‘To Die For – Murder Songs’ sounded like a fantastic theme upon Magpie’s recommendation. Humorously morbid. A loose pun. Chortle. But when it actually came around to writing for this theme I faced a bit of a problem. Call me oldfashioned for liking music to scale away from the homicidal end of the spectrum, but bar “I Shot the Sheriff” I couldn’t really think of any songs that I knew that were related to murder. My first last resort was to throw in some music from my emotional teenage years (Bullet for my Valentine, anyone?) but I realised I wouldn’t be able to hold my head high as a blogger or adult human being ever again. So in the end I decided that my reluctance was pure laziness.
The moral of the story? Song of the day is about expanding one’s musical horizons! “There are many fantastic songs about murder,” I was told. “You just have to look.” Yet expanding ones musical horizons does, admittedly, require a level of effort I don’t readily expel when overseas with limited internet. So in the end, I met my laziness halfway.
I already love the Beatles. Who doesn’t love the Beatles? But they’re a band immortalised by the sheer volume of music they produced. I fear there might always be a Beatles song I don’t know. So thanks to my previous aversion to songs about murder, and to Magpie’s Song of the Day suggestion, here is one less:
A murder song, you say? Maxwell’s Silver Hammer actually made me laugh. At first it’s gravy, all the major chord progressions of Yellow Submarine or Love Me Do. The lyrics are sickly sweet. Then, out of nowhere, the protagonist is revealed to be a violent medical-student-gone-murderer who favors a hammer as a weapon. Lols. I have found my niche in murder music – murder music that is being ironic about being murder music.
John Mendelsohn had a shot at pinpointing the song’s charm:
McCartney “celebrates the joys of being able to bash in the heads of anyone threatening to bring you down. [He] puts it across perfectly with the coyest imaginable choir-boy innocence.”
Does my fondness for this innocence make me slightly more creepy than if i’d loved murder music to begin with? Maybe.