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EuropeanCanon
(crash course raver)
09/07/06 02:16 PM
This Is The End  

Once upon a time, before Bowie’s annus mirabilis of 1983, in a nondescript classroom deep within the bowels of the damp concrete plains of a grey school, full of grey people, the usual drudgery of a double music lesson was replaced by mild excitement at the rare opportunity for 20-odd callow 13-year olds, a squeaky-voiced collective of impudence and pimples, to bring in their own choice of music for that lesson and replace the classical fayre that was hitherto imposed upon them by their music teacher, the quasi-Victorian mentalist with halitosis: “Baldy” Parkes.

Unfortunately, the passage of time means that yours truly (yes indeed, for I was present that particular day) has completely forgotten what precise sounds emanated from those black 7 and 12 inch vinyls. Except, that is, “Woz” bringing in his older brother’s Stranglers single Peaches for the sole reason that the song contained the word “shit.” And, of course, my own humble offering.

Cometh the hour, cometh The Man Who Sold The World. Within a matter of seconds, it seemed, the opening intro to my requested song, The Width of a Circle, was greeted by blank stares, derisory cries of “Ugh! What’s this rubbish?” and the subsequent guffaws of laughter and a barely-disguised wanker sign given in my direction from “Thommo.” My public humiliation was completed by Baldy, patronisingly voicing his discontent, abruptly cutting Bowie short long before he had time to quip “Kahil Gibran.”

For the rest of the music lesson, set against a soundtrack of MOR pap, I sat quietly, stewing in my own juices of embarrassment and seething, privately vowing to myself that, come the glorious revolution, I’d ensure that Baldy Parker would be first against the wall. Either that or I’d draw a big chalk cock on his jacket.

Anyway, the reasons for this post, I’ve just realised, are twofold. Firstly, it’s a slight cathartic exercise but it’s also to raise an issue first voiced by Baldy all those years ago. You see, immediately after giving our records a spin, as expected he comprehensively denounced our choice of music that day and all pop music (as he called it) in general. One of the reasons for his scorn of all-things modern was the common use of the f-f-faded outro. This, as a musical purist, he viewed as a complete and utter cop-out, an unsatisfactorily easy way to end a song. It’s a point I haven’t quite forgotten and I probably have a slightly greater appreciation for a song that manages to find a way to avoid a faded conclusion.

Now, some questions: do you agree that a faded outro is an unsatisfactory way to conclude a song and if so does it detract your enjoyment and regard for that song? Does it really matter: is the method of concluding a song largely unimportant? Are there any songs that spring to mind as having a particularly notable ending? Do you have any Bowie songs that might be better served by a different ending? What is your favourite Bowie song that doesn't have a fade-out? And more importantly, should I disrupt Baldy Parkes’s retirement by mercilessly hunting him down like a wild animal?


God's footballer hears the voices of angels
Above the choir at Molineux


White Prism
(cracked actor)
09/07/06 02:56 PM
Better to burn out new [re: EuropeanCanon]  

Did 'Baldy' listen to any of the class's popular musics in full, or was the 'faded outro' part of another discussion? 'Width of a Circle', while being a scheduling nightmare for a class of twenty students, does at least conclude properly. Indeed, if he pulled *all* the records prematurely, why did the silly cunt choose to raise the subject at all, if he never intended to listen that far?

I would suggest it *is* more difficult to finish a song properly, by writing a 'complete' ending, as opposed to fading out. The ubiquity of the fade out, however, doesn't bother me. Indeed, some songs benefit from a fade out ('The Chant of the Ever Circling Skeletal Family', to name but one, which suggests a drowning out, or erasing of political dissention), and numerous 20th century classical composers (Gavin Bryars and Steve Reich from the top of my head, though admittedly they're at the 'pop' end of classical) also use fade out.

Sweetness, sweetness I was only joking when I said I'd like to smash every tooth in your head . . .

EuropeanCanon
(crash course raver)
09/07/06 04:13 PM
Baldy Drawn Boy new [re: White Prism]  

In reply to:

Did 'Baldy' listen to any of the class's popular musics in full, or was the 'faded outro' part of another discussion? 'Width of a Circle', while being a scheduling nightmare for a class of twenty students, does at least conclude properly. Indeed, if he pulled *all* the records prematurely, why did the silly cunt choose to raise the subject at all, if he never intended to listen that far?


If memory serves, the bald fucker listened to more or less the entire length of each respective song chosen by my classmates. He might have missed the last 30 seconds or so with some songs in order to fit the next song in before the end of the lesson, but they certainly didn't suffer anywhere near the short shrift given to my choice.

There was a fairly brief lecture afterwards where Baldy vented his spleen at the ills of modern popular music and his view on the faded outro was part of that diatribe. It was the only time that I ever remember him raising the topic of pop/rock music. The rest of our so-called music education was spent watching him air compose to classical music, bashing crap out of a tambourine or singing friggin' Tit Willow.



God's footballer hears the voices of angels
Above the choir at Molineux


AdamAdministrator
(cricket menace)
09/07/06 04:43 PM
Kill Your Outros, Brother new [re: EuropeanCanon]  

The faded outro is a great blessing. The problem with many outros is that they're so re-used and cliched, they are the aural equivalent of someone vomitting at the end of a song.

I'm thinking of the typical concert drum rolling/bashing outro or the cliched ending used by every second pop/jazz number of 1940s and earlier. Truely disgusting stuff.

