I have done a bit of research into the subject of compromise and, broadly speaking, my main discoveries were:
The phrase “Malthouse Compromise” inevitably makes me feel that I can taste malt vinegar. Even though I don’t have synaesthesia. I can only assume my brain is desperate to extract some kind of meaning from the phrase.
Sometimes the only choices you have are bad ones, but you still have to choose. I got that off Doctor Who so it’s true.
According to the Huffington Post, compromise is the lifeblood of politics but it can also cause paralysis and mixed metaphors. They didn’t say that last bit.
We all have to try to get on with each other in this life but you can’t please everyone.
And when they were only half way up, they were neither up nor down.
If this is all clear, then we may proceed to the more specific points.
1. Björk never thought she would compromise. Which implies that she now has or does. This has clearly resulted in very beautiful music and a desire to embrace you tight rather than fight with you. Excellent. Probably doesn’t work in politics but we should be willing to try anything at this point.
2. Bugge Wesseltoft and Sidsel Endresen skirt the edges of on-topicness with a meditation on the art of negotiation. In this case, persuading another person to give a relationship another try despite their obvious reservations. The main tactic here being the repeated use of the word “please”. This is a ploy I thoroughly approve of and have used many times. To very little effect, admittedly, but then I probably haven’t got the voice for it. More beautiful music obviously.
3. Jackson Browne steers us through the ups and downs of a life lived with the need to balance “the longing for love and the struggle for the legal tender”. This is one of the many songs I initially really quite liked, then dismissed or forgot about in the excitement of the late 70s punk era. Hearing it again now I think I was right the first time.
4. Michael Franti (with Spearhead) celebrates the middle path, taking what you find useful from every philosophy. “The left and the right, they all try to use me”, but he seems to be doing OK. Smooth, funky, slinky and irresistible.
5. Joni Mitchell and her gentleman friend have almost nothing in common except for being in the same place at the same time. They’re not together for very long and their lives make very different demands on their time. But they had fun compromising themselves.
6. “Life’s a game of give and take”. That’s the kind of thing we’re looking for! Thank you, Marvin. It certainly is. Mind you, with a voice like his, he could probably convince me that life is a range of soft cheeses if he wanted to. Balm for the soul.
7. Here’s another celebration of finding life’s middle ground. Dennis Brown has had good times and sorrows and is now just happy if he’s blessed with another day.
8. Swarathma tell a story in the voice of a river, asking the humans to let it flow unhindered so the water can be shared by all. Written in response to the arguments between two states about who owned the rights to the water in times of drought. “Why not everyone?” comes the response.
9. “What you like, what I like. Why can’t we both be right?” Alabama Shakes’ Brittany Howard makes an impassioned plea for tolerance and compromise. Carry on fighting and there’ll be nothing worth winning.
10. A lone voice making the case for refusing to compromise. Although, ironically, there were two versions of the song nominated and this one (by Creedence Clearwater Revival) just won out because I couldn’t compromise and choose both. The message is clear. Only 100% is acceptable. Can love actually be enumerated like this? Answers on a postcard …
11. Tracy Chapman’s lover can’t say the right words. The ones she really wants to hear. “Sorry”, “I love you”. Little things like that. But he can say the words in the title and she’ll settle for that. The stand-out song from her first album that still sounds best from the lady herself after all the numerous cover versions.
12. And finally. “Try to see it my way. I’ll try to see it your way”. That’s the art of compromise in a nutshell. The Beatles, of course. Musically innovative even when making pure pop. And it’s nice to end with a positive message. “We can work it out”.
You know we can, we really can …
Harmonious Accord A-List Playlist:
Björk – Unison
Bugge Wesseltoft (ft Sidsel Endresen) – You Might Say
Jackson Browne – The Pretender
Michael Franti and Spearhead – People in the Middle
Joni Mitchell – Coyote
Marvin Gaye – Life’s a Game of Give and Take
Dennis Brown – Halfway Up, Halfway Down
Swarathma (ft Shubha Mudgal) – Pyaasi
Alabama Shakes – Don’t Wanna Fight
Creedence Clearwater Revival – Ninety-Nine and a Half Won’t Do
Tracy Chapman – Baby Can I Hold You Tonight?
The Beatles – We Can Work it Out
The Bartering and Bargaining B-List Playlist
Lily Bryant – Meet Me Halfway
The Pioneers – Give and Take
Wilson Pickett – Ninety-Nine and a half Won’t Do
Richard Thompson – Pony in the Stable
Hodges, James and Smith – He Did Me Wrong, But He Did Me Right
Rosalia – Me Quedo Contigo
United Bottles – Pickin’ Sides
The Isley Brothers – Love the One You’re With
Ben L’Oncle Soul – Say You’ll Be There
Pretenders – Middle of the Road
Frank Sinatra – It’s All Right With Me
Echo and the Bunnymen – No Dark Things
Guru’s Wildcard Pick:
For those who don’t want to compromise and don’t care who knows it.
Adrian Borland – Walking in the Opposite Direction
These playlists were inspired by readers' song nominations from last week's topic: Meet me in the middle? Songs about compromise. The next topic will launch on Thursday at 1pm UK time.
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