By The Landlord
“Music is the expression of the movement of the waters, the play of curves described by changing breezes.” – Claude Debussy
“The hand is only an extension of sensibility and intelligence. My curves are not crazy.” – Henri Matisse
“I didn’t discover curves. I only uncovered them.” – Mae West
This week things are shaping up very nicely. But what shape could the songs be that you suggest? Well, why not start with spheroids and ovoids of all kinds from balls - from sporty types such as delivery of a curvy free kick in football or a baseball curveball - to the biological or planetary. Or think about eggs of any kind? Either way, they should all hatch plenty of ideas.
An entire war was cracked open, for example, in Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, between the Little-Endian and Big-Endians (depending on whether you eat from the broader or narrower end of the egg) in Lilliput. But there's no need for conflicting ideas. Previous topics I’ve set up have included geometric shapes and chicken-and-egg songs, but while the latter was more about paradoxes, the former mostly brought angular edges and normal circles, no spheres.
But curved objects and curvy lines are all around us, so this topic is truly ripe for all kinds of lateral thinking. Spherical objects make up our entire universe. For a start, electrons in a nucleus have been found to be perfectly spherical.
And we can take this all the way from the micro to the macro. What’s the shape of the entire universe? Spheroid? Conical? Ovoid? Or perhaps it’s the shape of Kanye West’s head? Who knows. But in any case let’s enjoy a little excerpt from a man who actually knew what he was talking about, great Carl Sagan, with his beautiful perspective on Earth, arching through our history via the curvature of our planet:
According to Einstein’s theory of relativity, and correct me if I’m wrong, gravity can cause the path of light to bend, and even change our perception of time. Horizons are of course curved if you see them from a suitable distance and perspective, so if you want to think metaphorically too, our lives follow a curve, if not a circularity. As the novelist Martin Amis described his work: “Novelists are stamina merchants, grinders, nine-to-fivers, and their career curves follow the usual arc of human endeavour.”
But let’s get back down to Earth. Curves are all over human body, especially the female form, and these are often referred to in song and at length in music videos. Who can forget the extraordinary curves of the skinny and scary Grace Jones on her cover of Island Life? And while Marilyn Monroe might be modern history’s most famously curvaceous (forget the talentless Kim Kardashian, please), let’s go against the conventional and commercial, resisting even the temptation to look at Beyonce in action, and enjoy a few lines from the original curvy character of popular culture, Mae West, who famously, among many things, said: “Cultivate your curves - they may be dangerous but they won't be avoided.” She certainly knew how to throw a curveball at the men who pursued her.
Now then, want a couple of musical examples that appeared in past lists? Well, suck on some Chocolate Salty Balls by Isaac Hayes. They’re full of vitamins and very good for you, apparently.
Or if you fancy a heavy metaphor, here’s Ball and Chain by Janis Joplin:
With more spherical output than a gobstopper factory, this is shaping up to be highly imaginative topic covering all spheres of culture, art, history, science and industry. So there could indeed be an explosion of ideas. The main thing is that they are fun. And relevantly curvy. But hopefully this explosion will not result in the kind that happened to China’s watermelon market in 2011.
So then, put forward you ballsy, fruity, circular or other song suggestions in comments below for a deadline later on Monday. This week’s guru of golf balls and many other spherical shaped songs is the marvellous Marconius, who will shape them up for a playlist published next Wednesday. There will be plenty of crazy curves for sure, and le'ts hope it will be not drive him round the bend. And unlike last week's listed song by Ian Dury we're actually doing the opposite of saying "I Wanna Be Straight".
New to comment? It is quick and easy. You just need to login to Disqus once. All is explained in About/FAQs ...
Fancy a turn behind the pumps at The Song Bar? Care to choose a playlist from songs nominated and write something about it? Then feel free to contact The Song Bar here, or try the usual email address.