Q&A

Randy New­man: “I don’t think I’ve got any bet­ter as a song­writer in 50 years”

UNCUT - - New Albums -

Do the film scores and the songs come from dif­fer­ent parts of the brain?

Do you see this as your first full fu­sion of songs and film

scores? Well, all th­ese songs soak up an orches­tra pretty well. It was what they needed. But in some ways, it’s sim­i­lar to my first LP from 1968. At the time it seemed like there was just me, Van Dyke Parks, and maybe Ry Cooder, who made mu­sic like we’d never heard The Rolling Stones. We were the only guys not us­ing a fuck­ing drum! And part of me still thinks us­ing a drum is cheat­ing. There are other ways of mak­ing pop mu­sic.

Def­i­nitely. I don’t think I’ve got any bet­ter as a song­writer in 50 years, but I am much bet­ter at the or­ches­tral stuff. But they do in­form each other. The ar­range­ments creep into the songs, and help me ma­nip­u­late au­di­ences, par­tic­u­larly with the tear­jerk­ers. With film scores, I like a tune. A lot of sound­tracks just about do the job with­out one, but I need a line, a thread.

You give your­self a hard time

in “The Great De­bate”… Haha. I’m giv­ing away what I do, which is to cre­ate straw­man ar­gu­ments. That’s a real ca­reer-en­der! But yeah, I def­i­nitely do what I’m ac­cused of do­ing in that song. I cre­ate char­ac­ters as ob­jects of ridicule: “He doesn’t be­lieve any­thing he has you say, nor does he want us to be­lieve any­thing you say.” Yup.

Some peo­ple might have ex­pected a song about Trump

here… I did write one, just for the hell of it, but it was just too vul­gar. It was all “my dick’s big­ger than your dick”. My way into it was to come at it from a fe­male point of view – like it was Ivanka hav­ing a dig at Daddy. But the sub­ject is too sore to get into. IN­TER­VIEW: JOHN LEWIS

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