I snatched the Soft Spot

A friend of mine noted that for a guy who writes music, I almost never blog about my work. I wasn’t sure how to reply.

I’ve never really achieved any of my goals with my songs except one… I insist on learning new tools as I go along instead of just doing the same thing over and over, and I feel that has been achieved. Actually, not achieving my goals is a bit of a stretch, cause I did release one album back in 2008 – Arrival – but I’ve never really been particularly proud of what I’ve achieved with it.

I just parted ways with my band. We used to call ourselves Snatch, and after a couple of years of being poorly named after a woman’s genitals we changed our name to Blødpunkt, which means Soft Spot in Danish. That name fit our Goldilocks identity as guys who were neither too hot, nor too boring, but just right!

When I had the break-up talk with the guys, the bass player – Morten – said to me almost as an afterthought: “You’re sure you want to do this… you have a tendency to get excited about things and forget them the week after.”

No-one has said anything like that to me ever. But he is absolutely right. Im always writing new songs but I hardly finish any of them. Always looking for new people to work with, but never sticking around long enough to get the job done.

I’m not sure why I am like that. I enjoy the fulfillment of writing something new. I revel in being inspired. Almost every time I met with the band, we wrote something fresh. I’m  rarely out of material it seems, and what the fuck is wrong with that?

I’m not a good producer… well I’m not a patient one. I hate that in order to make a recording of an instrument sound good, it requires a particular setting in a virtual environment that is so complex and arbitrary that I can make neither head nor tails of it. I hate that afterwards all our efforts revolves around a amateurish sound-recording that doesn’t impress the industry-gatekeepers because they only know style and money. They have no clue of what to do with a demo song that is not yet a finished product, and I get frustrated because I have to juggle other people’s opinions on things that aren’t finished yet. I love working with musicians but I absolutely loathe pleasing businesspeople who really have no clue of what the process of creating music is.

I don’t know if I’m ever gonna have a future in music, but I know this… Since I broke up with my band two weeks ago, I’ve written more songs than I did in several months leading up to it… and again, I have no fucking idea what that means. I dont know which decisions are the right ones… this one just felt right.

Viewed from afar – The curious case of Justin Bieber

I’d like to start out with a disclaimer. I have never actively listened to Justin Bieber. I listen to a selection of singers, musicians and genres that have followed me since the mid-eighties when I discovered what the hell music was. A lot of oldies still rotate, and a small part falls under the RIWO model – Random In, Worst Out. As a songwriter this might seem a perverse model to follow, as it does very little to actually support other artists unless they present me with something that surprises and pleases me, but honestly… why should I waste my time on music that doesn’t move me?

Back to Justin! I know of two tracks of his – Baby Baby Ooh – not sure if this is the right title, but he sings it in the chorus, and I’m sure you know which one I’m talking about. It’s pleasant and well written, but nothing I haven’t heard before. The other one is Mariah Carey’s re-recording of All I Want For Christmas – or as I like to call it: The Four Minute Macy’s Commercial. The new Macy’s version is bubblegum perfection… a sugarcoated product which in the end I just wanted to spit out. Biebers’s voice – stuck in mid-puberty – is every bit as damaged as Carey’s, and there is not enough AutoTune in the world to hide those facts. Big props to the engineers who are able to filter and emancipate Mimi’s whispering pipes, and even bigger props to the arranger who were able to insert Bieber’s restricted, pubescent five-note vocal range into an otherwise uninspired copy of the original arrangement, a song I still consider one of the finest seasonal feel-good songs ever written.
Back to Justin! Again! There is a lot of hate on the internet directed towards the young Canadian. Does he honestly deserve it? Does any child deserve such an immense back-lash of bile and rejection?… and please don’t think I’m being flippant about his age. He didn’t start out as the tattooed, angry, rebel-wannabe twenty-year-old. The world has watched his transformation from YouTube-sensation to full-fledged pop superstar, which has taken as many years as it takes a boy to transform into a man, at least in the physical sense. Why isn’t anyone talking about the insanity of taking a grown boy and dumping him into the a world of calculated management and constant scrutiny? What is Justin Bieber other than a child that has survived a long period of abuse? Did Usher do a good job of mentoring the child? He’s made a lot of money for his family and his management, but what about the boy? Has it been worth it? When does the conversation start which defines the wisdom of taking a child and turning him into a star?
Music aside… has anyone been through more bullying than Justin Bieber? Did you participate? Does it make you proud to think about what the western world – especially Hollywood and the music biz – does to it’s children?

Waiting for pop music to die

Pop music today is beige! It’s harmless and unoriginal and I’m sick of it! Now before you go into some stupid rant of how I’m just an old guy complaining about kids of today, let me just say this… This is not some old-man-bitching about the state of affairs. I’m hit with WTF when they play Dub Step in the narrow streets of central Copenhagen, with a feeling of dread that any minute now either my eardrums or the windows are gonna burst, but I’m never shocked by neither pop nor rock. It’s simply too dull!
Pop music today is full of an underage fuck-me attitude, like a grown child who just had it’s first erection and is swinging it around proudly for everyone to see. It’s beyond Lolita. It has entered into a realm of polluted, smarmy self-righteousness, rubbing it’s greedy palms, with a look on it’s face like the creepy uncle who’ve just fucked the neighbor’s twelve-year-old and gotten away with it.
Who believes Miley Cyrus when she sings about love? It seems easier for other, older women (and men) to reverberate with my range of emotions, but with Cyrus I hear nothing except computerized soullessness. I simply don’t buy her version of love. I don’t think it is the same as mine. In fact, what is love when you’re the daughter of a prostitute?.. and I’m not talking about her mom!
It sounds phony when she sings of love. It sounds the same when she sings of partying. I’d believe her if she sang about what it is like to wake up in a pool of your own vomit, with disgrace etched on your face, eyes hot with tears, nose burning from snorting coke, unable to erase the memory of the degrading routines your manager has put your through, but I don’t for even for the length of a split pubic hair believe her lyrics of love and affection.
Pop music today is a plane waiting to crash. Talent shows and Disney is at the wheel. Once in a while you hear the engine stutter and come back to life but only for the briefest of moments before it shuts itself off again. It will probably be over when the last of the four giant music labels have cannibalized the others, but for now it’s still alive and it’s a fucking disgrace.
Oh yeah, I just got another letter of rejection. This time it was some guy at GLmusic in Copenhagen who complimented my songwriting skills and then said he had no use for them. Either he is a fucking liar or he is just unsuited for the job. He is one of many gatekeepers who is entrusted with the privilege to help facilitate the flow of talent from outside the music industry to the network of talent within. He didn’t test me. He didn’t challenge me. He didn’t guide me. He didn’t connect me. He didn’t make suggestions. He just rejected me. What a fucking waste of time!