again. I imagine that when he does sing that song in concert again, as opposed to the control of the AI perfomance, the audience will see and here something astounding. And I do like the crash of the band coming in at the break the way they play it now. It provides release and crescendo at the same time.

incipit, I really like your analysis. I wish I had your ability to "hear" songs that way. Now I have to listen to another song AGAIN! Where will it ever end? (Thanks everyone with your detailed musical analysis)

ETA: Those changes are reminiscent of the changes in BBS. This taken from faulty memory banks but weren't the original lyrics something like "I've been spun again" and "I wish it were a dream" to "I've been sold and spun again" and "I know it's not a dream". (corrections welcome).

Now, which changes are deliberate, and which are made up on the fly? (he has trouble with lyrics sometimes but covers very well).
The best revenge is massive success. ~Frank Sinatra

Quick, before the topic changes -

Reading in this thread - and something occurred to me about DIYA....or le Petit Mort, or what ever people decide to call it.

Back story. All my music is by ear (why I can pick out the song from the shrieking bubbles on a cellcast, and name it) so, you sing it, or play it - I can replicate, harmonize, or riff off of it.

If you sing it again, differently, I hear it. So I 'hear' what David sings, and what he changes, whether I can technically 'name it' or not. Some changes are small, some appear to have intent....experimental or reflective of a one-time mood. (Walmartian ToML "face to the sunnnnnnn.")

While I have often said that David "inhabits" the of his strongest points that illustrate that for me is the nuance in the phrasing. I can give examples - MoTN "The music that...I write") (Studio BJ "His eyes 'were' like mine.")

With DIYA, as he did with "Hello" and ABMB, I think David made the music and delivery match the lyrics. They didn't, before.

So, I'm listening to DIYA delivered with such passion, compared to the original, and hearing where he puts the emphasis and noticing the missing bridge, that allows for the singalong, and the repetition of a word change.

And this is the highlight of what I hear.

"Who would have thought that a boy like me could come to this?" With gestures.

"I try to be discreet, but then I blow it again"

'cos I've been thrilled to fantasy one too many times - takes the last phrase up to emphasize it.

The actual lyric is 'I should've walked away', which David does sing in the first chorus and then changes to "I couldn't walk away" on the repetition and for the rest of the song, with one exception....which makes the whole story more immediate.

He does it again after the audience sing along, sings 'should've', then changes to 'couldn't' on the repeat.

And then "I couldn't walk away" is practically wailed several times, till it becomes the leit motif - not the IDYA part. IMO. of course.

And the irony...those emphasized phrases mirror what some 'obvested' fans have been driving themselves nuts trying to figure out.

How did they come to this?, they've tried to be discreet, is it a fantasy?, still, they couldn't walk away. Do I think it's conscious? No...I just think it's a universal echo.

Which is why I disagree when people knock this song - it has more to say than they give it credit for, and not just about le Petit Mort...which fans can project as well. And now, the music matches the anger and confusion of the words, and it Rawks!

So there ya go - have fun w/that. Or not.

Incipit9 - Irrationally 0sup2;
"Expect the Unexpected." tm WTF!Cook

Didn't Skibby play the keyboard for TWIK in Del Mar?

ETA: That's what I get for replying before I even watch the video! Oops! I just saw the video and Andy had his guitar.

I'm really enjoying this thread. I just started taking piano lessons after mumblymum years and took a music class last semester which half of it went over my head! But I'm really enjoying this discussion anyway. Also have a question. Is there a thread on this board about David's lyrics? I was trying to find it but have been unable too. Thanks in advance!

Monday, June 22, 2009 - 18:30
Music Q: Is Andy playing keyboard on any songs live these days? I feel like every video I've seen, he's playing guitar. Thx.

Light On. I must admit I haven't watched any LO videos lately, but as far as I know, he still plays keyboard on that song. Mostly in the beginning and right after the bridge.

Minstrel, I guess it really is that simple. Delay the vocal, add to the instrumentation's echo of it by adding the drums & guitar, and go up a third on the repetition of the refrain, and bang -- there go the chills down my back.

