Can't tell the birds from the blossoms
by Sean
Please note: MP3s are only kept online for a short time, and if this entry is from more than a couple of weeks ago, the music probably won't be available to download any more.


Cibelle - "Green Grass". Cibelle's hidden things in this song. Amid the voice and acoustic guitar there are knocks, bells, ghost voices, horse whinny, harp. (And when I looked in the liner notes, after, I saw that the voice is even credited as a "ghost's voice"!) She sings like the breeziest breeze, pensive and then so, so, so happy. When she sings "birds from the blossoms!" her smile is like the flap of a wing, the kiss of a snapdragon.

Tom Waits - "Green Grass". The most important thing in this (the original) rendition of "Green Grass" is the recording of Tom Waits' voice. I don't mean just the plain fact of his voice - that scratchy ruined thing. No, the exact way it sounds here. It reminds me of candle wicks about to be lit; whistles about to be blown; a thistle carried in a man's hand as he walks down the street. No breezes here. Here it's about how feeling can fill a still space. (Yes like a ghost.) It's about a spirit who knows precisely what he wants to say, and how. As composed, certain and tender as the place where he now resides.

[buy Tom Waits' Real Gone]
[buy Cibelle's The Shine of Dried Electric Leaves]

Wrapping Paper - "Hold Up The Neon Sign". Wrapping Paper play a furious pop music and it's impossible to imagine them doing anything but tramping through a field, poppies and straw up to their knees, making their way to the neon song that reads: "YES". I adore this sort of overdriven recording - drums that sound like thunderstorms, guitars that sound like drums, glockenspiel that sound like meteorites shooting through roofs. It clears my arteries. (Other artery cleaners: The Exploding Hearts, McLusky, Guided By Voices, Konono no. 1, Devin Davis.) It exfoliates. (That is, shakes leaves from trees.) It, um well to put it plainly, rocks.


Posted by Sean at August 7, 2006 3:00 AM

Great songs today. Thanks Sean!

My opinion (possibly obvious..) : I think the same ghost is hanging around in both songs. In the original, the ghost is singing the lead. I think he's a friendly ghost in both songs. Actually, I think he's kind of a fatherly ghost.

Posted by Karin S. at August 7, 2006 7:29 PM

Thanks Karin. The silence was a little deafening over here!

It's interesting what you say about a "fatherly ghost"... I hadn't thought of that. I like it. It softens the cruelty that underlies the way I usually hear the Waits version...

Posted by Sean at August 7, 2006 7:49 PM

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This is a daily sampler of really good songs. All tracks are posted out of love. Please go out and buy the records.

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about the authors
Sean Michaels is the founder of Said the Gramophone. He is a writer, critic and author of the theremin novel Us Conductors. Follow him on Twitter or reach him by email here. Click here to browse his posts.

Emma Healey writes poems and essays in Toronto. She joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. This is her website and email her here.

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