silversolitaire: (Default)
Referring to my little entry two days ago I thought I talk about a couple of songs by Joshua Kadison that I found especially inspiring and lovely. Maybe some of you guys are interested in them...

I'm actually a little unsure about how to proceed now. Part of me wants to ramble on about the songs. But the other part wants you to check them out yourself and have your own opinion on them before you get influenced by me. I guess I'll just do the rambling and put it under a cut.

The first songs are from his debut album, Painted Desert Serenade. For starters, here's the eponymous song, Painted Desert Serenade. Like I said in my little essay, that's the song that won me over. It's the second track and it's just so lovely. The music just spoke to me, it was so light-hearted and good-natured, but the thing that really won my heart were the lyrics.

My thoughts. )

*feels a bit silly* Those are just images that have popped into my head whenever I've listened to the song. I'm sure other people see other things. And that's the beauty of it. Anyway, moving on.

The third track is Beau's All Night Radio Love Line. I've always liked the quiet melancholy about it. Slight touches of country, slow and wistful. The lyrics are lovely, as usual, telling a multi-layered story of different characters, all listening to the same call-in show. Like in most of his songs, you get the feeling Joshua is telling you one of his many experiences of his exciting life, but for his benefit I'm going to assume this is the narrator, and not him personally.

My thoughts. )

Going a bit out of order now, Picture Postcards From L.A. is another one of my favorites. Again, it's heavy with a story waiting to be told. My thoughts. )

Just like many other of Joshua's songs, this one deals with hopes and dreams that stay unfulfilled. Like in this other song from the same album which I'm not presenting here, called Georgia Rain. It features Jessie again and the trailer that is mentioned in her own song. One line that moved me especially was, "There's a trailer by the sea, down in Mexico. We dreamt a lot about it, but we never did go. Some dreams a better from afar, but that's just how things are." To me, this speaks of hope in a way, even if your dreams stay dreams forever. It's good to dream, even if you might never get it.

This song is especially important to me, because it played a huge part in my life at some point. When I was in L.A. I couldn't stop thinking about exactly that. I prowled through all the stores until I found a picture postcard of L.A. with the California sun and I wrote "I made it! Love, forevermore" on it. It may be silly, but it was important to me. I still have it. Just like Rachel, I never "made it"... Kinda funny, too, that in 1998 I travelled the same track that Jessie did. From Las Vegas over L.A. to Mexico. That was... amazing.

Since I just mentioned Jessie I guess I should present the song, too. It's the first track and probably the song most people would know by Joshua. It was in the charts for a while in the mid-90s. I'm only mentioning it now for that reason and because it's not necessarily my most favorite one. I still like it, of course, and it basically was what made me fall in love with Joshua, but still. It's a bit worn out I guess.

My thoughts. )

Last from this album I give you two songs which pretty much speak for themselves. They don't so much tell a story than illustrate sentiments everyone of us has felt at some point. At least that's true for Invisible Man. The other song, Mama's Arms might be autobiographical. I'm saying "might" because I can't really confirm it. Somehow this is what I remember from my heavy fandom days when I read each and every article and interview. But since I can't make sure, I'm going to be cautious. Either way, it's heartbreaking.

You know, in a way it's a bit frustrating that most songs who made it into the charts by Josh were those really smarmy love songs that don't really have any meaning, such as Beautiful in My Eyes. It's a nice song and all, but it's really just one of many love songs and doesn't carry a message or meaning. Yet, this seems to be the only glimpse the public got of his work. Same thing happened with Delilah Blue where the only actual single was Take it on Faith which is just as boring a love song as the other one. *shakes head*

Now wasn't that just the perfect lead-in to the next album? Delilah Blue!

I really had to force myself to stop here. Otherwise I probably would have covered the entire album. Somehow, all songs grow on you so much at some point that you just can't imagine not showing them to everyone you meet. When you're a little blues-y/gospel-y inclined (which I am), some of those tunes just make your heart thud in your chest and make you want to shout out loud with joy. Listen to the Lambs and The Gospel According To My Ol' Man are songs like that. I'm going to talk a bit about them.

