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March 9th, 2006


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02:05 pm - So Much For the Afterglow or How to Rip-Off Phil Collins Without Really Trying
I had a musical idea a couple of weeks ago which I really liked, but I was at work at the time so I just got the basics into my computer, vowing to fill it out later: MP3, 137K

Once I got home I started embelishing it a little more, got a couple of ideas for a melody down, etc., but I completely screwed it up by ripping my copy of Wind and Wuthering by Genesis onto my hard drive. See, my favorite song on Wind and Wuthering is Afterglow. Here's a short sample of it: MP3, 92K

If you've downloaded the MP3s, you can probably see where this is going. It had been months (at least) since I'd last listened to Afterglow, but after I ripped it I listened to it and realized that the piece I was working on had a faster version of almost the same chord progression in a different key. In fact, if I replace the guitar part in mine with the one from Afterglow, they become ridiculously similar: MP3, 99K

To some people the idea of stealing material from Genesis might a punchline, but I'm sure a stroll through their body of work would yield at least one really good compilation album which you'd actually like (here's where I would link a midi of The Brazilian if there were any that didn't suck). There's no not much shame in liking Genesis for their better moments.

Anyway, I've been trying on and off for two weeks to work on this piece, but I'm giving up. All I hear when I listen to it is Afterglow, and I think the association is strong enough that I'll never be able to divorce the two.

Incidentally, you may notice that I'm listening to Chicago -- yes, Chicago. Turn not up thy nose. People tend to forget that before Chicago became a suckfest power ballads, they actually produced a few good albums of experimental jazz-rock.
Current Mood: disappointeddisappointed
Current Music: Chicago II

(13 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:r3507
Date:March 9th, 2006 08:18 pm (UTC)
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"People tend to forget that before Chicago became a suckfest power ballads, they actually produced a few good albums of experimental jazz-rock."

And a chronicle of the most annoying stranger ever: "Does Anyone Really Know What Time It Is?"
[User Picture]
From:sacredspud
Date:March 9th, 2006 08:39 pm (UTC)
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Kyle, I'm going to ask you to step back and imagine a world bereft of that song. That is, exactly the same but minus one Chicago song and one long-forgotten Priceline commercial where William Shatner performs a spoken-word version of it.
[User Picture]
From:r3507
Date:March 9th, 2006 11:00 pm (UTC)
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Eh, it's place as the most inexplicable exchange between strangers in pop music was trumped by the final verse of "All Star" over five years ago.
From:mouthdrummer
Date:March 9th, 2006 08:27 pm (UTC)
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Dude, why aren't you writing songs for US?
Seriously, if you have some nice, thick harmonized backgrounds, I can come up with lyrics for them.

[User Picture]
From:sacredspud
Date:March 9th, 2006 08:41 pm (UTC)
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Honestly, it's because I don't think my music is well-suited to lyrics, though maybe I'm just a poor lyricist. I'll think about it, though.
[User Picture]
From:seanorange
Date:March 9th, 2006 08:48 pm (UTC)
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I always thought of Chicago as very horny. That is to say, they liked to polish their brass.

...

At a reunion my dad threw for his Stormy Monday buddies (and other various musical friends), he was playing some Chicago CD he'd just gotten, and one of the horn players admitted to "getting a chubby" from that loud, loud brass.

And, yes, that midi file was awful. Sorry about your song. :\ If it's any consolation, you've made me want to pick up that new-ish Genesis compilation after I get off work here.

~Sean
[User Picture]
From:sacredspud
Date:March 10th, 2006 06:13 am (UTC)
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Meh. I'm not too torn up about the song, but um, I'm glad I've inspired you to give some of your money to Genesis?

As for Chicago... They get a lot of flak for their later work, which is too bad because their early stuff was so strong. Never heard the "horny" joke. I'm trying to convince myself that it's not funny, but I'm losing. Did I know your pappy was (formerly) in a band? I'm not sure I did.
[User Picture]
From:seanorange
Date:March 10th, 2006 06:46 am (UTC)
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That was his thing. He played organ/piano before he hit double digits in age. His dad owned a music store almost until he died. After a stint at North Texas U, my dad decided to pursue music, came to Wisconsin, met my Mom in Beloit at a time when she was sick of dating asshole musicians, yadda yadda yadda, he's a DBA for a fledging Chicago Internet company.

I guess he mostly played covers. He claims he was no good at songwriting. One year (1988, I believe) he recorded a wonderful tape for us for Christmas. I have it somewhere. I wonder if he has a master copy around anywhere.

