Monday, October 19, 2009

It's Super!

When I walked into class today, one song suddenly started playing in my head: "The Logical Song." It's by Supertramp, actually. Not Madness. There's no Madness in this post at all.

After setting up my laptop I went straight to YouTube and put it on in my headphones. It was exactly like how it sounded in my head.

Today marks the day I listened to something different for once, in a long while. Supertramp is another of those bands I like other than Madness for more than one song. The first song I heard from them was called "Dreamer," though I'm sure everyone's heard that. If I were to ask anyone about the band the first song that would come into their mind would be their song "Dreamer." The first time I heard that was when I was nine or ten or eleven, and I'd heard it in a remake of Rocky & Bullwinkle: The Movie. The song never actually properly played during the movie - just odd parts of it. But it interested me. Then I heard it on the radio. Unfortunately, I thought at the time that there was something wrong with the speaker, because the song went really quiet between the beginning and end. No, the song does that because it was recorded that way.

Eventually I looked up the band and listened to some of their other songs. I like 'Bloody Well Right' quite a bit, especially how it goes "right - RIGHT!" when the main topic of the song comes in. It sounds like they're trying to sing the word perfectly to me, and they're trying too hard, which just makes it sound funny instead. Right!

But the best album I think they did was "Breakfast in America." I like the most songs on it. Not every one, but certainly the title song, "Goodbye Stranger," "Gone Hollywood," "The Logical Song," and "Child of Vision."
I should say though that some of the songs I like, I only like part of. For instance, a few of them are really quite long - "Child of Vision" is seven and a half minutes long, and all the vocals and choruses are sung within the first two minutes. The rest is violent, almost random, keyboard playing. "Gone Hollywood" is exactly like "Dreamer" - it's prolonged and quiet throughout the body of the song, but loud and exciting at the beginning and ends. The ending of "Gone Hollywood" is probably one of the best-sounding endings to me. The keyboards and pianos and alto sax all really work together to create a lasting, happy, winning sound that makes me think of a bluish-whitish, watery mix that's joyful and ecstatic. In the morning of course.
Then "Breakfast in America" is interesting and fun, and "Goodbye Stranger" sad and forlorn but equally immortal. "The Logical Song" is well done, and "Take the Long Way Home" is probably the best song on there, with an unforgettable piano that makes me think of Manhatten. I don't know, but pianos in songs that make me think of Manhatten are the best-sounding melodies. I received the same effect when I first heard the piano of the song "Our House." 
There's one thing I should take note of, though. This is a funny backwards kind of trivia: Supertramp was huge in America. The band was British, but their fanbase was very largely American and Canadian. They played here in Ottawa in the 1970s on tour. In England, meanwhile, they went largely unnoticed. I read once that they "could walk down a street and not be recognized" in England. In contrast, Madness was virtually unknown in America or Canada and rarely did any tours over here. They tried to break America but couldn't, and "Our House" was the only hit here, at #7 on the American charts. Yet they were huge in Britain and well-received. Their big mistake was not promoting "Our House" when it went huge on this continent, because they weren't interested in being huge in this part of the world anymore. Thanks to MTV and MuchMusic here in Canada they got some exposure. But not a lot. And so while Supertramp is well-known here and easy to find CDs of them, Madness is the opposite.

So I just think that its kind of interesting in that they were opposite from each other.

Supertramp was a good band. I like them. Them and Madness. And I should listen to their songs more often.

-Justin C.

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