The first one is just plain gospel, so it's not really worth a lot of words. The second talks about the narrator's father and how they both used to hang out outside of church and listen to the music drifting over to them. Our hero wonders about the questions of life and God, but he's never received a religious education from his father and yet he's given him the most important lesson imagineable: "Love's the only thing worth a damn".

Not that deep, but with the music, it's just awesome.

Now let's move on to a very special song, Delilah Blue. I've already covered what it means to me in the other post, so I'm not going to get into that again, but I'm just going to say that it's all kinds of awesome. It's incredibly long, almost ten minutes, and it just goes on and on telling you the story of these two people in magnificent detail until you feel like they're your best friends. Adding to that is this slow, sentimental piano with strings and drums that just tears the emotion right out of you.

My thoughts. )

If you've got your own ideas about the song, please share them with me, because I'd love to know them! ^^

Next is Jus' Like Brigitte Bardot. The beautiful thing about Joshua's albums is that you always have the feeling you're kinda listening to an ongoing story, illustrated song by song. In this song we learn about Neffertiti in all its beautiful gospel glory.

My thoughts. )

Now, onto the final song I'm going to cover here, Waiting In Green Velvet. Very similar instrumentation as Jus' Like Brigitte Bardot or The Gospel and many other songs which is probably the reason why I get the impression they're somehow connected. The story is quickly told, about a woman waiting for her bus, full of hopes and dreams, and somehow I always thought this was Neffertiti. Might just be me of course.

Hm, maybe I should mention for completeness' sake that on the album there's also a song called The Song on Neffertiti's Radio, just to illustrate you they all tie up nicely and build one well-rounded piece.

Phew... I'm kinda powered out now. I guess I'll just go ahead and post it now and see if the music touches you guys as it touched me! :)
silversolitaire: (Take me from the wreckage)
Last night, as I was sitting in my bathtub, wondering once more why on earth my radio had started playing Russian and Swedish stations, I suddenly found myself thinking about Joshua Kadison again. I don't really know what brought this about, but suddenly I thought about him, like a good old friend, and once more I found myelf wondering what he's doing now.

It's always difficult to explain to people what Joshua Kadison means to me. When you don't know him, don't know what kind of things he said and wrote, what kind of a person he is and what his music does to people, you don't really understand it. You probably just hear slightly smoopy music accompanied by some piano playing and an overly dramatic voice at times. And yet... to me he's so much more.

I discovered him... hm, in 1994, I think. Yeah, pretty much. He had just put out his first record and appeared on some television show. I hadn't heard of him yet. I was an avid MTV watcher at that time and had never seen him there. Dad asked me who he is and I said "Dunno... not MTV quality, obviously." Then I listened to him play... and it was as if I fell in love. The song just spoke to me, opened my heart and showed me a world of things I had never seen before.

The next day I went to the record store to check out his CD. Yes! The old fashion way. You know, when you're a teenager with no money and nobody had internet yet then. So you actually went to the store, grabbed the CD from the shelf and asked the clerk to let you listen to it. So I stood there with my headphones on, straining to listen to the music through the booming baseline of some rap song.

"Jessie" was the first track, the one I had heard the night before, so I skipped it. The next one was "Painted Desert Serenade" and as I listened to it I just started grinning, grinning like a fool because the song was so sweet and it just made this entire story pop up inside my head. It was as if I was looking at a wonderful painting, walking barefoot across the beach and watching an emotional movie, all at the same time. The next track was "Beau's All Night Radio Love Line", and again, the same thing. It just went on and on, it was addictive and I just couldn't get enough of it.

Needless to say, I took the record home with me and listened to it all the time. Haha... I still had a desk in my room then where I sat to do homework and stuff. I kept doodling things on the desktop notepad, kept writing along with the lyrics, sketching out things... and before I knew it, these notes had become stories. Wonderful stories.

