Arthur Hatton: Reflections on three years of Linescratchers

This is me.  My name is Arthur Hatton.

I’m posing with my newest toy – I’ve worked at a guitar shop since 2006 but have only now been able to take home a beautiful, prized possession:  a Martin SWDGT with a Fishman pickup that I installed.  I’m standing next to a painting that I did recently that was inspired by a song by John Wesley (the one who plays for Porcupine Tree) that I have decided to put on the cover of the album I’m currently recording.

I am scheduling this post to go up on June 28th, 2011, which is exactly three years and a day after the very first post of Linescratchers went up.  I have told a little bit of my story to my contributors, and one of them mentioned that it might be interesting and useful to tell the story so far to our readership.  Some of you have only recently discovered Linescratchers.  Just a few of you – and you know who you are – have been with me since the very beginning.  Our contributor Charles has eloquently explained why keeping records is important, so in that spirit, I’d like to tell you the story of Linescratchers from the beginning, complete with the controversial and the embarrassing details that make these things bearable to read.  Hopefully it will give you an idea of what Linescratchers is for, why I started it, and where I want it to go in the future.  Please forgive the long exposition on myself, but it should give you some context. Continue reading “Arthur Hatton: Reflections on three years of Linescratchers”

Arthur Hatton: Reflections on three years of Linescratchers

Was this song really necessary?

I had a discussion with my family over the weekend about lazy songwriters that developed into a discussion about what makes music “good.”  In that discussion, I arrogantly monopolized the conversation in the interest of trying to be funny, which I’m prone to doing, except I think I did it at the expense of my actual ideas, looking like a jerk in the process.  To rectify this, I wanted to write down a few of my thoughts about songwriting here.  If people are going to think I’m a pretentious jerk, I want them to do it for the right reasons. Also, feel free to disagree if you wish (have at it in the comments section).

I showed my uncles a live video of a band called Axis of Awesome who perform a song called “4 Chords” on YouTube, which contains a little profanity, so I won’t link it here (you can search for it yourself if you wish).  Suffice it to say that they write a medley containing about 30 hit pop songs that use the same chord progression (I – V – vi – IV).  Non-musicians may not be able to fully appreciate how this progression is like sandpaper against our ears, but I think the Axis of Awesome at least introduced a lot of people to the problem.  It’s the songwriting equivalent to painting bowls of fruit or watercolor sailboats, and people actually intentionally buy that stuff.

For me, good songwriting can be broken down into two halves: content and delivery. Continue reading “Was this song really necessary?”

Was this song really necessary?