Today I’m going to talk about one of my favorite tunes to play. This is a tune I play in Pretending, which is a Pretenders tribute band.
First off, I love so many Pretenders tunes that it’s really, really hard to pick one. With that caveat, the song I want to talk about today is “Message Of Love”, a tune from one of their early albums.
So, why do I love this song? First off, it’s a just a feeling I have when I listen to it or play it. (Actually, I first learned this song on guitar, before I was ever in the Pretending band and learned it on drums–it’s a fun guitar part.) This tends to be the case with music I love–there’s no good way to describe or talk about why I like it, it just feels wonderful when I listen to it or play it on drums.
For example there are songs that I love, but I don’t particularly like playing drums on–The Smiths for example. I absolutely love their music, and I think Johnny Marr is a genius on guitar, but I don’t get much of a charge from playing their songs on drums. No idea why this is, and there’s thing wrong with the songs–they’re genius level songs–just not so fun for me to play.
Another thing I love about Message Of Love are the lyrics. The line, ‘we are all of us in the gutter/but some of us are looking at the stars’ is one of Chrissy Hyndes’ best lines ever.
(I know there are some of you out there laughing right now–I’m terrible at remembering lyrics. The only lyrics I tend to know for sure are the ones I’m singing background on–and sometimes not even those 🙂 So, one way to look at this is that lyric must be totally amazing if it got my attention.)
So, the drum part: a big part of the drum part is playing a shuffle groove on the floor tom. These days, shuffles are rare in Rock, Pop and R&B, but a shuffle on the floor tom? Even rarer still. It also happens to be a really, really fun groove to play.
And, the arrangement is slightly weird. Without getting too technical, the recorded version certainly not an arrangement where you could ‘wing it’ (meaning, play it perfectly without having ever heard the song before). It has a few little tricks and corners you could get lost in (for you musicians out there, there’s a lot of weird bars added on the end of phrases, stuff like that)
But this thing about the groove and the arrangement are just details. There are plenty of songs where the groove is interesting and the arrangement is tricky, but they don’t do anything for me. Certainly nothing near what Message Of Love does for me. It just goes back to that amazing feeling that’s indescribable, that makes you want to play it over and over again. Mmm.
So there you have it–a blog post from me trying to describe something that’s indescribable. *lordy* It’s a lot like trying to describe something you love–you could try to describe it in words a hundred different ways, and ultimately, all the words fail you. The words fail you because love is bigger than words.
And truly, for any non-musicians out there, it’s exactly like listening to music and falling in love with one song and not another. That one song you love just does something to you emotionally, something that’s really, really hard to describe. And the other one just…doesn’t.
So that’s my story and I’m sticking to it…for now 🙂