Tag Archives: books

Lana Del Rey’s ‘Ultraviolence’ Inspiration from Burgess’ ‘A Clockwork Orage’

Clockwork_orangeFor many, Lana Del Rey had glorified domestic violence in her 2014 song ‘Ultraviolence’ from her third album of the same name.

But before her critics voiced their concerns over lyrics such as…

He hit me and it felt like a kiss
I can hear violins, violins
Give me all of that ultraviolence

 

…there was much celebration from the foundation for Anthony Burgess, an English writer who coined the term ultra-violence in his most popular dystopian novel A Clockwork Orange. The term was commonly used by the book’s protagonist Alex, and his “droogs,” who would go on a rampage of violence.

While Lana Del Rey’s song isn’t a direct reference to the novel, which was originally 220px-Ultraviolencesinglepublished in 1962, the single’s title was lifted from Alex’s lexicon.

“We’ve definitely heard about Lana’s choice to title her record Ultraviolence,” Clare Preston-Pollitt, events and marketing officer at the International Anthony Burgess Foundation, told MTV News in May 2014. “We picked up on it some time ago and we were intrigued by it … It’s fantastic that ‘A Clockwork Orange’ is still providing inspiration to such a diverse range of artists around the world over 50 years since its original publication.”

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Alt-J Inspired by Childhood Book, Where the Wild Things Are

Where_The_Wild_Things_Are_(book)_cover.jpgLike many of us, the band members of British indie rock band Alt-J read the beloved children’s book Where the Wild Things Are.

The book, which was published in 1963 and written and illustrated by Maurice Sendak, inspired the band’s single “Breezeblocks,” — a song from their 2012 debut studio album An Awesome Wave.

In a talk with the magazine Interview, Alt-J’s frontman, Joe Newman, goes into some detail of how Sendak’s most famous book inspired the band’s song.

“The song is about liking someone who you want so much that you want to hurt yourself and them, as well,” he said, according to a June 2012 article.  “We related that idea to Where the Wild Things Are, which we all grew up reading, where in the end the beast say, ‘Oh, please don’t go! We’ll eat you whole! We love you so!”

Breezeblocks

Cover art for the single “Breezeblocks.”

In the last verse of the song, he sings:

“Please don’t go, I’ll eat you whole
I love you so, I love you, so I love you so
Please don’t go I’ll eat you whole
I love you so, I love you so, I love you so, I love you so”

And in the second verse, he mentions the book’s title: “Do you know where the wild things go?”

 

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J.D. Salinger’s Short Story Inspired The Cure’s Robert Smith

NineStoriesPJ Harvey wasn’t the only English musician to get inspiration from J.D. Salinger’s short story “A Perfect Day for Bananafish.”

The Cure’s singer Robert Smith titled the song Bananafishbones with Salinger’s short story in mind. The song was released in the album The Top in 1984. The New Yorker originally published the story in 1948, but later collected in Salinger’s 1953 book Nine Stories.

“The title (for the song), for some no-reason, from ‘a perfect day for bananafish’ – a short story by j d salinger .. again me hating myself,” Smith said according to the Cure News, a 1990 fan-produced newsletter.

[audio http://a.tumblr.com/tumblr_mcvtnoFRIg1rzbts1o1.mp3]

As incoherent as that respond is, Smith had great respect for Salinger, who was a recluse. In an interview with French magazine Rock and Folk, the singer said he was impressed by Salinger’s lifestyle and writings.

The_Cure_-_The_Top“He’s a character that I admire and that intrigues me also; isolating himself from the world, living as a recluse in a monastery, giving up writing and refusing any contact with the outside, it’s fascinating,” Smith said of Salinger in 2003.

Smith continues: “Sometimes as I look back at myself as a teenager, reading Salinger…it makes me want to laugh. But it would be a pathetic reaction, typical of a mocking father facing his child’s first emotions. The amazement is too pure to be laughed at. Authors for teenagers are considered as caricatures.”

This isn’t the only literature-inspired tune that Smith has written. In fact, many of his songs allude to classic literature. For example, Killing an Arab’s lyrics retell french author Albert Camus’ story the Stranger.

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Elliott Murphy’s Tribute To F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby

Gatsby_1925_jacketThe Jay-Z-produced soundtrack to the new Great Gatsby film gave the opportunity to contemporary artists to pay tribute to one of the most acclaimed novels in literature.

But before the Great Gatsby was cool, singer-songwriter Elliott Murphy had already lionized the book by writing a song titled “Like a Great Gatsby.” The tune was released in his debut album Aquashow, in 1973.

The reason why he idolizes the book’s author F. Scott Fitzgerald so much he says, according to the culture site Critical Mob: “On one level there was just the tragedy of his life – he is really the Van Gogh of authors, in that when he died he was so unknown there were still copies of the first edition of The Great Gatsby in  Scribner’s [the book-publishing company] warehouse, it wasn’t very successful. And that he kept at it, I think I found that inspiring.”

Murphy is from Long Island, New York, where the novel takes places.  That’s only one of the few things he finds in common with what he calls “my favorite writer, my literary hero.”

“Also, Gatsby took place in Long Island; I was from Long Island, and I think he dealt with this question of what it is to be an American, and I identified with that as well,” Murphy explained.

To show how much he idolizes the book, in his debut album cover he is pictured with a white Gatsby-like suit at the Palm Court of the Plaza Hotel, where some scenes took place in the novel.

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