'Helpless' vs 'Life On Mars'

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?

H
10
21%
LoM
38
79%
 
Total votes: 48

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Goat Boy
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Re: 'Helpless' vs 'Life On Mars'

Postby Goat Boy » 20 Nov 2017, 08:21

:)
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Re: 'Helpless' vs 'Life On Mars'

Postby Diamond Dog » 20 Nov 2017, 08:37

Dr. E. PLATE wrote:Remember - funereal pace, generic chord sequence (D A G, say), and an uninspired vocal melody that closely follows the chords.

Look forward to it!


Take out that pesky G chord, and you'd have everything The Fall ever churned out. Magic!
So you're living in Eden where, apples are good
But every narrow miracle, takes place on Earth
Yeah, some militia have arrived and, the percussion has come
And they're pounding out messages loud on the drum

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Re: 'Helpless' vs 'Life On Mars'

Postby Osgood » 20 Nov 2017, 08:39

Davey the Fat Boy wrote:If you go back over this thread there are a lot of dismissals of Helpless on the basis of its perceived lack of sophistication.



I think you're wrong there. It's not its simplicity but its lack of ... I'm not sure how to call it, let's say emotional hook. I guess most of us would rate Helpless below Bo Didley's Who Do You Love, which, in spite of being a single chord song, somehow manages to hold the interest of the listener.

About LoM, just the tiny bit of piano that goes between Oh man, look at those cavemen go and It's the freakiest show has more to give than the the full 3:30 of NY dirge.
Last edited by Osgood on 20 Nov 2017, 12:07, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 'Helpless' vs 'Life On Mars'

Postby The Unfragrant Ox » 20 Nov 2017, 08:49

Diamond Dog wrote:
Dr. E. PLATE wrote:Remember - funereal pace, generic chord sequence (D A G, say), and an uninspired vocal melody that closely follows the chords.

Look forward to it!


Take out that pesky G chord, and you'd have everything The Fall ever churned out. Magic!


HA!
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Re: 'Helpless' vs 'Life On Mars'

Postby Robert » 20 Nov 2017, 08:55


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Re: 'Helpless' vs 'Life On Mars'

Postby Bent Fabric » 20 Nov 2017, 15:04

Davey the Fat Boy wrote:Whatever ego was involved in Webb’s ambitions for that song, it isn’t written to fit into some shtick about being an alien pop star character of some point.


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Re: 'Helpless' vs 'Life On Mars'

Postby George P. Smackers » 20 Nov 2017, 16:27

It's funny how liking one song better than another can turn into animosity and disdain toward the less liked one.

I don't much feel like voting in this poll. I like "Helpless" fine. I feel an emotional enough hook from it.

As is always the case with me, the lyric affects how I hear the music. I.e. the chord progression, the melody, the vocal etc. So all those things sound plaintive and nostalgic to me no doubt because the song is about childhood in a remote place that is entirely unimportant and yet vastly important to the singer. The idea of being "helpless"--and helpless in respect to what is an engaging question--is moving enough to me.

So there's plenty to like about the song. But it's hard to put it up against "Life on Mars." That's got a kind of grandeur and (as people have pointed out) an intricate melody that makes a statement, and the lyrics also are suggestive and mysterious in a totally successful way.

I'm not sure I'd put any of Neil Young's songs up against it, especially not any of his big "statement" ones (like "Keep on Rockin' in the Free World").

The songs by him I like the most are smaller in scale, so they don't compete well in these comparisons. I love things like "Albuquerque" which is intimate, has a fairly simple progression, yet is highly evocative to me (even though I've never "rolled a number" in my life). Comparing it to a Bowie showpiece song seems like a kind of category mistake.

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Re: 'Helpless' vs 'Life On Mars'

Postby Davey the Fat Boy » 20 Nov 2017, 16:44

Well...I never really intended to compare them as songs (or as records...which is what always happens here). We were talking about melody in the other thread, and I purposefully compared these two to make the argument that a simple melody can be as moving as a more crafted melody.