This may not sound like anything great nowadays where even the smallest kids dabble around online and soon have access to fandom, other people to share their interests with, they discover forums where they can share their art and writing with, discover fanfiction. But then, in 1994, these things didn't exist. People like me were freaks. I never knew anybody else who was like me, who spent their days thinking up stories about people who didn't exist, who drew comics and wanted to become a Marvel artist, who was dreaming about fantasy worlds and novels and stories. I felt pretty much alone. It wasn't until years later that I got my first internet connection and realized there were other people like me.

So in a way, I discovered this all by myself. And it was wonderful. And it was all thanks to Joshua that this happened. For some time, he was pretty popular around here and I collected all his interviews, clippings from magazines, recorded his interviews. I was delighted to find what a great guy he was. Spiritual, in tune with himself and with nature, sensitive. He thought about the same things I did, I loved nature, animals, the Gods... I just wanted to be like him. I wanted to be a writer, an artist, wanted to draw comics about his songs, write them into stories and I wanted him to see it and tell me they're good. Typical fangirliness, I know. But oh, it was magnificent.

A year later, he put out his second record, Delilah Blue, which was totally different from the first one. The first one had been a bit of easy listening, if you want to call it that way. Soft melodies, piano, pleasing tunes. The second was so different. It was more experimental, with gospel elements and often very boastful and loud instrumentation. I was a bit put off at first. Also, he had cut off his nice long hair which I had adored so much! Outrageous! And he suddenly sported this weird fake leopard print suit and sunglasses on the cover. What was that?!? I felt a bit betrayed, as if he had suddenly succumbed to music business and become one of the "cool guys".

Still, I gave it a chance. I had one of my first jobs then and I had long periods where I sat in some office, secluded from everyone else, and had to sort through endless stacks of files. I listened to his CD then and guess what? It happened all over again. Once I had gotten over the initial shock I managed to get into the music again, feel the stories the songs tried to tell me and it was wonderful. One song that moved me especially and that will always be special to me is the eponymous "Delilah Blue". Even now I still share it with friends and ask them to share their thoughts with me, tell me what they thought of it, who they thought the characters were etc.

Every year or so I start again, trying to put this song into a story or a comic, and every year I fail. I guess I never will. In a way it's funny. When I think about it, the internet has made me both more and less creative. More in terms of my writing. I had always hidden my writing from everyone when I was growing up. After a bad experience I had started feeling embarrassed about it and didn't want to share it anymore. When I embarked on that crazy ride that is fandom in the internet, I soon found kindred spirits and found out just how gratifying and enriching an experience it is to share your stories with someone else, receive comments, feedback, new ideas. So, that was great.

But in turn I have basically completely buried my aspirations to be an artist. Why? Because I saw just how much I sucked. I saw that there were people, years younger than I was and already at a level of skill that I could only dream of achieving. So I guess I just gave up. When I was still oblivious to all those people out there I could at least pretend I was special and talented. Now it's clear to see that I'm not. Most of the time I don't care. But sometimes, just sometimes... I look back and get really sad. I find these old comics I did. I used to draw tons of comics about songs that inspired me, and they weren't really all that bad! But nowadays I guess I won't do them anymore. And if I did I'd never show anyone because I'd know that about 50 million people are better than me. When I think of "Delilah Blue" that makes me very sad...

But I digress! Anyway, these two albums were just very special to me and I listened to them a whole lot. After that, things got a bit quiet around Josh. I'm not really sure what he did, where he went. Knowing him he probably travelled the world, played the piano at bars, wrote books... I know that he went to university in London at some point, studied music. I remember in my early days of "internetdom" that he was one of the first things I looked up and I found a website then where he said something to the effect of "Acadamia once again proves not to be my thing". But the memory is dodgy there. Things got quiet and I moved on a bit, too. In my taste in music, in the kind of person I was.

