Well, here’s an exciting surprise sitting in my YouTube list – Doc Brown has made a rap video based on Ben Aaronovitch‘s Rivers of London. A musician I admire rapping about a book I enjoyed? Sounds good to me. And Doc Brown seems a perfect choice to portray Aaronovitch’s supernatural cop Peter Grant. Lets give it a go.
Alright, I admit, I thought that was only OK. The best rap evokes powerful emotions, and that didn’t. The best story songs either evoke a strong sense of atmosphere or tell a condensed tale from beginning to end, and that sat uncomfortably somewhere in between, not really achieving either. Brown’s direct lyrical style is better suited to comedy than to this. Exhibit A, My Proper Tea:
I am still very glad that this track exists. I love when artists in one medium respond to a work in another. I think it’s fantastic that we’re now hearing really good music on nerdy themes. And much as I love Steam Powered Giraffe or listening to Christopher Lee doing heavy metal history songs, I don’t want the music of the fantastical to all be created by white guys with guitars.*
Having said that, lets take a moment for one of those Christopher Lee tracks:
I would rather live in a world full of exciting and varied failures than one where everything succeeds in the same way. I would rather listen to something flawed but unusual like this than anything Kanye West or Oasis have ever produced. I’ll take the experiments that don’t quite work if it makes the world more interesting.
And hey, maybe if they do a sequel I’ll like it more.
So thanks for this Aaronovitch and Brown. Please keep at it.
* Confession time – the majority of my music collection probably consists of white guys with guitars. What can I say, I’m a white guy who grew up listening to guitar music. But I like to have variety too.