Don't get me wrong - there are some brilliant ones - but they're few and far between.

Baldry should be charged for crimes against musical education.


schizophrenic
(acolyte)
09/07/06 05:29 PM
Re: Kill Your Outros, Brother new [re: Adam]  

I'm more intrigued by the fact that one guy managed to get Peaches played. I mean, doesn't that song have the line "is she trying to get out of that clitoris?"

Oh, and:

In reply to:

The problem with many outros is that they're so re-used and cliched, they are the aural equivalent of someone vomitting at the end of a song.




I'm a kid
And I love CANDY!!!


Atonalexpress
(acolyte)
09/07/06 08:58 PM
Re: This Is The End new [re: EuropeanCanon]  

I get disappointed with fade out endings on records when it is not musically warranted. Generally, the thought "lazy" comes to mind, or "Zappa (insert POP star here) was in a hurry to get to his next record while tons of money was not being deposited in my bank account." I remember a music professor telling me years ago that the most difficult thing to do in music is to begin or end a musical work. A satisfactory beginning is more difficult than the ending for me, but I find it is really the "stuff" in-between that tells us all whether a work will stand up or, sadly, crash.

MySpace


Nature_Boy
(crash course raver)
09/08/06 04:24 AM
Re: This Is The End new [re: EuropeanCanon]  

I too think the fade out is a blessing. How many songs end with the inevitable final chord crash with cymbals ahoy.

Its about time I had a signature

The Thin White Duke: David Bowie Tribute Band

trendy rechauffe
(acolyte)
09/08/06 07:23 AM
Re: Kill Your Outros, Brother new [re: schizophrenic]  

In reply to:

I'm more intrigued by the fact that one guy managed to get Peaches played. I mean, doesn't that song have the line "is she trying to get out of that clitoris?"


When my friend bought the Peaches single (we were pre-teen in the late 70s), we couldn't make out that word, there were no lyrics printed anywhere in those days and we wouldn't have known what it was anyway.

The only music my 7 year old son likes is early Stranglers. So the compilation CD I've made for him includes the radio version of Peaches which has three changes. "Is she trying to get out of that bikini" instead of "clitoris". "Oh no!" instead of "Oh shit!" & "Well what a summer!" instead of "well what a bummer!"



bye tr

trendy's trainpage is at http://www.geocities.com/trendy_rechauffe

"No peachy prayers, no trendy rechauffé
I'm with you so I can't go on"



EuropeanCanon
(crash course raver)
09/08/06 09:47 AM
Fade out, far out, in out new [re: Atonalexpress]  

In reply to:

A satisfactory beginning is more difficult than the ending for me, but I find it is really the "stuff" in-between that tells us all whether a work will stand up or, sadly, crash.


As you know, with the traditional pop song, there is such a short time-frame to make an impact upon the listener that it's clear that the intro/verse/chorus is the overriding factor in providing the all-important hook: unlike a film or play, for instance, which has the opportunity to evolve steadily before the ace card of an unexpected denouement, a final twist, perhaps, that leaves the ending foremost in the viewers mind.

For obvious reasons, live performance forces the musician to address the issue of concluding a song but, aware that the audience gives it little premium, it is still given scant attention - so hence the often formulaic ending that we're all so familiar with.

However, if a song already has a great ending in place then that can only add to the crowd pleasing impact of that song live. 'Ziggy Stardust' and 'Suffragette City' spring instantly to mind.

A faded outro might be an all-too easy way for closure, avoiding the challenge of ending a song in a way that would please the purist, but the fade-out on 'Ashes To Ashes, for example, proves that it can frequently be a pleasing and symbolic method for a full stop.

In reply to:

schizo - I'm more intrigued by the fact that one guy managed to get Peaches played. I mean, doesn't that song have the line "is she trying to get out of that clitoris?"


In reply to:

trendy - When my friend bought the Peaches single (we were pre-teen in the late 70s), we couldn't make out that word, there were no lyrics printed anywhere in those days and we wouldn't have known what it was anyway.


Well, we were ridiculously naive and unknowing way back then, so that most definitely applied to us too. In fact, I hear that there are grown men today who have no idea where a clitoris is or what to do when faced with one. Right, Strawman?

God's footballer hears the voices of angels
Above the choir at Molineux


zigbot
(stardust savant)
09/11/06 02:56 PM
Re: This Is The End new [re: EuropeanCanon]  

First off, great post.

Now, on to the topic of the fade-out. I agree it works in some songs (Ashes to Ashes is a good example) but not in others (Hello Spaceboy, album version is a good example--that song was not among my favorites until I heard Bowie do it live and end it abruptly with a screamed-out "moondust will cover you!").

As for good beginning versus good ending, I agree a good beginning is more importent. Maybe its the short attention span we all have or its the short length of most popular music pieces. But if a song starts strong, I'm hooked and I can be a bit more forgiving of flaws in its middle and end as a result. An example of a great beginning is Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy." That two-beat "bump bump" followed by the stammering "I remember when, I remember, I remember" had me immediately. I don't think it's an excellently crafted song throughout, but that beginning is brilliant.

Last, I can think of one good example of a fade-IN intro AND and fade-OUT outro that really work: Bowie's "Speed of Life." I adore how that song appears and disappears with a fade. Works brilliantly.

zigbot


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