~Sean
[User Picture]
From:the_tick27
Date:March 10th, 2006 07:56 am (UTC)

you cant see me touch you becase its invisable

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i really liked The Brazilian, i used it in a video montoge long time ago. i also oune DUKE by Genesis on LP. but im one to talk right now Im listing to SYSTEM OF A DOWN... colin find U-FIG on HYPNOTIZE i think you might like that one, it sound like a zappa influince just slitely, but thats about it ther not that good
[User Picture]
From:sacredspud
Date:March 11th, 2006 07:16 pm (UTC)

Re: you cant see me touch you becase its invisable

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You know, I don't care for System of a Down, but I checked out that song and I really like it. Apparently System of a Down has actual talent. Who knew?

Anyway, The Brazilian: I fell in love with that song when you showed me your video montage way back in the day. Genesis doesn't have many brilliant songs, but there are a few, and they're really brilliant.
[User Picture]
From:seanorange
Date:March 14th, 2006 03:51 pm (UTC)
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*gibbers*

So I got my copies of Mary's reunion CDs for 2004, and the second song on disc 1 is by "Harry and the Potters" (ask me some time how I feel about the whole concept behind THAT), and it has a strikingly similar chord progression -- which is admittedly wonderfully refreshing and atypical of most contemporary music.

I think all you Phil Collins fans should come out of the closet and just do the best Afterglow cover EVER. :p

~Sean
[User Picture]
From:sacredspud
Date:March 14th, 2006 04:26 pm (UTC)

But... But I'm not a Phil Collins fan!

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I've been toying with covering Afterglow as a way to getting over my failure with that piece of music. We'll see. So what is your opinion of Harry and the Potters (and similar bands) like my opinion of fanfic? I've always felt it to be an incredible waste of time because 90% of fanfic writers are astoundingly mediocre. The other 10% are reasonably good to brilliant and are wasting their talent on fanfic! On the other hand, I can't bash fanfic too much because I happen to like parody (which often resembles fanfic), and H.P. Lovecraft (one of my favorite authors) was essentially saved from obscurity by fanfic. I guess my opinion doesn't matter since derivative works are created for the enjoyment of their creator, but I'd hate for the most brilliant writer of our generation to be remembered for Lord of the Rings IV: Hail to the King, Baby.

Oh, regarding Phil Collins: Apparently celebrities are encouraged to post playlists with commentary to iTunes. John Linnell did one (transcribed here) called Songs I Tried to Resist. Here's what he has to say about Phil Collins' You'll Be In My Heart from the Tarzan soundtrack:
Defending the music of Mr. Collins can be a fruitless, time-wasting effort. In the simplest terms, throughout his career I've been silently praying that the earth would open up and swallow him and all his works. So the pleasure I took in this ballad from the Tarzan soundtrack took me completely off guard. Something about the third and fourth chords against the melody in the chorus seems to transcend the cheap sentimentality in his music that I have found so offensive in the past. Either he made some radical breakthrough in his songwriting or I've gone soft in the head. Or both.
[User Picture]
From:seanorange
Date:March 22nd, 2006 04:27 pm (UTC)

Re: But... But I'm not a Phil Collins fan!

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I think LJ is dropping the ball on notifying me about replies, because I went over a week without noticing this one...

Harry and the Potters in specific can only appeal to Harry Potter fanatics (and before anyone gets insulted, "fan" is short for "fanatic") -- musically, I don't find their work terribly interesting. In fact, the two songs on that reunion CD sound nearly identical, just with different words. As for Harry and the Potters as a general comment on derivative works, the very name creates the expectation that everything they do will be related to Harry Potter, even though this does not necessarily always have to be the case.

That being said, creating derivative works in a more or less sheltered environment can be a nice incubator for creative types. You have an almost guaranteed (albeit limited) fan base. It's likely you'll get relatively immediate feedback, which can be channeled right into the next attempt. I don't want to paint with such a broad brush here, but I think it's likely that lots of fanfic writers lack the confidence to do their own original works, one of the reasons the general quality of these works is so mediocre (another being that just any idiot can toss something off and have it hailed as brilliant). If an aspiring writer looks at fanfic as some kind of extended worshopping environment to test out literary styles and conventions, it's pretty easy to yank out all of the derivative parts and stick in more original pieces.

My own foray into this arena is entirely ensconsed in parody, because I don't really feel that anything more serious is really worth anyone's time (assuming the parodies are, and they probably aren't). To languish in derivative works helps no one, but I don't think there's any shame in getting your start there... as long as you keep that start a deep, dark secret that you share with no one.

The real question is why I'm combing through your posts making replies to days-old comments...

~Sean
So Much For the Afterglow or How to Rip-Off Phil Collins Without Really Trying - Garmonbozia for the soul.

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