I’ve listened to both tracks a dozen times since we’ve been discussing this, and I’m still convinced that Helpless delivers more of an emotional wallop. I say that without having to tear down Life on Mars at all...I still think it’s an incredible record. It just doesn’t move me as much. As a pure melody, I honestly don’t think it’s any better.

Ultimately though...I don’t care what people think about either song. I’m not in line for royalties. The larger point remains.
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Re: 'Helpless' vs 'Life On Mars'

Postby Harvey K-Tel » 20 Nov 2017, 16:45

George P. Smackers wrote:I've never "rolled a number" in my life


C'mon, George. Get with it, man!
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Re: 'Helpless' vs 'Life On Mars'

Postby George P. Smackers » 20 Nov 2017, 19:52

Harvey K-Tel wrote:
George P. Smackers wrote:I've never "rolled a number" in my life


C'mon, George. Get with it, man!


Is it still good now that it's legal? I think I missed the boat.

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Re: 'Helpless' vs 'Life On Mars'

Postby trans-chigley express » 21 Nov 2017, 04:23

toomanyhatz wrote:Actually, I did miss the quote where Coan says that musically it is exactly the kind of thing anybody could write. But he's wrong. :lol:

He also said "Life on Mars" doesn't have a melody you can whistle. He's wrong about that too.


Maybe he's just really bad at whistling

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Re: 'Helpless' vs 'Life On Mars'

Postby Davey the Fat Boy » 21 Nov 2017, 06:10

I just tried whistling it. I’m exhausted.
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Re: 'Helpless' vs 'Life On Mars'

Postby sloopjohnc » 22 Nov 2017, 00:14

Davey the Fat Boy wrote:I just tried whistling it. I’m exhausted.


Maybe you should try some jumping jacks every once in awhile.
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Re: 'Helpless' vs 'Life On Mars'

Postby Minnie the Minx » 22 Nov 2017, 13:01

When you re-read this thread, what basically jumps out at you primarily is how angry Davey gets at David Bowie for being David Bowie which seems as hilarious at getting annoyed at a flower for having petals.
Oooh he's all fancy! Ooh he has to do this that and the other! Why can't he just do this instead? Grrr that David *shakes fist*
:D
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Re: 'Helpless' vs 'Life On Mars'

Postby Davey the Fat Boy » 22 Nov 2017, 13:09

That’s not true. I voted for Bowie on the Bowie vs. Neil thread (though I keep second guessing that vote), and conceded the greatness of LOM from the getgo here!

Anyhow...nothing said on BCB gets me angry. I’d have to care a lot more than I do. But the general blithe sense of dismissiveness coming the other way IS annoying.
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Re: 'Helpless' vs 'Life On Mars'

Postby kewl klive » 22 Nov 2017, 13:09

Anyway...
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Re: 'Helpless' vs 'Life On Mars'

Postby Minnie the Minx » 29 Nov 2017, 02:57

Robert wrote:
Minnie the Minx wrote:
Robert wrote:
Of course LOM wins this hands hands down. Nevertheless, Hepless is still a considerable song / certianly not a song anybody can come up with through mere persistence.


Give me ten years and I bet I can!
Meet you here in 2027!


That’s the spirit!!

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Anna


It didn't even take that long. I just finished writing a song tonight that is better than Helpless! So there!
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Re: 'Helpless' vs 'Life On Mars'

Postby Davey the Fat Boy » 29 Nov 2017, 04:15

Post it!
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Re: 'Helpless' vs 'Life On Mars'

Postby Minnie the Minx » 29 Nov 2017, 04:20

What, and have you nick it? No way!
You can wait till it's number 1 in the popular music charts like everyone else!
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Re: 'Helpless' vs 'Life On Mars'

Postby Davey the Fat Boy » 29 Nov 2017, 04:24

So it’s Ed Sheeran good, eh?
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