Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Why music beats most other art forms

Daniel Lanois For the Beauty of Wynona
Album art by reknowned Czech Artist Jan Saudek

I have a feeling music is more popular than ever before. This might be like a Golden Age we’re in or something.

Is there another art form that reaches people the way music does? Music is instant. 2 - 3 minutes. If you like the song, you want another one. Like enough of them, you'll pull together to see the band live.

Music is so powerful that there are tons of sites and bloggers that talk about how technology is helping bands break, changing music distribution, killing major labels, etc. etc. I subscribe to the Lefsetz letter. A lot of the time he talks about Katy Perry and Lady Gaga, how these types of acts will be gone in a couple of years, how grass rooters like Arcade Fire and Mumford and Sons are doing it the long-haul right way, how older artists aren’t engaging a young audience properly (You mean it’s not actually Stevie Nicks who’s Tweeting?). Sometimes it can be a little bit too much.

If you read enough of that sort of stuff, you sort of lose track of how powerful music is on its own. It’s just about good songs. 2-3 minutes that communicate something, that succeed in making you want more or do not.

So in the spirit of simplicity and good songs, here are two from Canadian songwriter and producer Daniel Lanois' For the Beauty of Wynona. It was released in 1993, but I just discovered them today. They are instant.

The Messenger
"Oh the door that closes tightly
is the door that can swing wide..."

Rocky World
"She's turning twenty, and out on the make
Pounding the blacktop with a habit to shake
She's looking for a manger in the eyes of a stranger
down in the streets of a rocky world..."

Read more after the jump...

Here's an excellent short documentary about Daniel Lanois. Starts here:


  1. This is funny, because I LOVED this album when it came out, and every morning recently I've looked at shelves of cds I recently unearthed from some forgotten boxes, and this album is the one this morning that I meant to listen to, after not having heard it for years. A couple of songs collapse from the weight of the production, I think, but most are fantastic. Didn't know the cover artist was Czech, but I did love that cover. For the knife as much as the breast, of course. And the music within. Which was strange and wonderful and yes, immediate, to my, what, 18 year old ears?

  2. Cool. That's actually a censored version of the picture for release in America. The international version is more complete :) Saudek also did the cover of the Soul Asylum album with Runaway Train on it.

  3. Yeah, the old AMERICAN VERSION. Sensitive eyes, you know.