And as for the Oxford performance -- I remember that, as I saved it to my favorites after I saw it. I remember it was the first version I had heard that was technically perfect -- before that, it seemed like something went wrong every time he sang the song, either by flubbing the lyrics, or starting sharp. This was the first time I wasn't distracted by mistakes, and on top of that, it was raw, and emotional -- all the things you've said -- and the drop to his knees was a cap to a perfect performance.

But I like the AI version, in spite of its control. Because by then, even though it wasn't nearly as raw, he'd done things to the music that he hadn't done before -- just little tweaks, but I thought they made a big difference -- notes added here and there to extend the melody and so forth. So maybe I have two favorites now, for different reasons.

(And if he ever combined the two -- performed Permanent again one day, with as much emotion as Oxford -- which I think could happen -- and with the tweaks he's made since then -- THAT will be indescribable. And I have an intuition that it could happen, perhaps when the song returns to the setlists. But we shall see.)

And chawan, I think the sickness happening with all your favorite performances may just be a coincidence, or maybe it just does something to his voice that makes it more appealing to you? LOTM acoustic is one of my faves, especially because it's my favorite song on DCTR, but much of that is my fascination with the instrumentation, and the Baroque feel that really comes across in the song in the acoustic version, even more than the recorded one. (And Baroque is my favorite classical period, so that's obviously part of it, too.)

ETA: Norman, LOL. It seems that many of the folks here are also vets of the PB thread, myself included, so I think a number of us will always have a tendency to get philosophical. But no bean recipe posts will be tolerated unless they are set to music, how's that? And I think you're right -- we'll always get back to the music eventually (hey, didn't I just do that now? Sort of?)

And I did read someone nicknaming the song La Petite Mort for other obvious reasons -- unfortunately, can't remember whom to credit. So there's that possibility as well. Yo Arms just doesn't sit well with me, as it's not quite the same as Yo Face, kwim? And I've been abbreviating it DIYA, which I think is succinct enough without turning into an unfortunate acronym.

ETAA: And I don't really have a good answer to the Skib/keyboard question, beyond, well, Permanent on AI. Maybe LOTM? Isn't there a keyboard line there? As usual, speaking from possibly faulty memory. Any other takers?

Music Q: Is Andy playing keyboard on any songs live these days? I feel like every video I've seen, he's playing guitar. Thx.

Not music Q: Can we adopt SybilT's abbreviation of "Yo' Arms" for the Cutting Crew cover? On the DWoP thread, hoaloha pointed out that "IDIYAT" is not the best possible acronym (because, say it). So, just thinkin'.

Thanks, kids. Still love you, music geeks, even when you get all philosophical about Cook's motivation instead of his vocal range or guitar skillz or whatever. No complaints - you can't talk about "the music" without going there, which was my point with the "architecture" quote. So... Skib, keyboard? Thx.

Drive-by post: (1) Folks were asking about CJT. In my signature, I have a link to the CJT Glossary, which contains a link to how CJT got its nickname, as well as a lot of explanations of the shorthand that you see on CJT (and some other places on DCO). (2) Re: Walmartian Magic Rainbow: There is a link to the Rainbow appreciation thread in my signature as well, which includes a link to a youtube of the Walmartian Magic Rainbow.

CJT Glossary.

Magic Rainbow thread.

well, chawan, that could be true. you know, he does the audience the favor of believing they'll catch him, if he puts himself out there in the palm of our hands, like that.

people respond to that. even if it's not musically perfect. especially if it's not musically perfect. because we've felt grief, we've felt exhaustion, we've felt elation, we've felt desire, angst, joy, longing, determination -- all this. and a great artist puts you right in the middle of that sensation. (there's some argument among 'schools' of acting whether it is necessary for the artist to FEEL the emotion, as long as the artist gets the audience to feel it -- there's a group that's all about 'technique' and a group that's ya-gotta-feel-it-yourself 'method' -- but I don't think D's thinking about it that hard. other than choosing to let us get close, or not, on any given occasion. looked at clinically, DeTewer part 1 is almost textbook for this -- because of what the guy was dealing with IRL -- there were shows that were so emotionally 'out there' and shows that were 'got my armor on now' -- I don't think there could have been any other way for him to get through all those weeks.)

re Permanent, cimorene -- very hard for me at this point to divorce it from the backstory and the lyrics. I don't think I can. Other than, I like the rock arrangement better, because the entrance of the percussion and lead guitar really provides a big emotional PUNCH that reinforces what the vocalist is doing... it is a reiteration, instrumentally, of the building emotion... as if the emotion can no longer be contained in words. And AI was lovely but the best performance ever of this, live, for my money, is this one, from Oxford in February. (in fact, it was not so long after this that D just stopped doing it in shows -- for reasons that are now obvious.)

