Approximately three seconds ago, I was trying to write a blog post about aesthetic vs substance, and about alternative vs mainstream culture. About three paragraphs in, I realised I had no goddamn idea what I was trying to say. I sometimes wonder if I’d been born with a conjoined twin, could we combine our brain power to write the greatest pop song ever known to man? I mean, the Madden brothers did it with that classic hit Like It’s Her Birthday, with ingenious lyrics such as, “She’s so wasted, acting crazy, making a scene, like it’s her birthday,” and they’re not even conjoined (they also have different tattoos which I think may have contributed to their declining songwriting abilities as their magic twin powers gradually fall out of sync).
This line of thinking is most likely thanks to the age-old fable passed down from generation to generation, the idea that you either have it or you don’t. I’ve heard this said about anything from singing and songwriting, to accountancy and equestrian expertise. In my less-than-entirely-humble opinion, this could be one of the most damaging ideas in the creative space. I’ve heard so many people tell me that they don’t have ‘it,’ so they’ll never be able to sing, write a great song, or train a horse to jump over a little pole thing. This unreasonable – neigh – absurd idea has proven, in my experience to be not at all true. Sure, there are always freaks who are born with the ability to write Beethoven’s 5th at the age of seven, but that’s not even really that impressive – I mean it’s already been written, they probably just found it on the internet and copied it down – but there are also people like me, who started out writing and singing pure trash, stuff that I would be embarrassed to have people even know I threw in the garbage, but after a considerable amount of practice and self-criticism, do things that they’re actually extremely proud of, in my case songs like Jamie and Pyongyang.
Sure there’s still stuff that I write that isn’t so great (if you think Erasure is bad like I do, you should see some of the shit I left off the album), but had I not stuck with writing I would never have even got to the point where I can write the stuff I write now, which will hopefully look like hot trash in comparison to what I do five years from now. The point is, music isn’t some elusive art form that’s only accessible to the caviar-eating intellectuals that tell you in exceptionally verbose terms how much of a scorpion’s penis you are, it’s something that can be done by anyone, especially in 2016 when any fool can pirate a copy of Ableton and some 808 samples and be making sick trap beats with six seconds.
I’m not exactly sure what the point of this extremely short post is, other than to hopefully motivate anyone who might be feeling underwhelmed by their own abilities to keep practicing that clarinet, Clarence, but I hope you got some semblance of interest if you were unfortunate enough to read it. Here’s a little extra something for those of you who might have made it this far; check out Dear and the Headlights, in particular their album Small Steps, Heavy Hooves. I heard it for the first time like a month ago, and I’ve literally listened to it every day since. It’s like early Coldplay, if they were 100000 times better.