Songs are poetry set to music. Some are the perfect marriage of sound and message while others just wasted creative potential. Monday Meh is about presenting the best musical offerings, and a little backstory and sample lyrics, to get you through to hump day.
In no particular order
First up is Spandau Ballet with Through the Barricades which is a song about love hindered by the political and religious ideology separating Northern and Southern Ireland. Politics is fairly complex to gain consensus about at the best of times, but when coupled with the dogma of religion, impossible to reconcile.
Through the Barricades was written by Gary Kemp, inspired by the killing of Tom Riley who was a friend of the band. Although not specifically about him, his death had such an impact on Kemp who said, “I was living in Ireland about a year later, and Through The Barricades came to me in one evening. About two in the morning, lyrics started appearing in my head and I picked up a guitar – this has never happened to me before. I felt the song was leading me itself.”
And now I know what they’re saying
It’s a terrible beauty we’ve made
So we make our love on wasteland
And through the barricades
Spandau Ballet, 1986
Next pick, is a song that doesn’t fail to induce Saltwater. Go on, I dare you not to feel something. The lyrics ring true about the state of the Planet and our inability as a species to prioritise the important issues. It is a sad state of affairs that it did not chart in the US, though it achieved significant success in other parts of the world.
Julian Lennon co-wrote the song with Mark Spiro, and John Waite. George Harrison was supposed to perform the slide guitar for the song but as he was unable to attend, he sent Julian the samples instead — the old fashioned way, as the Internet had a long way to go before delivering seamless remote working.
“I write exactly the same way as I always have. It’s whatever comes to mind first, whether that’s musical or lyrical or an emotion. Generally it’s down to whatever I’m feeling, at that point in time, strongest about. And it’s generally to do with everything and anything that we all share in life emotionally.” – Julian Lennon
We light the deepest ocean
Send photographs of Mars
We’re so enchanted by how clever we are
Why should one baby feel so hungry she cries
Saltwater wells in my eyes
Julian Lennon, 1991
And last because it’s all been on our collective minds recently with the death of David Bowie, I have to round off the musical triumvirate with Under Pressure, a collaboration of the sublime duo, Freddie Mercury and David Bowie.
I highly recommend that to truly appreciate the full song this song, you need to find someone with Rockband 3, guitar controller and a microphone, and really play and sing it, loud and proud. Oh and do do yourself a favour, have a sniff around for the version where the music has been stripped away completely revealing the combined power of Mercury and Bowie – Magic!
John Deacon came up with the bass line, but Freddie Mercury wrote most of it – with collaboration from everyone else, at an impromptu session in Switzerland.
Brian May said, “It was hard, because you had four very precocious boys and David, who was precocious enough for all of us. David took over the song lyrically. Looking back, it’s a great song but it should have been mixed differently. Freddie and David had a fierce battle over that.”
I think whatever happened, they all won, and it’s still a brilliant song that rings true with currency, thirty-five years later! Thirty-Five Years!
Insanity laughs under pressure we’re cracking
Can’t we give ourselves one more chance?
Why can’t we give love that one more chance?
Why can’t we give love, give love, give love, give love, give love, give love, give love, give love?..
‘Cause love’s such an old-fashioned word
And love dares you to care for
The people on the edge of the night
And love dares you to change our way of
Caring about ourselves
This is our last dance
This is our last dance
This is ourselves
Queen and David Bowie, 1981
Some mainstream choices to start off with – I figured I’d slide in easy like George Harrison’s guitar. I’d love to hear from you. If you have any other information about these three songs, or similar recommendations, other videos of the same quality… y’know… pop them in the comments underneath. I’d also appreciate a heads up if you find any broken links. Follow me for future updates.