I met Li around that time, 1997 or so and I went to visit her for the first time around that time, I think. Would need to check dates to be sure. I probably visited her around 1999 in Orlando for the first time. Around that time I had found out that Joshua had self-published two new albums and you could order them relatively inexpensively from some website, but they'd only ship within the US. So I had them shipped to Li's place and she gave them to me when we met. That was "Saturday Night in Storyville" and "Troubadour in a Timequake". Those albums were back to roots again and I loved them. But I will admit, I had already moved on then and hadn't obsessed over them as much as I would have years before, no doubt.

He also published a book around that time then. "17 Ways to Eat a Mango". I remember seeing it listed at amazon then and I had been a bit put off by the price, 25$ which had been a lot for me then and since I wasn't all that much into him anymore then I decided to not get it. Now, of course, I regret it. I wish I had gotten it then, because right now I'm dying to leaf through it, read it, touch it... but the book has long since been out of print and only sells for horrendous prices on ebay and the like. Chance missed, I guess. *sighs*

I kept checking back on him online occasionally. He dropped off the face of the earth for a while. Then he popped up again around 2001 with a new album, "Vanishing America", which sadly was just a rehash of the songs from his self-published albums. That was a bit disappointing, but I got it anyway and I watched him on TV and smiled, remembering how it was when he and I had this torrid love affair that only I knew about.

Last year, he finally got a decent website again, but quite obviously he's smarter than I am and doesn't let the internet dominate every aspect of his being, so he hardly ever updates on it. When he does, it always makes me smile and remember the good times we had. He's also published a batch of songs online and I've burnt them to CD and added them to my collection. I wonder why he doesn't publish them "properly" but I'm sure he has his reasons. He always does.

Last fall I saw that he was actually going to give a concert very close to where I live. But I didn't have the money to buy the ticket and the energy to go there. I wonder if that's going to be another thing I'm going to end up regretting.

I don't know if that really explains anything at all, but at least it felt good to write this all down. A walk down memory lane in a way. It's good to remember which people were important to you in your life and a huge influence, even if you never talked to them.
silversolitaire: (Default)
Delilah Blue
Joshua Kadison
A cigarette burns itself out in a crushed up co'cola can ashtray.
In front of a busted up old mirror,
Delilah Blue is checking out his tired sachet.
Getting bored or just disappointed with his own reflection
he just waves it all away.
Taking to his good friend Black-Eyed Susan, he says,
"Maybe we should go out West?
Get a tan and fake the rest...
This ol' life is just a test,
just a test anyhow."
Then back to his own reflection he says,
"Oh, Delilah Blue, what do we do now?"

The night manager of the Stardust Motel is banging louder
on number seven's door, saying,
"If you two queens don't pay up for all last week, you can't stay here no more."
And Delilah laughs as Black-Eyed Susan says, "Silly bitch is such a bore."
In a while they know she'll walk away,
it's just a drunken game she likes to play.
Besides, she knows they always pay.
They always pay somehow.
Oh, Delilah Blue, what do we do now?

"Oh, Delilah Blue, what do we do now? What do we do now?
Magnolia memories fill my eyes and the sweet bird of youth done flown away
but don't let anybody ever say
this old dancer never had her day
'cause this old dancer always knew we'd make it through, Delilah Blue."

Delilah's in the bath tub now and it's Black-Eyed Susan's turn to ramble.
"The President of the United States is on TV
tellin' everybody the country's doin' fine.
Well, he must be talkin' 'bout some other country
cause honey, he sure as hell ain't talkin' 'bout mine.
Wish I could strut up to the White House steps in Shirley Temple drag and sing
'Brother can you spare a dime?'
Hey, Miss D, I could always pawn that Jayne Mansfield thing.
How much cash you think that old rag'd bring?
My ruby red dress I used to wear to sing
back when they'd whistle and they'd wow.
Oh, Delilah Blue, what do we do now?


"Does the year 2000 ever scare you 'cause it's comin' up so fast?
This getting older thing seems to be more about just learnin' how to last.
Flippin' through my old phone book, Delilah, all our mad, mad friends...
we were such a cast.
What do I keep this old dog-eared thing for?
Most our friends ain't even here no more.
I'm feeling lonely as a ghost town whore left still standin' up somehow.
Oh, Delilah Blue, what do we do now?"