What differentiates this from the AI version, IMO, is that the AI version is much more controlled -- and this is deliberate. D said himself that this was his intent -- because if you are recording a single for charity you have to finish it, you can't just be a puddle. You want it to sound good. Whereas, this Oxford thing? That's as naked in church as I ever want to see that guy. I can barely watch it. It goes to a pretty scary place. You watch that, and depending on your inclinations, you wanna hug somebody, or pray pretty hard, or go off and cry a bit, or all of the above....

I laugh at myself while the tears roll down....

I'll have to go review the Walmart Magic Rainbow now.

It's weird, but I think many of his best performances have been when he was sick. I wonder how many times on Idol he was actually performing while ill (stressed out or whatever) and that added the extra poignancy and emotional impact to the performance.

I also love the acoustic and contemplative Dave. But he does love rock, and maybe he can do both effectively. I think one of his problems (besides the whole AI cred thing) is that he showed so many sides on Idol that his fans come from all angles and the record is kinda half way between rock and melodic. I am talking off the top of my head , but I keep hearing people say the record is too screamy, or too bland or too much the same or too rock or too pop. It's almost a case of trying to please everyone and pleasing nobody (except hard core fan, j/k).

It will be very interesting to see how the next album turns out.

ETA: He strikes me as a very audience driven performer. It could be he just wants to know what people think.

He needs to have at least two more records. One acoustic, and one with the band.

In a way, I think he should just ignore what people think and go for digging deeper into his soul and doing what he feels artistically. Feed off the band interaction. I think people will respond to that rather than to have him go more pop because that is popular on the radio or more rock because it gets the audience involved in concerts.

BTW I posted another video in my blog that I just came across that I loved. Click on my name if you're interested. It has nothing to do with this topic (well, it is about music).

The best revenge is massive success. ~Frank Sinatra

I think that's just it. He does want us to talk about it -- otherwise, why the subtle signals that suddenly just clicked in my head and made me start this thread, kwim? But I don't know what he's thinking, obviously, about whether he'd prefer to keep silent on his own side of things. He may not want to, or he may think, since it's taken so long for everyone to start talking about it so openly, that we just weren't interested in hearing it. But at this point I do believe, given the letter I wrote (/end self-pimpage), that short of point-blank telling him to his face that we want to hear his perspective, that we cannot make it clearer that this is the case. So all we can do is keep our ears open for any crumbs that fall our way.

As for Mr. S. -- yes, definitely YMMV. In fact, the original post was actually in response to a lot of people who did love the song, for precisely the reasons I didn't; and there were a couple of other people who felt the same way as I do, but we were in the minority, so I was trying to put words to the feeling I was getting.

I don't think we'll lose contemplative Dave, as he does seem to pop up every so often. Even non-acoustic Lie taps into that vibe. But you're right, in that it is a heavy, emotional feeling to carry to perform that way, and he's not aiming for the audience to leave his concerts emotionally exhausted -- emotionally high, sure, but not exhausted -- and I suspect that could be a potential side-effect of an all-ballad, all-the-time string of performances.

Interestingly, I think Permanent manages to grab the emotions in the same way, or even more so, in the live version rather than the sparser recorded version. I've been thinking about the live version of that song, and how the change in instrumentation packed such a punch when I first heard it from the Jingle Ball videos (and it still does, with the AI charity version being the best performance yet). I don't know exactly what it is -- maybe just that the power chords really do it for me -- but that song is a masterpiece, both lyrically and musically, and I'm not sure if I can put my finger on what it is, musically, that gets me so much. Anyone care to dissect it with me and see if we can figure it out? I mean, there's the soaring chorus, the countermelodies, the lack of a resolving final chord -- this much I can pick out or others have mentioned earlier on in the thread. But what else about it makes it so different than nearly anything else we've heard from him? I refuse to believe that it's all about the lyrics. That song would not have hit me in the gut exactly the same way a second time upon hearing the live version otherwise. There is something about the performance that is just above and beyond anything I've heard. Any takers?

