Under The Influence Episode 1:  Billie The Vision & The Dancers

So here we are, the first of a series of exposés that delve into the musicians and music that has had a profound influence on my life and writing. When I first thought about starting this series I figured I would start at the very beginning, because as Julie Andrews once sang, "it's a very good place to start." However, that would be too obvious and if you know me well I'm sure you could easily guess who my first influence was/is. Any ways, I'll go ahead and buck the trend and start with a band that has influenced me more recently.  

Billie The Vision & The Dancers, a Swedish group from Malmö, won over my heart with their light, airy, and downright tropical (at times) style of music. Brainchild of the skirt and nylon donning Lars Linquist, the group has been active since ~2003 and has released a series of albums that lyrically and musically revolve around a character named, "Pablo Diablo." Pablo is clearly a reflection of Linquist but also the people he himself has been influenced by both real and fictional. The group's second album, "The World According to Pablo" (2005), not to be confused with Kanye's similarly named album, sees the titular character lost deep in a depression caught between the person he wants to be and the person everybody around him expects him to be.   

A clear standout track, "A Man From Argentina." sees Pablo on the path toward reforming his prior debaucherous lifestyle which he obviously misses. As the song jauntily rolls into the chorus he proclaims, "Catherine says, "Mono's coming on Friday and I must be the happiest girl in the world" I'm thinking I wanna be you I wanna be you I wanna be you, you, you. So send me a man from Argentina, to make me the happiest girl in the world So come to me on Friday, or Saturday, or Sunday, but I can't wait 'til Monday" The simplicity of the lyrics and the tone of the music struck a deep emotional chord with me. I think most of us at times envy others happiness so much so that you'd like to switch places with them. It's something that I've been guilty of in the past and continue to shamelessly do to this day.   

From a composers perspective, Billie The Vision & The Dancers reminded me of two critical things: 1. You don't need to write dense heavy melancholic music to get a deep emotional response, and 2. Lyrical simplicity can often be the most effective when trying to convey human emotion.   

Any ways, the goal of my new musical endeavors is to be more lighthearted, to embrace my early musical upbringing, and to use drums and percussion more sparingly. I know I haven't exactly stuck to those rules right out of the gate but that is something I want to strive for. I hope you will listen to the linked song below and feel touched or inspired in the way I am.   

Cheers everyone,  
Matthew 

Billie The Vision & The Dancers' "A Man From Argentina" 
https://youtu.be/975JYaIkcIg

Leave a comment