Soundtrack

by MDH

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1.
You and her, you and her Til I met you and her, you and her I was living car by car, drinking when I could with the hacks in Schwab’s drugstore I had made it just so far, washing up and going dry, it wasn’t coming anymore Then you and her come along Good luck and so long Norma Desmond on a nostalgia trip But it turns out that it’s us that got small And what am I planning to do about it? I bet you do nothing at all G n’ R, G n’ R, someone thaw out G n’ R, G n’ R G n’ R, G n’ R, someone thaw out G n’ R, G n’ R From a cannon, helmet on, see no time has passed, crushed bulbs on the tiled floor Jon Bon Jovi, Elton John, since the lady’s payin’ serve me up a vintage whore Digital radio Set our tastes, we’d never know Norma Desmond on a nostalgia trip But it turns out that it’s us that got small And what am I planning to do about it? I bet you do nothing at all Your sweet water-lily Ever after happily Floating in our Sunset Boulevard, Boulevard And what am I planning to do about it? I bet you do nothing at all
2.
Clothe your soul, Clothe your soul Clothe your soul and throw away your favourite T-shirt There’s been no goal, There’s been no goal There’s been no goal since you finished doing homework When something’s all used up you should just bin it Hope should be enough but it just isn’t Clothe your soul, Clothe your soul Clothe your soul and warm your bones with something constant There’s no more goals, There’s no more goals There’s no more goals, no more recognised achievements Take a red balloon, attach a message for me Let it go in one year - but know it won’t reach me Vomit with your earphones in Sitting in the bathroom light Remember the shape you’re in When you’re here tomorrow night Don’t write the note Don’t write the note Don’t write the note Clothe your soul and throw away your favourite T-shirt There’s been no goal since you finished doing homework When something’s all used up you should just bin it Hope should be enough but it just isn’t Clothe your soul and warm your bones with something constant There’s no more goals, no more recognised achievements Take a red balloon, attach a message for me Let it go in one year - but know it won’t reach me Vomit with your earphones in Sitting in the bathroom light Remember the shape you’re in When you’re here tomorrow night Vomit with your earphones in Sitting in the bathroom light Remember the shape you’re in When you’re here tomorrow night Don’t write the note Don’t write the note Don’t write the note Don’t write the note Don’t write the note
3.
It was required that an airfield be built Work was undertaken urgently The runway stretched back to the barren hills From the rocky edge of the stormy sea Fuel tanks were topped up full and deep The vessels thrown out courageously Ten boiler suits for the maiden fleet For the men to leave to mine the sea Breaking the waves, with our runway stretched out towards the stars Breaking like waves, rising up between you and I Count the distance rolling by Breaking the waves The phone box quivered in the rain As I waited for the first call to come through I made my lips practise his name Wait til they see what has happened to you How much of us will there be left? What of you will emerge from the rescue plane? Anticipate and mourn bereft I used up my voice with his name Breaking the waves, with our runway stretched out towards the stars Breaking like waves, rising up between you and I Count the distance rolling by Breaking the waves Breaking the waves I soldier on and we endure Time passes over as we are The ghost of life from death’s allure I push your legs into the car Breaking the waves, with our runway stretched out towards the stars Breaking like waves, rising up between you and I Count the distance rolling by
4.
Red 5 standing by Obi Wan, see this ship gets to Alderan It carries the death star plan This is our most desperate hour A great disturbance felt in the force If you strike me down, I will become more powerful than you can possibly imagine A precise hit will cause a chain reaction Just like beggar’s canyon back home Red 5 standing by
5.
Five easy pieces, mmm Let me show your lifestyle where the breeze is, mmm Short-circuiting the pain, it’s tricky to maintain Five easy pieces, where you headin’ to? Tearing down the rocks since noon, he drove out of the plain The clouds piled up like Blue-ridge mountains, tall before the rain He drew a beat on a good time, hitched a ride on a honky-tonk freeway Pick up some supplies and lose our clothes with the girls from yesterday Rolling home, shaping up slow to apologise As she washed and pressed her damp disguise She told me, and she’s torn up He’s tired of all these cracker lives Hey, where you headin’? Five easy pieces, mmm Let me show your lifestyle where the breeze is, mmm Short-circuiting the pain, it’s tricky to maintain Five easy pieces, where you headin’ to? Don’t you think it’s right that you should see him once before he goes We never had that much to say, that’s something that we both know He’ll sit and play a Chopin prelude, she’ll sing Tammy Wynette She’s seen your big fires, seen your small fires and she ain’t give up yet Can’t take much more of him sitting there like a stone So roam across the floor alone Don’t touch me if you don’t love me Don’t ask for love in return Hey, where you headed? Five easy pieces, mmm Let me show your lifestyle where the breeze is, mmm Short-circuiting the pain, it’s tricky to maintain Five easy pieces, five easy pieces, Five easy pieces, where you headin’ to?
6.