Walmart Magic Rainbow is ... magic, agreed. He's tasting that moment for all that it's worth, making me believe completely in that song. Even though he started singing in the wrong key. Which both cracks me up, and makes me admire him even more because hey, he just corrected his mistake and kept on singing as if he'd meant to do that all along. Respect.

(Dear Spam filter. What exactly makes you think this might be spam??? There are no links, no nothing, other than a paragraph praising David's musicianship. I know I'm preaching to the choir, but still. It's not exactly spam, is it?)

well, he wants to talk about it. and he doesn't want to talk about it.

or he wants US to talk about it. but he doesn't want to tell all he knows. maybe it seems too much like "dancing about architecture." maybe he just likes keeping some secrets. (wants to know what we think; ain't necc gonna tell us what HE thinks.)

but, whatever -- "these words are my diary screaming out loud, and I know that you'll use them however you want to." Anna Nalick "Breathe" -- that's about right, I guess. You bring your own "stuff" to it and you take your own stuff away, and maybe sometimes that is in harmony with the artist's own intention, and maybe sometimes not.

this is why we'll never run out of fodder, I suppose.

as for 'yo arms' being a throwback, or one-dimensional, or not emotionally honest? I think it's honest, as far as it goes, from the two performances I've seen. Axium-style honest, which is.... good honest angry. But not exactly... subtle. You're not gonna get TWIK transcendence from that material; it is what it is. And anything that gives neal an opportunity to stretch out like that is a pretty good thing, in my book. Cause I love that.

But I also love the contemplative, acoustic Dave, and I hope that guy does not get lost in the quest for rockstar glory and anthemic experiences and grit. What he can do with TWIK or LOAP or acoustic Lie is amazing stuff. To do that with every song would be exhausting, but I'd hate to see it get totally subsumed. (One of my favorite performances of D's EVER is the Walmartian 'magic rainbow' -- which is downtempo and poignant and freakin' amazing. Even if it was only slow, to begin with, because he'd just learned the chords. I have a similar reaction to the Sirius LOTM, also acoustic -- recorded when D was actually SICK by all reports -- much heavier use of the falsetto than in the DCTR version or other live performances I've seen, and just crazy wonderful, just the perfect vibe for that material on that day.....)


I laugh at myself while the tears roll down....

What I like about Mr S is this part (mostly lyrics wise)

just feel anger, feel pain
feel the sun and the rain
just feel something
oh, feel something

I suppose musically and lyrical sophistication wise, maybe it's nothing special. But that is the part that sticks in my brain. He could be talking to Simon. Simon is very analytical. Take his reaction to TWIK. He couldn't feel what everybody else in the audience felt. He's saying look around, don't take everything with cynical and analytical eyes.

I agree that alternating melodic and screaming sections is jarring.

I think we've come to expect emotional honesty from David, and maybe reading too much into his choices. I am not saying people shouldn't have their opinions...I find it all very informative and facinating. Maybe he chose DIYAT just for a song that is familiar enough to an audience and is up-tempo and adds excitement to the set.

Also, while in his own writing, he says he is more emotionally honest now, when he explains songs I get the feeling he is not telling the whole story. It's like I think he tries to trivialize his process when interviewed. If we were to ask him why these covers were chosen, he would probably say something like "I thought it would be cool to sing these songs" or something non-informative like that. Does he really mean that or is he covering up. Not necessarily a deep dark secret, but just does not want to go into something that might be boring or personal...but we don't know.

Like that interview where he talked about BBS. I think he just says it was a fun song, and I believe that, but he changed the lyrics. Why did he do that? For a musical purpose or message? Just to get a song-writing credit? It's like I want more in depth answers.

