Friday, September 12, 2008

Attack of the Beatniks...

Here's an example of what Genius generated based on Van Morrison's track 'Contacting My Angel' out of his Avalon Sunset Album. I am a rock and blues fan (as far as non-classical is concerned) and of some metal, believe it or not (Judas Priest, Metallica,...), and as a baby boomer myself, I am very much into the 60ies, 70ies, and the 80ies, in general. So, out of Morrison's trigger track Genius picked up Dylan, Pink Floyd, Jethro Tull, Lennon, U2, CCR, and a few others... click the capture on the left for full detail. (BTW, the Yusuf Islam dude is a.k.a. Cat Stevens, for those who suspected I was turning into an fundamentalist Muslim insurgent...). Anyways, can you see the 'theme' of the Genius choice? It screams all over loud and clear: Beatnik! Blimey! I didn't even know I had material to assemble a 'Beatnik' collection whatsoever!

For information, in my iTunes library I got a total of 2270 tracks out of 342 albums and 16.77GB of total storage... peanuts by today's standards of Music Library size... (my siblings have got multiples of that). Take my word for it, the tracks that Genius picked to go along with Morrison's 'Angel' work just fine! You gotta hear the collection to get my point. Best thing is to try for yourselves, of course. Like the frogs say 'les goƻts et les couleurs ne se discutent pas'.

Whether Genius discovered any songs in my library that I never heard before? You bet! Here's a track from an extended edition of the U2 Joshua tree album that I never enjoyed in its entirety. Lyrics by 'Beatnik' Ginsberg:

America, I've given you all and now I'm nothing
America, two dollars and twenty-seven cents January 17, 1956
I can't stand my own mind
America, when will we end the human war
Go fuck yourself with your atom bomb
I don't feel good, don't bother me
I won't write my poem till I'm in my right mind
America, when will you be angelic
When will you take off your clothes
When will you look at yourself through the grave
When will you be worthy of your million Trotskyites
America, why are your libraries full of tears
America, when will you send your eggs to India
I'm sick of your insane demands
When can I go into the supermarket and buy what I need with my good looks
America, after all, it is you and I who are perfect, not the next world
Your machinery is too much for me
You made me want to be a saint
There must be some other way to settle this argument
Burroughs is in Tangiers
I don't think he'll come back, it's sinister
Are you being sinister or is this some form of practical joke
I'm trying to come to the point
I refuse to give up my obsession
America, stop pushing, I know what I'm doing
America, the plum blossoms are falling
I haven't read the newspapers for months
Everyday somebody goes on trial for murder

I am all deaf on poetry matters, other than Dylan's and Bono's lyrics, but I thought this Ginsberg 'beat' is kinda unusual, and, read by Bono with 'the Edge' pulling some background guitar tones on the Joshua album sounds even better. Agree?

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