The things that you love just don’t seem so special I act like I try but never can settle Back in the desert they need me to work At least that way I know it won’t hurt Blaster one do you read me? Break out the suit, you’re in the kill zone Listen sir, do you hear me? We will shoot you, put down your cellphone Bleed out like a pig in the sand all alone Mangy cats and minarets as the night sun melts into the dunes I wanna die comfortable, he won’t make it, a survivable wound The magazine lands in the sand and he’s down The things that you love just don’t seem so special I act like I try but never can settle Back in the desert they need me to work At least that way I know it won’t hurt I will not meet my enemy, not in paradise nor in this short life Stop and cancel the mission, search his insides for another device It’s a jack-in-the-box and I’ve locked myself in Hurt, hurt, hurt... The magazine lands in the sand and he’s down
7.
He was exiled from the glitzy world of entertainment wrestling for a very long time, and reportedly expressed some fairly dubious political views. But these things seemed only to enhance the anti-hero persona. He was invited back into the fold and delivered a speech (that in hindsight sounded like a prophetic farewell) to adoring crowds the night before he died suddenly. A heady amount of bathos and travesty, and an uncanny real-life mirroring of the film The Wrestler (Aronofsky, 2008).
8.
Red 5 standing by Do or do not, there is no try Off to Degobah Luke must fly To face his shadow in the cave First Han, then Lando slip and are saved Adventure, excitement, so we have seen A true Jedi craves not these A long time ago in a galaxy Far, far, far away
9.
Sacrifice 04:37
Plant a tree on a mountainside Plant a tree by the sea Wait for something, life expectant Something real and important We could find a way to alleviate - perhaps we could if it wasn’t so late I would do anything, I have promised thee Water the withering tree Water the withering tree And here again in the littered city, upturned cars and toppled chairs The sleeping boy, oh what a pity, unruly water everywhere A prayer and a dream Sacrifice, burn down your home Sacrifice, retrieve alone Sacrifice, and don’t get taken Sacrifice, and left forsaken Is it still a sacrifice if we’re all gone? The people are running for cover Without their shirts on their backs A long trip inside a celebration We’ll take more care with our preparation Re-do the garden in your own taste, wash your hands and place them on her waist In the beginning was the word, the word of our Lord Doors recoil of their own accord Doors recoil of their own accord And here again in the littered city, upturned cars and toppled chairs The sleeping boy, oh what a pity, unruly water everywhere A prayer and a dream Sacrifice, burn down your home Sacrifice, retrieve alone Sacrifice, and don’t get taken Sacrifice, and left forsaken Is it still a sacrifice if we’re all gone? If we’re all gone? If we’re all gone?
10.
Of all the things that Tommy said, the things I knew were true Were the things he had to say about you He had so many diamonds, goldmines dug in his backyard But still he always tried too hard You wore yours lightly Their mirrors held you up, his dragged him down Now you donate them, we won’t see you much around When angels shed their wings So they shed tired talk of earthy things Tommy’s flappin’ in the street, preachin’ to everyone he meets While you resolve to fly, to navigate the night Unlike Tommy and me, still tryin’ to teach our feet You didn’t even need wings to fill the sky Presidents and holy men can talk a jumper down They like the people’s feet kept safely on the ground You didn’t shout and jump about, you didn’t talk real loud That’s how we can still hear you now You spoke for Tommy He read your words to us, he wanted wings like you You sent the message, but he never understood When angels shed their wings So they shed tired talk of earthy things Tommy’s flappin’ in the street, but still scuffin’ his feet While you resolve to fly, to navigate the night Unlike Tommy and me, still tryin’ to teach our feet You didn’t even need wings You didn’t even need wings to fly, to fill the sky
11.
Confirmed pedant, guilty of guilt - I can’t understand the charges Fiftieth jubilee doctorate - your duty is to ask for forgiveness He’s taking the car, that’s not what we planned She’s going back to Evald, to stare at his hands Don’t bother telling me, if the news has been cast We have our principles, he’ll pay it at last Birds and leaves and spilt wild strawberries Look once more in the mirror alone A screaming moon with lighthouse clouds Birds in black branches flap at their homes Wild strawberries chasing the time Mild memories, meek and unkind Wild strawberries chasing the time away An empty morning walk, in an unknown place The box tips open, lean and see your own face It peers down at you, hands behind its back The clock has no clues, it stares right through you An empty white cradle, a nail exposed Surgical masterpiece, desperate repose Birds and leaves and spilt wild strawberries Look once more in the mirror alone Wild strawberries chasing the time Mild memories, meek and unkind Wild strawberries chasing the time away Wild strawberries chasing the time Mild memories, meek and unkind Wild strawberries chasing the time away Confirmed pedant, guilty of guilt - I can’t understand the charges Fiftieth jubilee doctorate - your duty is to ask for forgiveness
12.
Magnolia 03:13
