A recurring theme of Message Machine (or these introductory write ups, at least) is my desire for, and lack of, tangible musical skill and creativity. I don’t have it. But damnit, I want it. And I don’t think I’m alone here. Everyone and their stepsister take a bit of pleasure in singing in the shower, tinkering with a guitar at a friend’s house for a bit too long, or maybe even collecting a graveyard of old music equipment laying around in their closet (a relic of dreams set aside and ideas not yet unpacked). Even my own dad, when asked what his dream job would be, answered “rock star” without hesitation. Music has a unique ability to feel attainable and relatable; a well-written song feels like it’s about you, and makes you feel like you could have made it yourself. It’s the same feeling I would get as a kid watching skate videos of Daewon Song landing an impossibly hard flip or Paul Pierce running down the clock only to drain a last-second three: I want to do that!
Again – I think everyone can relate, and even musicians themselves aren’t immune. Just because you have a special gift for crafting melodies doesn’t mean there aren’t songs out there you wish you’d conjured up first. This episode is about just that: songs you wish you wrote: tunes that are so good you wish you’d penned them yourself. As expected, our guests have woven together an unexpected quilt of music selections, spanning renowned hits to dusty rarities, stitched with a variety of technicolor explanations and anecdotes. Some picks seem just out of reach, whether it’s Jess and Holly of the band Lucius sitting in the studio wishing they could write like Dolly Parton, or Whitmer Thomas and Ryan Power finding a song so personally relevant, it could have been about them. Other selections come from a place of pure admiration: songwriter Francesca Blanchard, Knower’s Geneveive Artadi, and French songstress Penelope Antena fawning over each detail and note of their song of choice. Perhaps most relatable to a non-musician like myself, a few guests express respect for creations completely outside their wheelhouse. You’ll find Joe McKee, creator of divine ethereal cinematic orchestrations, describing his sincere appreciation for a party recording chock-full of vivid sexual euphemisms.
We hope you enjoy listening to this episode as much as we enjoyed compiling it, and if all goes according to plan, you might see a piece of yourself in some of these selections. Maybe you’ll even pick up a guitar or piano and try your hand at composing a masterpiece. If you do, please let me know-- I’m always trying to get a leg up on my uber-talented fellow KCRW DJs. Did we miss a song on this episode? Don’t be afraid to tell me over Twitter or Instagram– you might just end up on my message machine.
Until next time…