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March 25, 2011 / John Sieger

Miss Brown

Click: Miss Brown

Do you have to understand a song to like it? I’m not sure you do. Understanding is a funny word—in fact, it’s sort of hard to understand it. In some cases your emotional understanding is instant while your mind is searching desperately to grasp any meaning at all. In some of those cases you might tell yourself over and over that what you are hearing is not a good song, that it is simply nonsense, but you find yourself wanting to hear it again. I have had that experience with certain vague, shall we say ‘poetic’, artists like REM or Talking Heads era David Byrne. Elvis Costello has been inscrutable a lot of the time, and I’ve always gone along with that. I figured he knows what he’s talking about, so I’ll I trust him. But lately something has changed and I don’t feel his songs the way I used to. They seem more intellectual and less emotional. This disconnect between thought and emotion can also happen when you write. I didn’t intend to make this song vague and dreamy, but I felt something there I needed to work with. It seemed good enough to finish at the time and listening to it now it still evokes what I felt back then, so I have to stand by it. It hints at a story of distress—the wolves are running on the next street over. Better duck inside until the danger is gone! Combine that distress with the laconic tempo and tune, add the mysterious name “Miss Brown,” and you are left with a few nagging questions. Who is she anyway? What’s going on here? Why don’t I know what I’m writing about? Why do I not mind? Question marks are like Velcro. There’s a another name for them—hooks. If I ever figure this out, I’ll share, till then I’ll enjoy the tune in it’s current mysterious form.

© 2011 John Sieger


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