Archive for wordle

sixty seconds make all the difference

five, four, three, two, one… and we’re back.  yes, it’s been a bit of a while since i’ve participated in the so-called “blogging” experience.  but all is well, and here we are once more.  you reading as the reader.  me writing as the writer.  thank goodness.  in honor of this (oh so) special occasion, our friends at wordle.net have provided us (even though they probably aren’t exactly aware of it, as it’s simply what they’re fun little website is designed to do) with an incredible visual representation of the blog consisting of all the words of all the titles of all the posts that have been written here.  that visual wonder looks roughly as follows:

i will admit, it’s not all the words.  i removed the “the”s and “and”s and “of”s and things of that sort.  with the words being sized according to use, those “common words” (as wordle refers to them) monopolized the scene in a rather grand way (and evan o’dorney was not pleased about it).  
 

now that we’ve passed through the niceties, on to business (please note, however, how eerily similar the word “niceties” is to the phrase “nice ties”.  coincidence?  i think not).  apparently, from what i’m told, sixty seconds make all the difference.  that’s what the title says at least, so i guess i’ll have to make something up that’s goes along with it (i’ll admit here and now before the world that the title “sixty seconds make all the difference” is not as random as i have implied.  in fact, it was quiet unrandom and i chose it myself.  that concept would be quite interesting, though.  making a blogger [“writer of a blog and/or blogs” for all the laymen in attendance] write something based on pre-determined or randomized titles could create some rather fascinating [and hopefully humorous] cyberspace literature.  it’s certainly something to ponder for the future).  let’s see what we can come up with.

 

well, i suppose this will do.  four minutes.  not very long at all.  but compared to say three minutes, it’s quite a long time (with three minutes being only about three quarters of four minutes.  roughly).  that in itself gives four quite the advantage over three.  so it makes sense then that four would be so much more popular than three is (just to throw in a side note here to make you all the more confused before i begin to actually get to my point, the number two-thousand is reported [by the secret lives of numbers] to be the most popular of all numbers.  sadly, both three and four are so unpopular that proper statistics are not given for either). what i’m talking about (of course) are songs.  specifically, two songs that happen to be named “four minutes” and “three minute song“.  conveniently (and definitely not intentionally) they run (approximately) the length of their titles.  one of these songs has well-crafted lyrics, a catchy melody, rocking guitar, and an inspired message.  the other, a synthesized beat and lyrics that talk about… something.    one of these songs was a hit.  the other note so much.  well-crafted, catchy, rocking, inspired… sounds like a hit to me. but as you (being the uber-intuitive reader that you are) may (or may not) have guessed, that’s not the case.  the hit:  four minutes, as performed by madonna (featuring justin timberlake and timbaland).  the not-so-hit:  three minute song, as performed by that guy you’ve never heard of, also known as josh wilson.

 

now the interesting part of this sixty second song difference is certainly not length.  if that were the case and that was the best thing i could come up with to write about, we would certainly all be rather doomed. the interesting part, in my opinion, is that on the most basic of levels, these two songs are pretty much the same.  i’ll offer you these snippets.  the chorus in the tune by madonna and mr. timberlake states “time is waiting / we only got four minutes to save the world / no hesitating / grab a boy, grab a girl / time is waiting / we only got four minutes to save the world / no hesitating / we only got four minutes, four minutes”.  your basic claim here seems to imply that with the song only being four minutes long, they only have four minutes to make whatever hugely important point it is that they’re trying to make.  mr. wilson counters with “i just don’t have the words to say, cause words only get in my way /i must apologize, i have the hardest time / finding something to define a god that i can’t define / and even if i could, it would take way too long / if all i’ve got’s a three minute song”.  explaining god is quite the task.  especially since there are so many around.  for the sake of ease, i’ll let you in on the little hint that josh wilson is one of those christians.  now, there are approximately 2,039,000,000 christians in the world (according to the wonderful people over at religioustolerance.org), probably about zero of them could give you a full and complete explanation of god and all his workings.  that being said, an explanation of god (which is akin to “trying to fit the ocean in a cup”, as josh puts it), if someone had one, would be a hugely important thing.  and that’s what josh’s song is getting at.  and there it is.  these two songs are both about the same thing: trying to say it all in no time at all.

 

that’s quite a valiant quest, if you ask me.  the problem is that when you take a closer look at the songs, the valiance ends quite quickly.  well, for one at least (bet you can’t guess which).  “three minute song” is the catchy, inspiring one, and the message is fantastic.  it doesn’t pretend to be anything other than exactly what it is: an confession that you really can’t define god, especially in only three minutes on the radio.  “four minutes” on the other hand is all about smoke and mirrors (which in actuality is somewhat impressive considering it’s in an audio format that makes the visual aspects of both the smoke and the mirrors completely null and void).  the chorus (as we’ve seen) is cute.  it makes a nice point.  the rest of the song, though, has absolutely nothing to do with that.  in fact, it doesn’t really have much to do with anything.  it’s kind of about madonna and justin wanting to have sex.  maybe.  or maybe not.  it’s hard to tell.  madonna made the following statement about it: “if you’re paying attention to what’s going on in the world – the middle east, the u.s. election, the environment, there’s so much chaos and turmoil everywhere. are you going to be part of the problem or part of the solution? but people also need to be cheered up. we also need to have fun and be given a sense of hope.”  in my opinion, that thought was going so well.  and then she realized the song had nothing to do with any of those important things and had to throw some “fun” (yippee!) in there at the end.  personally the grand and wise master “seewa” on songmeanings.net gets it perfectly at the end of his comment on the song’s meaning: “hard to explain it all but I know what I’m talking about”.

 

the situation that we have encountered is certainly not a rare one.  there are plenty of hit songs released year after year that talk about absolutely nothing at all.  so why pick on madonna (and justin [and timbaland])?  basically, she (and/or they) was (and/or were) in the wrong place at the wrong time.  i came across these two songs around the same time, and their similarities struck a chord in my mind.  a closer inspection then created the opinions we’ve encountered.  in my mind, though, it’s definitely a problematic situation that goes far beyond a single artist (or two [or three]).  this madonna tune is a hit song that has gone platinum in australia, canada, denmark, norway spain, and the united states (thanks for the help mr. wikipedia).  josh wilson?  well, his myspace page clocks “three minute song” at 22,189 clicks at the moment.  does that qualify for platinum?  not exactly.

 

so the good song will never be heard by most everyone around.  and the not nearly as good song has been heard by just about everyone.  fair?  not quite.  normal?  most certainly.  i will admit that madonna has paid her dues.  radio stations will probably play just about anything someone records after they’ve been pumping out hit records for over twenty years.  sadly, josh wilson has yet to climb to that height in the industry.  in fact, he might still be looking at his map, trying to figure out where exactly the mountain is.  but we can have hope.  both for mr. wilson’s future (by the way, he has an absurdly cool rendition of “amazing grace” that you really need to check out) and that the music business will someday be a fair and just place to make art (yeah, that’s it).  if anything at all can be taken from our discussion, however, it’s this:  don’t ever challenge madonna to a song length competition.  she’s a professional.  and she’ll take you down.

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