Magnolia has found me Magnolia for the world to see So what is your message? Instruct me to set my navigations So what should I write up on my arm? Magnolia has found me You know that story about a game-show host who got sick and died? You know he cheated on his wife? He gave me some advice but it was lies When the intensity comes, well it makes him feel stupid and unkind You know that story about the lucky men still smiling in the end? Well Magnolia has found them Magnolia it surrounds them So what is your message? Instruct me to lower my expectations So what should I write up on my arm? Magnolia has found me You know those people, the kind of people who wait too long to answer? They rarely get the question wrong, but the points have already gone to the other I’ve gotta lot of love to give, I just don’t know where to put it. Well, take heart ‘Cause I told this story to a guy in Hollywood and he understood ‘Cause Magnolia had found him Magnolia for the world to see So what is your message? Instruct me to set my navigation Just what should I write up on my arm? Magnolia has found me
13.
Kill Bill 02:14
Your concern must only be vanquishing thine enemy Hold your peace for Bride Arlene, I’ll do my bestest to be sweet She’ll suffer ‘til her final breath - that much I can guarantee 5-point exploding heart technique, I’ll have a glass of water please Revenge is a dish best served cold The shooting of Vernita Green, Yakuza O Ren Iishii Ii You know that for a second there I thought this would be easy Kill Bill - don’t call me kiddo Kill Bill - say ah ree gah toe Kill Bill, Kill Bill - I need Japanese steel I have vermin to kill Kill Bill, Kill Bill - I need Japanese steel I have vermin to kill! Assassination of Black Mambo, Massacre outside El Paso Daughter she survived the hit, I wonder if the mother knows It’s not sadistic is it Kiddo, not like paedo Matsumoto Relief, regret, they should have known the force of Beatrice Kiddo Revenge is a dish best served cold This is my finest ever sword, I say this without ego It seems Hattori Hanzo has broken his retirement oath Kill Bill - don’t call me kiddo Kill Bill - say ah ree gah toe Kill Bill, Kill Bill - I need Japanese steel I have vermin to kill Kill Bill, Kill Bill - I need Japanese steel I have vermin to kill!
14.
Samurai and afterlife Outlaws and Nazi dogfights Ancient Rome and atom bomb Opera and the Vietcong Drones and clones, rebellion Lovers, twins, redemption DVDs and merchandise Meddling with C.G.I. Pirates, prophets, chivalry Let’s have another trilogy Midi-chlorians and destiny Star wars and space diplomacy Over Endor: Darth Sidious All the while he’s been watching us And preparing the impetus Planting envy and fear Compassion for Vader you bring It will be your undoing it seems But no more training do you require Already know you that which you need In the end it’s your suffering that speaks To the goodness inside him that sleeps And the Jedi return
15.
A short account of tragedy one summer day befell A band of five road-trippers is my duty to tell Saturn squats in retrograde, the smoky sun presides The radio sets the grizzly scene of this doomed and desperate drive Reports of rotting body parts exhumed and re-arranged Loved ones crowd the cemetaries to check relatives’ remains Two stinking heads wired to the stone, a dozen empty crypts The artist roams throughout the night, uprooting he exhibits A drunkard rolls and laughs and chokes, pissed prophet gets no heed “Things happen they don’t tell about” - outlines the local creed There’s some that merely scoff and laugh, his mind is off its tether There’s others who have heard the truth, they laugh, but they know better The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Escaping through the dawn Now, if you value life and limb You better listen on Driving past the slaughterhouse, Franklin’s eyes are wide Recounting and remembering the business from inside The old technique had used the sledge, some took more than one lick Some were even skinned and prepped while they recoiled and kicked The others turn their ears away and pass the red outhouses Sally denies her heritage but her memory arouses The Texas Chainsaw Massacre The ugly bits are true And if you try to look away It’ll sneak up behind you The hitcher used to wield the sledge before the jobs were lost He offered blurry polaroids before they knew the cost He snatched the knife and showed his red, offered dinner at his place He sprinkled firedust on the print and burned a friendly face He waved a camera like a rifle, they begged for him to go He drilled the knife on Franklin’s arm and danced along the road The Texas Chainsaw Massacre In their midst we’re strangers Don’t be making any friends Before you check the dangers The house held dark and leafy gloom, its happy days had passed The cameras showed us just how far as they lurked behind the grass The spiders tapped a warning, the laughing didn’t fit Don’t go messing ‘round old houses, some folks here don’t like it Rustling little sculptures talk to tiny hanging bones Folks here like to be left alone and some will let you know The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Listen careful for the clues Screen all advice the locals give Because they might be after you Abandoned cars and pots and pans are hanging from the trees The loud but decoy generator had promised gasoline A foolhardy and so naive faith in a friendly redneck welcome Had forgotten all the leading up encounters in the sun The camera stalks in muted signs as they pace towards the door After knocking number 1 persists and gets just what he’s asking for. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre At sunrise he will dance I hope you get the message I hope you stand a chance Don’t enter uninvited Don’t use the garden swing Don’t check on suspect animal noises Don’t forget to watch your step Don’t disturb the chicken Don’t eat the barbecue Don’t look at the sculptures Don’t borrow the flashlight The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Escaping through the dawn Just dive aboard a pick-up truck And go until you’re gone

