Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Commonplace Interest

It’s hard to write a story about commonplace things; probably harder to write a song about commonplace subjects. Which is why the above song being good is such an achievement, I think: the story is basically, “I took a cross-country trip, went to a restaurant, and left my wallet there. It was El Segundo.” Boring, no? But it turns out to be a great song, at least as A Tribe Called Quest end up doing it.

Then there’s their tribute song to one Lucien:

Nothing like goodnaturedly busting on a friend.

Advice is often given to aspiring artists to write about what they find interesting, which can be perilous indeed if the aspiring artist has no sense of what’s interesting, or, worse, has no sense of how to present interesting things interestingly. As it happens, the subjects of the songs above don’t seem to be very interesting on their faces, which is proof of the notion that most artistic rules or advice can be safely contradicted when in good hands.

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