Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Running Green

I have two songs on my mind at the moment, one that's so obviously Celtic and another that I once thought was sung by a Japanese band. Which one sounds more interesting? I think the pseudo-Japanese one takes the prize here (the other one was 'Come on Eileen' by Dexy's Midnight Runners, which is probably overall more boring to write about considering everyone older than me knows it).

I don't really remember the year, I usually attribute it to 2005, but I could be wrong. I heard this song via a commercial - on the song's page it even references its use, in an "Intel Pentium TV advertisement." This was the reason I thought it was a Japanese band. The majority of the commercial featured Asian children (which I attributed to being Japanese) using laptops and computers in an interesting way to showcase the technology's applications and neatness, perhaps its feats as well. They practiced music and web-chatted with teachers. Throughout all of this played this neat piano-driven song. The vocalist's way of singing also helped along this belief the song was from Japan.

I couldn't have been more wrong, of course. I heard the song again during an episode of How I Met Your Mother from the first season, which excited me. I could look it up now. I listened for the lyrics, and seconds later, I was given this:

Yes, maybe even their album cover faces look Japanese, but they're British and it was released in 1995, not 2005 as I'd thought.

It spent all day yesterday in my head, largely the introduction. It's very driven and fun-sounding, bright and jaunty. I am 90% sure that the chord that's being played is D major. A constant D major accompanied by a left-hand note progression of D, A-B-D, A-B-D... The reason I say 90% is because while it fits the chord very well, it sounds slightly pale to me, like it's not quite fully D major but a chord that dampens its pinkishness, makes it sound slightly distant. It might simply be the piano used, or the microphone, or whatever. D minor is much whiter than major, which is a bright pink. This chord is right in between, a whiter pink, which is why I said 'paler.' So it may very well be D major, but I'm not saying that that's 100% for certain.

Even so, it made my day because of my synesthetic attributions of it. I usually put D major's personality - the bright, considerate, gentle, kind, happy girl who is very friendly - on to girls with 'the look' and there's one that works in the store right now. If I saw her, particularly her face, the piano introduction would instantly start playing in my head, and I'd end up looking like an idiot with my grinning, giggling, and sounds of content. Synesthetic meshing at work. Thankfully no one really noticed unless they saw me smiling at least.

It's an impressive song from people who were younger than I am now when they recorded it. Apparently they were hardly out of their teens. The singer does sound young. On Wikipedia, I read that it's about just getting into that time of your life, noticing girls, hanging out, growing facial hair for the first time, etc. etc. yet still being quite young, just older than a younger child. "We are young, we run green, keep our teeth nice and clean." That lyric is juxtaposed against lyrics about smoking and getting wheels and looking for feels, etc. Getting into the teenage experience for the first time.

The singer's Cockney accent really shows in this song, but I like it. It's probably what helped my wrongful perception of them being Japanese at first. I haven't gotten into the song's progression, but I can say that the main riff stays in D major (I think) with a jump to E minor for one bit. Based on a quote I'd read from the place everyone reads this stuff, the song is apparently in a major scale, so probably D major.

They really look like boys in that video.

I really must say, kudos to such young people for creating something quite appealing to the ear and being recognized for it. The music video helps along that bright perception I have, particularly for the beach scenes. I find the opening scene of the pianist at the water line quite powerful - it's a great visual to juxtapose something bright and happy-sounding. I want to do that if I ever get to a point where I create a song with a bright piano riff - have me at it on Mooney's Bay beach in the morning sun. The scenes where they're on the beach with the sky behind them is also quite powerful because that is virtually the first time I've seen a British music video filmed outside on a beach in England with a clear, blue sky with white clouds in the background. If they can't get a nice sunny day for a music video to a song like 'Walking on Sunshine' (they're walking through thick fog on a miserable wet winter day), that visual here sure is a turnaround for how I see British music videos. While their names on their shirts is a bit silly and makes them seem too young, it's jaunty and catches the nature of the song itself, which means it works. It was directed by the group Dom & Nic, whom I recognize because they directed 'D'You Know What I Mean?' by Oasis, a video that came to be a big visual to me in my childhood on my mother's old tape (and shows a typical cloudy Britain day). I find the connection quite interesting.

Interestingly, one of the band's influences were Madness. They were considered a Britpop band, which was a thing in England in the 90s, largely headed by outfits like Oasis and Blur. But these guys seem too jaunty and bright and young to me to be anything similar to Oasis. I can see the Madness influence, though. Particularly in the piano and the staccato guitar beeps.

Song: A- (Good job)
Lyrics: B+
Video: B+

Once again, great effort to such a young group of guys (I'd rather use that word instead of 'boys'). They created a jaunty sound that I think would be easily recognizable and obvious anywhere, they wrote appropriate lyrics, and they made a video that captures and showcases that style pretty well - except for their silly names on their shirts. Good one.

Red Cloud

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