Monday has arrived – and you know what that means… music! For the month of September, our Spotlight Dancer is our very own Cathy of Curious as a Cathy! The theme she’s selected for this week is “for National Coloring Day song titles/lyrics about art in general – get creative”. Let’s get this colorful artistic party started, shall we?
Let’s start with a song whose words and imagery represent the life, work, and death of Vincent Van Gogh. A Starry Night is one of the Dutch impressionist’s most famous paintings.
This song, and Van Gogh’s painting, reflect what it’s like to be misunderstood. Van Gogh painted “Starry Night” after committing himself to an asylum in 1889. He wrote that night was “more richly colored than the day,” but he couldn’t go outside to see the stars when he was committed, so he painted the night sky from memory. The artist told about the inspiration for the song:
“It was inspired by a book. And it said that it was written by Vincent’s brother, Theo. And Theo also had this illness, the same one Van Gogh had. So what caused the idea to percolate in my head was, first of all, what a beautiful idea for a piece of music. Secondly, I could set the record straight, basically, he wasn’t crazy. But then I thought, well, how do you do this? Again, I wanted to have each thing be different.
I’m looking through the book and fiddling around and I saw the painting. I said, Wow, just tell the story using the color, the imagery, the movement, everything that’s in the painting. Because that’s him more than he is him.
One thing I want to say is that music is like poetry in so many ways. You have wit and drama and humor and pathos and anger and all of these things create the subtle tools that an artist, a stage artist, a good one, uses. Sadly, this has really gone out of music completely. So it makes someone like me a relic, because I am doing things and people like me are doing things that utilize all the classic means of emotional expression.”
Give a listen to Don McLean with “Vincent”:
Next up, this song’s optimistic lyrics were inspired when this artist a trip to a Doug Wheeler art exhibition at a New York gallery. When she found herself in a room bathed in a relaxing, bright blue light, the experience served as an enlightenment.
Everything is heightened now / It’s looking so much brighter now / I was lost and now I’m found / Fell off the merry-go-round
She was homesick for England at the time, and tired of being on the road rather than in one place. She was quoted as saying:
“It was a period of real self-discovery, so when I saw this blue, I had this feeling of happiness. It completely took over. The blue evolution is my version of a happy, peaceful place. It’s about getting yourself to a place of harmony where even when bad stuff does come along and you find yourself in hard times, you can deal with it in a very different way because you’ve discovered this harmony in yourself.”
Here’s Ellie Goulding with “Brightest Blue”:
Next up, this ballad is one of two songs that this artist sings and co-wrote for the Tim Burton movie Big Eyes. Big Eyes focuses on artist Margaret Keane. The American’s 1950s and ’60s paintings of big-eyed children were sold under the name of her then-husband, Walter, who claimed credit for Margaret’s work. This song plays halfway through the film. The film’s producer and co-writer Larry Karaszewski was quoted as saying:
“Women in particular seem to get the movie, and [the artist] really got the movie. The whole thing is about a woman who can’t find her voice.”
The tune plays at a critical juncture during the film.
“It almost becomes a musical. The song expresses what Margaret is feeling so perfectly, it’s like a soliloquy of her inner thoughts.”
I’ve always liked the ‘Big Eyes’ paintings – my favorite aunt owned a couple that were hanging in her bedroom at my grandpa’s house. Every time I had a sleepover there as a kid, I’d stay in her room and admire the paintings.
Without further ado, here’s Lana Del Rey with “Big Eyes”:
The artist included on the song the voices of 10,000 people recorded live in Saratoga Springs, New York. He was quoted as saying:
“In concert, I said, ‘Who wants to be on the new album,’ and what you hear at the end of the song is the audience singing the ‘whoas’. So if you live in Saratoga Springs, and you were at our concert last time, you made the album!”
Fun Fact: The Mona Lisa has no eyebrows as it was the fashion in Renaissance France to shave them off.
Here’s the inimitable Brad Paisley with “The Mona Lisa”:
That’s a wrap for this week – have a great Monday and see you on the dance floor! Please stay safe and healthy!
I have the supreme honor and privilege of being a co-host with the inimitable Xmas Dolly and our musical cohort, the awesome Cathy from Curious as a CAThy, Callie of JAmerican Spice, and Alana of Ramblin’ with AM!
Want to join in the fun? It’s easy – just find a tune that rocks your boat, post it and link up – don’t forget to grab Xmas Dolly…er, um, I mean her button…over at her place here. Check out Xmas Dolly’s sidebar for the random themes we sport each week – and you can always ask for a specific theme of music you like, too. Check out the other music lovahs and let’s jam!
Cathy from Curious as a Cathy