With a towel turban on his head,
Delilah Blue appears in the golden aura of bathroom light.
"Tell you a little secret, Susan, I learned a long, long time ago.
It's kept me on my feet all these years, high heels too,
I got the strap marks to show.
You can take it or you can leave it, oh baby, guess I don't really know.
But it seems to me
between the blues we cannot name
and all the rage we try to tame
we're only pawns in our own game
Try not to let it wrinkle your pretty brow."
And just before he cuts the light,
he catches his own reflection in the mirror and smiles at the sight.
"Try not to let it wrinkle your pretty little brow.
Oh, Delilah Blue, what do we do now?


'Cause this old dancer thought she knew, we'd make it through,
oh, this old dancer thought she knew, Delilah Blue,
what do we do now?
silversolitaire: (hmmm)
Yes, I realize I've been spamming LJ for the past hour with mushy lyrics, but hey, I've just rummaged around my lyrics collection and just thought I share one or two. And then, what happens? I switch on the TV and see the Aerosmith video "Crying". God, the memories... I was at my peak then, a teenager, fully emerged in the wonders that are MTV and chart music. I remember all those videos from the album "Get a Grip". They all rocked, dude. Like Crying, Amazing, . With Alicia Silverstone and Liv Tyler! Way back when nobody knew them! XD


I've always liked videos like that... Videos that tell an actual story. And songs which lyrics convey that. That's why I always loved Aerosmith and Joshua Kadison. They're very good at that. Awesome videos where the lyrics and / or the video tell a story are (among others):

  • Janey's Got a Gun

  • Amazing

  • Crazy

  • Crying

  • Objects in the Rearview Mirror May Appear Closer Than They Are (okay, Meatloaf, but DUDE, this video / song is amazing... I wrote a long story about it once... Hmm... I wonder where it is...)
  • Picture Postcards from LJ

  • Jessie (one of the first stories I wrote involved her)

  • Georgia Rain

  • Delilah Blue

  • Jus' Like Brigitte Bardot

  • ...actually almost every song Joshua Kadison ever made

*curls up and sighs happily* Ah, the memories. Now I realize how much I miss Joshua. I mean, I miss him. As silly as it may sound, he's been such a big big part of my life for such a long time. I've always adored his music, ever since they first came out. And I listened to the songs all night, imagining the most wonderful stories around them. Joshua made me draw, he made me write, he made me feel spiritual and wonderful and mystic... he was one of the first people I sought out on the internet... I wrote him a letter, but I never sent it. I thought he was such an amazing person. Everything he said made so much sense, was so profound and full of wisdom...

I sound so fan-girlish now, but I'm not. Not at all. I was never a squealing fan. I was... an admirer, a passionate dreamer who found happiness and inspiration through Joshua Kadison's songs.

At some point I couldn't listen to his songs anymore, because I was often on the road and in the car his music isn't too good to listen to, since it's always very mellow and soft. And I was more into hard stuff, Papa Roach, Linkin Park, Rammstein... when I was depressed, suicidal and angry. But now... now I miss Joshua. And I feel like he's slipped away from me. I don't know what he's doing anymore. I haven't bothered for so long. He's no longer close to me. But I miss him, dearly. Maybe I can recreate this feeling? *starts looking for the CDs*

Hm... I just realize why I never dared to get into contact with him. Because I always thought I wasn't worth it. I was young, meaningless, my art sucked, my writing did too... I thought that once I contact him I want to show him what he moved inside of me. But I never could, because even though I had the most fantastic images in my head I couldn't transfer them onto paper. And that was horrible. And I was embarrassed to admit that. Now I feel more confident in myself and in my art. And I've lost him...

I think this is why I like Richard so much. I realize just now that he's so very much like Joshua, it's amazing. He's said things that I heard Joshua say before... Oh Lord. I realize it all just now... *cries* It's all a circle, one big circle...

*embraces the memories*


silversolitaire: (Default)

February 2009

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