Plus his penchant for joke answers to questions he does not want to answer....sometimes he comes across as evasive to me. (I do admire his diplomacy, but it can be frustrating sometimes). Perhaps he just does not like talking about himself. I guess it comes down to the same plea. David, please talk about your music.

BTW I think what he said about Mr S is that it was based on James and the Giant Peach, and that is such a WTF answer, you know.

Sorry for the ranting.

ETA: Maybe it is better to leave the interpretation up to the audience and let them take what they can from it. I don't know.

The best revenge is massive success. ~Frank Sinatra

Funny how different our taste can be, even though we're all here because we like David's music.

So what is a good song? For me, personally, I pretty much have no opinion on Man in the Box or Hunger Strike. Yeah, they're groovy, and the band plays them well, but that's it. I have no prior history with them as I don't think I'd heard them before the youtubes of David singing them, so to me they're just 'songs', and not necessarily good ones at that. I'd take any of David's or Neal's songs any day over those two covers. Shattered Dreams and IJDIYAT (that's an awkward acronym), on the other hand, are both songs that are part of my musical history in one way or another, and I like the way David and band play them. Are they good songs? Well, I've always loved Shattered Dreams, despite my stated hatred of 80s pop, so you won't catch me thinking it's a bad song. It has a good hook, and it's very poetic.

I think what I'm trying to say is that whether or not these covers are 'good songs' may depend heavily on what relationship you already have with them. Of course other factors matter, but when it comes to the sheer wtf!ness of David covering them the way he does, then that's what matters most, imo.

And cimorene, it's funny about Mr. S, because the exact thing you point to as causing the disconnect, the time signature and the way all the rhytms work almost against it? That's what first drew me in, and it's what I love most about it. Definitely a case of YMMV.

Oh, boy - Mr. S. I too cannot "get" with this song, but my reasons may be a bit different and due to negative associations with some other music ( way back on another thread, I think, I was disagreed with, but here goes):

If any one here remembers Jethro Tull, you will remember the album "Aqualung." We're talking around 1973 here. This album was about a homeless, broken and dispirited, possibly mentally ill, character, and the songs were musically fantastic but lyrically twisted and dark. My then boyfriend, guitarist and to be first husband adored this album. To me the lead song, "Aqualung" was so dark and twisted and repulsive and hopeless that I could not stand it.

Somehow I associate A/L with Mr. S. I feel despair in Mr. S. It makes me feel like I'm chewing glass. And I don't understand it at all. Maybe if I understood the song, I could deal. I feel much the same about the music as cimorene.

OK, never mind the blog post -- what I wrote is not all that long (relative to my other long-winded blogs...).

Anyway, reposted from the Music & Lyrics forum in WNH, on the Mr. S. thread:

The best way to sum up my issues with this song is "disconnect" -- because I feel there's a lot of it there. Some of it stems from not being able to relate more personally to the subject matter, but I also keep getting this disconnect from the music itself, and from the way the music and the lyrics just don't quite fit together for me.

It starts off with this melody that's simple, and almost sweet -- it has an edge, and a darker feel, but it mirrors the fairy-tale aspect (that I do love, BTW) I see in the lyrics of the first verse, and this actually does work for me, a lot. But then once you get to the chorus something happens -- it's like a whole different song, and it's angry, and no longer quite as melodic. It's almost like it's being shouted, and I get that that's part of the emotion of the song, but it's very jarring. Like the fairy-tale has been shattered. And when he goes back into the 2nd verse, it just feels like -- what are you doing? You can't go back to that, musically -- you just destroyed that vibe. What makes you think it'll work again?

On top of that (yeah, I guess I really am into time-signatures) it plays to that 6/8 waltz-like beat, which also adds to the, I guess, nostalgic feel to the song, like it's a story being told of something that happened a long time ago, but the melody veers almost off the rhythm on the chorus so that it feels even more disjointed to me. And yes, David's still keeping time perfectly on the song, and in this chorus it's particularly hard to do, but it's just.... it doesn't fit, for me. It's too unpredictable, I guess. Sort of like how atonal music doesn't do it for a lot of people -- not that this is atonal, but David's music generally tends to be so perfectly melodic (compare Lie, for example) that this song, which isn't, stands out a little harshly.

