Thursday, May 13, 2010

"When the Pawn..."

So Fiona Apple, an American musician not named after Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow's child (and there's a future entry for sure), released her début album in 1996 and gave it the not-insane title Tidal. It sold a few copies, and she was perhaps thinking that she wasn't properly eccentric enough. So she released her follow-up album, and called it, ahem, When the Pawn Hits the Conflicts He Thinks like a King What He Knows Throws the Blows When He Goes to the Fight and He'll Win the Whole Thing Fore He Enters the Ring There's No Body to Batter When Your Mind Is Your Might So When You Go Solo, You Hold Your Own Hand and Remember That Depth Is the Greatest of Heights and If You Know Where You Stand, Then You'll Know Where to Land and If You Fall It Won't Matter, Cuz You Know That You're Right. This is, then, a title so ridiculous that I've reproduced it here and have still never bothered to read it from beginning till end. It is apparently a poem she wrote after being dissed in SPIN Magazine. She wrote it in order to express her frustration at having to admit that she'd been reading SPIN Magazine.

Since then, of course, Soulwax and Chumbawumba have both, in a sense, 'beaten' this title for 'longest title in the world', with albums entitled Most of the remixes we've made for other people over the years except for the one for Einstürzende Neubauten because we lost it and a few we didn't think sounded good enough or just didn't fit in length-wise, but including some that are hard to find because either people forgot about them or simply because they haven't been released yet, a few we really love, one we think is just ok, some we did for free, some we did for money, some for ourselves without permission and some for friends as swaps but never on time and always at our studio in Ghent and The Boy Bands Have Won, and All the Copyists and the Tribute Bands and the TV Talent Show Producers Have Won, If We Allow Our Culture to Be Shaped by Mimicry, Whether from Lack of Ideas or From Exaggerated Respect. You Should Never Try to Freeze Culture. What You Can Do Is Recycle That Culture. Take Your Older Brother's Hand-Me-Down Jacket and Re-Style It, Re-Fashion It to the Point Where It Becomes Your Own. But Don't Just Regurgitate Creative History, or Hold Art and Music and Literature as Fixed, Untouchable and Kept Under Glass. The People Who Try to 'Guard' Any Particular Form of Music Are, Like the Copyists and Manufactured Bands, Doing It the Worst Disservice, Because the Only Thing That You Can Do to Music That Will Damage It Is Not Change It, Not Make It Your Own. Because Then It Dies, Then It's Over, Then It's Done, and the Boy Bands Have Won, respectively. The two main reasons I'm including the Fiona Apple album over the others is (1) the others have rather more obvious stand-alone short-forms (and in the case of the one that anyone in their right mind would call "The Boy Bands Have Won", an album cover suggestive of that short-form), and (2) the others aren't cheesy attempts at poetry.

Yay Fiona Apple. You won the contest.

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