Monday, 4 April 2011

Day 21: Hey Mark, you're messing up the paintwork.

I love this one, a mish-mash of sounds, which comes off as an abstract collage of taped sounds, as well as being a nice laid-back Fall song. It has excerpts of conversation and what sounds like a dictaphone recording of the telly.

Song: Paintwork
Album: This Nation's Saving Grace

Year: 1985

So this appears on TNSG, which is becoming one of my favourites as this blog trundles along, this is an inventive yet disorienting track, not only do we have some lovely strummed acoustic passages with Mark delivering his vocals down what sounds like a phone, but constant shifts in volume and clarity, which makes it a little bit un-nerving. There are parts where it drops out completely to give way to a snatched piece of taped sound, whether studio conversation or samples of strange strings, but it remains entirely listenable. Even when Mark overdubs some vocals in parts and some of those seem to be unintelligible mumbles, its a menagerie of sounds that all come together.

The lyrics are something else, as so often is the case, his lyrics seem to be simplistic, the repetition of "Hey Mark, you're spoiling all the paintwork" being the obvious part here, but quite honestly, you can read so much into this, is this people's comments about his ability to keep a band together for very long (ruining his paintwork?) or could it be a lyrical take on how he doesn't care what impression he is leaving, so long as he is remembered. My view is that he is almost telling people who may be trying to give him advice that he doesn't need it, he doesn't care what people think, as so often is his wont, he rarely gives away any ideas or impressions of what his lyrics are about, similarly he has no time for journalists asking him about the music or where he sees it going, often laughing or being deliberately obtuse when he gives answers (see the liner notes to the live album In A Hole, where he gives about 1% of his attention to answering any questions at all).

Again, MES can confuse and charm with one hand, striking out with the other, don't think I'll ever understand him fully, but he's a fascinating person to be writing about.

1 comment:

  1. The drop out piece was a problem with the four track recorder that Mark E. Smith was listening to the song on whilst the television was on. He said that instead of re-recording it he would leave it in. If you listen very carefully there is a drum machine on this track as well, something that the Fall don't do very often. When this album came out a friend of mine said "Well that's the Fall's Rolling Stone LP!" but I don't see it myself!