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    stephin merritt Quotes

    I'm not too sure if I have a very smart approach to revealing my life. Luckily, I doubt if many people really care about my life that much.
    — Stephin Merritt
    tags: smart  people  doubt  care 
     
    There are so many clichés in the world, especially in music, that it's a never-ending creative font to just bring two of them together and let them interact.
    — Stephin Merritt
    tags: world  music  creative 
     
    I write songs by sitting around in bars, so drinking songs are a little obvious. It's surprising that I don't write entirely drinking songs, since I am, in fact, drinking while writing the song. Drinking and love are the two principal sources of pleasure outside of music. There's only so many sources of pleasure, really. That's about it. Well, there are other arts as well. But none of them are as pleasurable as music, on a physical level.
    — Stephin Merritt
    If you want to write a love song, you need to not try to write it for a particular person in a particular situation. It needs to be vague, otherwise you're going to fall into trap after trap of trying to rhyme with somebody's name. Keep it vague.
    — Stephin Merritt
    tags: people  song  write  vague  rhyme 
     
    I don't think there are any clichés I try to avoid. As soon as I spot a cliché, I go for it. I feel like clichés are the most useful thing in songwriting. They're the tool on which you build all the rest of the song.
    — Stephin Merritt
    tags: song 
     
    You know, most love songs are not cheesy and corny. Most love songs are complaints, I think. Or about unrequited love, coming at it from some oblique angle. Only the ones that say "I love you" over and over are the cheesy, corny ones that people complain about
    — Stephin Merritt
    tags: people  song 
     
    That seems like one of the differences in expectations of "serious" and "popular" music that you can actually depend on the liner notes to explain yourself? Yeah. Whereas in popular music you depend on photo shoots. A hardcore band who looked like Duran Duran would have to depend upon those liner notes.
    — Stephin Merritt
    tags: expectation  music  photo 
     
    Okay, a truly great song is a song that makes its own aesthetic intentions clear and then lives up to them and exceeds them in an interesting way. Alright?
    — Stephin Merritt
    tags: live  song 
     
    There are only so many instruments you can layer on top of each other that aren't perfectly electronically programmed. "Long Vermont Roads" just cannot be performed live, because it's just too cluttered if it's played by humans. Synthesizers stay out of each other's way in a way that hand-played instruments never can.
    — Stephin Merritt
    tags: live 
     
    Well, hardcore is so much about the body, in that you have to play as fast as possible. I'm not sure it can be ironized. You can't play faster, though I suppose that with the help of electronics you could play faster. Yeah, if you sped it up, that could ironize it.
    — Stephin Merritt
    tags: body  help 
     
    If you start out with a song sounding like Britney Spears, and you end up with a song sounding like Pauline Oliveros, you'd better have pretty good liner notes explaining what on earth you mean.
    — Stephin Merritt
    tags: earth  song 
     
    The adventure is when people don't know what they're doing at all. Like, I think that the first pop band to use synthesizers as their main instrument and take it seriously was probably Silver Apples. And they sure didn't know what they were doing, and they sure don't sound like anything else.
    — Stephin Merritt
    tags: people  adventure 
     
    There's a whole kind of melancholy that you can only attain with reverb. That's an example of a technology introducing a whole new meaning.
    — Stephin Merritt
    I think there is such a valid concept as "serious music," meaning that if you don't take it seriously, you don't get it all.
    — Stephin Merritt
    tags: meaning 
     
    My mother was into folk-rock when I was little, so I think of folk-rock as the norm from which everything else deviates. Of course, that's completely preposterous, but that's how I grew up. What is the norm by which to judge wordiness? I think I'm less wordy than Madonna.
    — Stephin Merritt
    tags: mother 
     
    I actually prefer to hear small groups of instruments. Orchestras seem to lack a texture for me, or variety of texture. There's only about ten things you can do with one note in a string section. But a lone violin is continuously changing textures.
    — Stephin Merritt
    If the songs were in lumps, then you would expect to understand what was going on in the plot. Which is not a realistic goal. And also the instrumentation is different for every show, so it's more varied sonically. And people are free to make up their own plots, of course. There are pretty dense and complicated plots, and they're simple songs.
    — Stephin Merritt
    tags: people  song  goal 
     
    There's already a great deal to do writing the songs. And if I were completely in control of it, nobody would be able to say "this song doesn't work."
    — Stephin Merritt
    tags: control  song  writing 
     
    Popular music of the last 50 years has failed to keep in step with advances in musical theater, namely Stephen Sondheim. But the two have grown apart so that popular music is based more than ever on a rhythmic grid that is irrelevant in musical theater. In popular music, words matter less and less. Especially now that it's so international, the fewer words the better. While theater music becomes more and more confined to a few blocks in midtown.
    — Stephin Merritt
    tags: music  year 
     
    Serious music isn't listened to in a casual setting. You don't want to listen to that in headphones on the subway.
    — Stephin Merritt
    tags: music 
     
    Well, there are certainly original things to say. But I'm not sure that a pop song is the appropriate format to say them in.
    — Stephin Merritt
    tags: song 
     
    Never try to do anything artistic when you're feeling something overwhelming. It's like driving a car: If you're experiencing road rage, pull over.
    — Stephin Merritt
    At first I was laboring under the impression that Chinese lyrics didn't rhyme. That turned out to be untrue - they don't rhyme in translation.
    — Stephin Merritt
    tags: lyrics  rhyme 
     
    I gave up music criticism because of the increasingly obvious conflict of interest. I couldn't say anything bad about the records when I might be meeting that person's manager backstage an hour later.
    — Stephin Merritt
    I don't remember things initially when listening to music. Like, I don't remember where I first heard a song, I don't have nostalgic attachment to a song in that it reminds me of such and such a time or place. I think I probably did experience that somewhat when I was not a full-time, professional musician, but I don't think music works that way for people who are in it constantly.
    — Stephin Merritt
    I would say that the evocative qualities of music are usually put there in post-production in the reverb. It's really not much about the musicians as the engineering. It's post-production that's being done by the musician at the time.
    — Stephin Merritt
    tags: time  music  quality 
     
    Surf is that music which is entirely about evoking something. There's never any vocals, so it's not about the lyrics, it's about the reverb.
    — Stephin Merritt
    tags: music  lyrics 
     
    I can imagine lyrics becoming better written by smart machines rather than stupid musicians. Songwriters generally have nothing to say. They may as well be replaced by machines.
    — Stephin Merritt
    tags: smart  lyrics  machine  imagine 
     
    My mother says I have boring percussion.
    — Stephin Merritt
    tags: mother 
     
    Yeah, except that when I write pop songs I have pretty strict constraints that I impose on myself. 69 Love Songs is a constraint. That the titles have to begin with "I'"s is a relatively strict constraint. Charm of the Highway Strip is all travel songs. And I am free to change the plot slightly to accommodate something that happens to rhyme conveniently.
    — Stephin Merritt
    tags: travel  song  write  charm  rhyme 
     
    When you're making a singular pop song, you don't really need any subject matter. You just sort of say, "Uh, I love you." And then you try to figure out some rhyme for that, and there never is one.
    — Stephin Merritt
    tags: song  rhyme 
     
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