NOTI: Iím a songwriter, too, and I was having a debate with someone the other day as to whether lyrics should be immediately graspable
to a listener or if the inside jokes and personalized, cryptic stuff should be what makes art resonate. I love early R.E.M. lyrics because theyíre completely
impenetrable. I donít know what anythingís even based on. On the other hand, I respect writers like Dan Wilson who paint a crystal-clear, emotionally resonant picture
with music. Do you prefer one method or the other?
JK: It really depends. I think thereís times when you want to be specific and for the narrative to be right there, but you never want it to
be boring or run-of-the-mill. Youíre forced, then, to try to come up with it from your own mind. Thatís what the art rock bands did. It was about the vibe,
then you find the language to go with the vibe. When David Bowie and Marc Bolan came along, they had their own language. It was fragmented. It was mosaic.
It didnít tell you the story, but it resonated the most wondrous things. And then it was up to you, in your imagination. You were either hip to it or you werenít.
JK: Yeah, I like the ones like that. Because it felt as though my parents wouldnít know what this was about, so this was cool. Jim Morrison, too. Whatís
a ďrider on the stormĒ? You donít have to know what it is. But you feel it. The pictures and the atmosphere that goes with it is so rich. When we grew up, the kind of
music in my house was the Beatles or the Stones and they would play and dance, then Saturday night itíd be folk songs. Actually, more like country & western.
People in Scotland loved the Patsy Clines and the Jim Reeves and the Charlie Prides. Those guys could sympathize with the heartbroken cowboy.
JK: But I remember my dad getting his first car. Maybe it was his second car, but his first with a radio. It was an amazing coincidence. It was a
Friday summerís night in June, and I was about eight. My dad took myself and my brothers for a ride. Back then, nobody cared if you were drinking and driving in Scotland,
really. He parked the car and said, ďIím going to go in for a few pints. Sit in the car with some crisps and some comics.Ē We asked to leave the radio on. That was a big deal.
JK: Iíll never forget that this track came on. It had the intro, and the piano, and the lightning break, and this voice saying, ďThereís a killer on the road.Ē
We were terrified! And there was lightning somewhere off the distance!
JK: Point is, I was listening to it, the voice, the words and the sound, and Iíd never heard anything like it. This wasnít music of my parents. This was poetic,
romantic, twisted, nightmarish, sexy, and thatís really when I knew there were different kinds of musical language.
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