Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Answer #43 - D-Minor, the Saddest of all Keys

"Do you think Chocolate Paper Suites is your darkest album to date?", asked the journalist yesterday.

"Uh.. no."

Well, I don't.  I don't think it's particularly dark.  I didn't think Mudshow was, either.

Dark.  Hm...

I don't even think there's a single song that's consistently in minor - although the only one that does cross over into a minor key does, in fact, cross into D-minor, the saddest of all keys.

This may be why the question was asked... But I could argue - "Yeah, it's in D-minor - just the one song - but it's in 5/4! And Surely that makes up for the devastating darkness of D!  Lots of colorful imagery - oranges falling like rain, scarecrows with brambleberry eyes full of butterflies...

From terraces of bone and purple cobblestone, 
the waltzing angels wish on coins and silverfish!"

What's dark about that? There are waltzing angels for God's sake!

Here's dark: 
ERE you but lying cold and dead,
And lights were paling out of the West,
You would come hither, and bend your head,
And I would lay my head on your breast
And you would murmur tender words,
Forgiving me, because you were dead - William Butler Yeats

I could have said.  
But I didn't.  I never do until the next day, when I replay the whole event in my head and the reporter isn't on the phone, but rather, is wearing a zoot suit and I'm wearing a feather boa and playing in a piano bar, with one of those long cigarette holders.  And I'm quippy.  God, am I quippy in that boa with a glass of warm bourbon in my hand...
Anyway - point is,  
What is the fine line that separates a 'dark' song from a 'light' song?
Clearly it's not the color of the key, unless of course that key is D-Minor.  It must have something to do with oranges.  Or possibly humans.  Is it possible that an element of darkness finds its way into a song when humans are involved in the song somehow...?

I'll have to think on this.  In the meanwhile, I'll stay away from D-Minor. And possibly oranges.




  1. Dark? Journalists' practice of asking that type of question is dark, and deserves to be answered with a warm smile and a monosyllable. Joy. In my opinion, there is such joy in the listening!

  2. Had said journalist listened to the cd? I'm not saying that the performer is not the darkest of creatures met in the darkest of nights, but the album? Not so much :-) A little on the light side, even. Were you being interviewed by someone who had just spent a few weeks with Jessica Simpson? Maybe dark is relative. I find her brightness (not intellectually, obviously) dark. And she never performs in D-Minor.


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