about

This started out as a project some 7 years ago. At least 2 albums worth of demos in - of varying quality, style and lyrical obscurity - it was intended to make sure I write something outside whatever habits I was starting to lean on.

Films were the obvious choice of inspiration: the leisure activity of choice after music. The initial plans were a list of rules worthy of Dogme ’95:
- The song title should be the film title;
- the lyrics should be drawn directly from the plot (if not the dialogue itself);
- the key was to be the first letter in the title to fall between A and G (e.g. Five Easy Pieces is in F, Texas Chainsaw Massacre is in E);
- and the atmosphere of the film (if not the actual score) should inform the music/ arrangement.

Limitations can unlock productivity but then again, as with all creative endeavours, rules are waiting to be broken. Two songs each inspired by a cultural figure who had recently passed away - one a white, male wrestler, the other a black, female poet - do not relate to films at all but feel like they belong, if only to add variety.

The choice of inspiration was neither a list of my favourite films (The Godfather had drafted lyrics but was never completed) nor a neat canonic survey of cinema history, but just things that seemed to suggest themselves. They span over half a century, include cult films, european arthouse and beloved blockbusters.

It is my hope that you’ll enjoy the songs, and then notice a bit of dialogue or pick up some extra atmosphere the next time you watch the films. Maybe some will even seek out films they haven’t heard of before this album.

MDH
Michael Humphrey
Hither Green, London
Summer 2016

Review by David Knight:

"#Writetrack

Creativity takes many forms. So does art. Most comes from an urge, a deep seated demand, to make new things. But against what criteria do we judge the new?

Mass media has provided a market for a vast proliferation of creativity in entertainment, and the business of show-business colours our view of what the point of it all is. Do we really need to see a remake of an original film of a book based on a stage play with one of the seven plots?
And yet that chain is human. It is the story; the story of telling stories creates a dialogue with society. In his system model of creativity, the psychologist Cskiszentmihalyi talks about the “domain” – the range of acceptable ideas within which creativity can happen. This is our idea of a culture or a society, and whether an idea is valid is judged by the “field”. These are the gatekeepers, the people that are affected by that idea and hence judge whether they can accept it. Inter-reference and inspiration merge into one in the long chain of additions to the domain, as we judge and accept new things all the time. Into this comes SOUNDTRACK; an explicitly referential and rule based album from MDH which takes the artist’s beloved films and uses them as a constraint to create original work.

Why? Because. Because the constraint drives the work. Because the reference helps the acceptance of the idea into the domain. The listener’s own knowledge and cultural references provide a way in and also a way through, giving an insight into the depth of the work that MDH is creating despite the perceived superficiality of the reference. Which is were the joy is to be found - in spotting the repetitive similarities between Episode IV, Episode V and Episode VI that critique but glory in the films; in noting the lack of the pianist in Five Easy Pieces; and in the acknowledgement of references when MDH writes about Sunset Boulevard, a film about film making.

In some cases, the rules that MDH has set are invisible to the uninitiated. For example, the choice of key defined by the first useable letter of the title is a constraint for the composer and not necessarily the listener. However, this can be like a wildflower erupting from a cracked pavement, and the constraints on lyrics and mood make the listener want to seek out the films that they have not yet seen. The depth of filmic knowledge on display is intimidating but welcoming, echoing a love of the source material that is communicated effortlessly.

Creativity takes many forms. In SOUNDTRACK, the tunes and harmonies conjure “new” from the tightest of spaces, and tell a story of both the superficial and the deep, without forgetting to do the hardest job - creating joy and delight from the raw material of the listener.

So here I am, writing about music based on a remake of an original film of a book based on a stage play with one of the seven original plots. Who wants to use it to inspire a opera?"

credits

released September 26, 2016

All songs and sounds written, performed, recorded and produced by Michael Humphrey - MDH

Thanks to KiKi for design help and to Biggy for all the other stuff

(c) 2016

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MDH London, UK

MDHmusic.com is the home of recording artist MDH (Michael Humphrey) and the hub for a range of musical endeavours offered by MDH that you may be interested in. MDH writes, arranges, directs, produces, composes and performs – check out mdhmusic.com for more info. ... more

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