And what goes for the chorus, goes for the bridge ten-fold. Although it leads into a fabulous guitar solo. But I just can't fit that solo together with, say, the instumental intro -- it just doesn't work for me that they're both part of the same song. So that's part of what I mean by a disconnect. And along the lines of the rhythm -- if you thought the chorus doesn't perfectly mesh with the beat, the bridge is COMPLETELY out there. And yes, it's still perfectly in time -- and seriously, as far as performing it, this song is REALLY HARD to do right. You've got to be perfectly on time with everything. But because of all these rhythmic shenanigans, it loses some of the more traditional appeal that songs usually have.

So that's the feeling I get when I listen to it. That said, the lyrics are lovely. I'm a sucker for stories, and metaphor, and this song has it in spades. But when you put it together with the music, something just doesn't fit. And the music itself is a little disjointed for me.

At least that's my perspective. I don't know if other people feel the same way, or if I've put into words what other people couldn't as far as their impressions. But I hope that helps explain some of the antipathy to this song.

Cynic, I see what you are saying -- and honestly, the first time I heard DIYA, I think I also was struck by just how... shouty it was. But I think that may be (a) due to the sound in the video, partially, at least, and (b) also tempered by the fact that this is their very first live performance of that song. We've seen how the band plays with songs, and changes them, and improves them over time. And as you all may have inferred by the end of my blog, I'm starting to get over any personal issues I have with the cover as it is and appreciate what David's done with it, so I have faith that I may actually end up loving the song by the time the tour is done. As for Dreams, well, like Little Lies, I like that he's punched up the song, and it's an enjoyable cover, especially if you're actually at the show, but I also don't see that song as something that can go any further than what it is. Fun, but not substantive.

And lovethemusic, now I have the impetus to drag out what I once wrote in the M&L forum on WNH regarding Mr. S. It's basically an exploration of the disconnect I also feel with that song. I'll hopefully be able to stick it into a blog here by the end of the day, or tomorrow, and will post when I do.

Cimorene, I get what you are saying. My opinion too is likely to be a very unpopular one but here goes.

It is not even the bitterness of David's version that discomfits me, it is the lack of subtlety, lack of nuances. All I remember of the Died In Your Arms are the catchy chorus, the jackhammer drumming and the guitar solo. David shouts the words to the verse, maybe it is the "rock" way but I don't hear them or feel them. After 4 listens, the song is reduced to a great dancehouse beat. What bugs me is that it is the limit of the song. It will not be greater than this, this is the sum maximum of what it can be. Same with Shattered Dreams- outside of some addtional embellishments, there is nothing much you can do to improve this song. They are just not good songs.They are fun, so that is that. They get people up and dancing and Neal gets to dazzle. I fervently hope however, they remain an exclusive live concert staple.

Contrast that to covers like TWIK, My Hero, Hello, Billie Jean, Hunger Strike, MITB- these songs can be acoustic, can be full out rock and the arrangement makes you listen to every word and think about the lyrics. Firstly because lyrically these songs are richer, yes even Hello. Secondly because David does not shout them, he sings them, he gets into the words, he lives them. From soft to hard, from crooning to wailing, he uses his biggest strength - his emotive ability to elevate the words of these songs. Melodically too, in my opinion there is no contest between these group of songs and his most recent cover choices.

Re 'yo arms' -- ah, it's just delish angst, it's mr. axium "middle fingers in the air" reincarnated. Love song, that ain't. Which just goes to show what interp will do. (Not to mention -- Neal. Just sayin.)
Something that continues to delight me re our man Cook is -- he surprises you. IDIYAT was a big surprise, both the choice of material and the choice of interpretation.

One of the cuts I really love on DCTR is "Avalanche," which has a couple lovely little nuggets of musical surprise. I mean, fundamentally it's this nice rock-pop copulation song, all quite polished and lovely. What saves it from being a competent me-too HAC radio sort of thing, for me, are a couple twists, to wit:

1) the alteration of the melody on the word "the same" in "the same mistakes," from the third of the chord (which occurs in the first verse) to the fifth of the chord (in the second verse) -- really kicks the intensity up a notch, makes you say, "oh, THAT was cool."

2) the unexpected use of the falsetto on the "can't" of the third repeat of the chorus, at 3:00. Just naked and vulnerable and beautiful. solar plexus hit. gets me every danged time. and he is smart enough not to do it twice.

ya can't teach that in school, peeps....

I laugh at myself while the tears roll down....

Thanks eta for putting words to my feelings about Died in Your Arms. Now, is there a musical reason why I find this song so appealing but I can't feel the love for Mr. Sensitive? The only time I really liked Mr. S was when he did it in Manila and really rocked out on it. It grates on me from the opening notes and I have to give up on it. There is a huge disconnect to me in this song. How is this song alike or different from the others on DCTR?

Thanks for the information about counterpoint-I seem to love these songs.

"I try really hard not to put people into boxes" David Cook

Cool. Good catch. Sounded to me like it wasn't even "voice saving" so much as "just can't hit the note right now 'cuz I'm exhausted and dehydrated; next year, I wear booty shorts and a CamelBak."

This actually makes complete sense to me. And I was fascinated, because even if he was making it up as he went, I don't think anyone who has seen fewer than four vids of that song would even notice.

Also, thanks to jayelgee and Taylor_Sue for explaining capos, inlays, and frets. I had picked up some of that by osmosis, but it was very, very helpful to have it all laid out so neatly.

As for IJDIYAT, I still have to watch a vid with good enough audio to appreciate it and I have to myspace the original so I can understand more of David's choices and influences. Until that time, other than just loving hearing him sing such sexy words " I just died in your arms last night," I don't have a sensible reaction or opinion yet.

Sunday, June 21, 2009 - 17:25 Incipit9:(RW&B) ADAM - listen @ 3:04 - David is singing the harmony line and leaving the melody to the audience... there is question if it's a voice saving move at the end of the night...

Cool. Good catch. Sounded to me like it wasn't even "voice saving" so much as "just can't hit the note right now 'cuz I'm exhausted and dehydrated; next year, I wear booty shorts and a CamelBak." I do think he just made up that harmony line as he went along; usually, you'll hear Andy singing the harmony on that part, and it sounds more like the melody line; it's lower, but there's a similar drop in pitch through the "we'll all sing along" line, instead of that rising note Cook put at the end (trying to get back to the melody line, I guess). [Fair warning: that link is to john_socal's video from San Diego that includes the Cook/Skib hair tousle at the end, so before you click, make sure you have extra time to watch those last ten seconds over, and over, and...]

I Just Died in Your Arms? Yeah, what you all said. Was it Steve Martin who said "Talking about music is like dancing about architecture"? There's just no words for my reaction to the two performances of that song so far. Or, if there are words, they're not for this thread.

ETA: Why does the spam filter have such crappy penmanship?

You guys are so cool. Love the blogs. Both of them. They both bring a frame to each song that I hadn't really seen them through, and I love that too.

To me, Permanent is about celebrating the connection between people that can't be broken by the separation of space or time. It's the ultimate love song lullaby. It's about the thread that runs between your heart and mine, between this life and the next, unbroken.

When life is viewed through this frame, it makes caring for people in hospitals a joy, and a privilege, because it becomes an opportunity to connect. To strengthen each other, and to be part of something with permanence in a world where too much seems temporary.

As for IJDIYAT - It's still beyond analysis for me. Listened to the new one from last night, and it just wrenches something primal out of me.

And the Freebird tease? Very funny.

(but seriously, I wouldn't mind hearing Neal take a crack at that Freebird solo. And I'm bettin' he's got the hands to do it well. If you've never heard it, here's a clip of Allen Collin's version. Classic Skynyrd. )

I think that we have to separate the singer from the song. I don't thing everything he sings is biographical especially the covers. He has sung other bitter songs such as Billy Jean and Anodyne and I'm sure there are more examples than I can pull off the top of my head. And the song is open to interpretation. To me he sounds more angry at himself for letting himself be seduced when he should have known better.

That said, I think everybody has a right to like or dislike a song for whatever reason. I can't listen to Permanent, even if I know it is a good song. If you want to know, in the spirit of things I'm putting it in my blog.

The best revenge is massive success. ~Frank Sinatra

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