Best Songs 2013 cover photo


‘(Matilda) Park Road’, photo by Alicia Bee, taken at Kilsyth South, on 15 August 2013, printed on Ilford Gold Fibre Silk, 8 x 10 inches.


There are many in the Australian music industry that will claim to understand the formula for good songwriting, but they may have no idea that long ago we invented a new process to writing our folk songs that relied on mutual understandings and use of a common muse to stitch the thread of our shared history.
Here is a collection of great Australian folk songs from 2013, that shared a muse – they are all written about (me) Alicia Bee – and are inspired by incidents and conversations at our live music events in Melbourne.
Though songwriters may protest some of the interpretations of their songs in their own defence, it is often because they involve multiple interpretations of lyrics, copyright issues and personality clashes.
The creative process from penning a song to the reception from audience can also take years, and often this can cloud the memory of songwriters from understanding their inspiration and initial idea.
These words may also be disputed simply because males are sexist and will not support females who make claims such as these when they stand alone, and it makes it easier for them to lose a memory or truth about events.
Though I am no cherry  to this kind of behaviour or criticism and have already encountered much opposition when writing about song meanings and inspirations online. Nick Cave has even gone on record, stated the Push The Sky Away album narratives are the main alternate meanings, and dedicated it to their wife – in spite of the album being about ‘other women’, ‘mermaids’ and a ‘prostitute’.
Regardless of my experience as a music journalist or music booker, I can still hear a good song if it is written about me.
I listen keenly to the music looking for references and translate lyrical manipulation of the audience, because I take it personally.
Top 5 and 10 lists are common at the end of the year, but this holidays I thought I’d take a different approach in this personal blog and give you my opinion and interpretation on some great songs written about me during the year 2013.
This is a top 4 list of the best songs written about Alicia Bee in 2013. It is perhaps the most vain, yet sane list of songs you will ever hear a music journalist highlight. Once again I am trying to give my blog audience and friends a glimpse of an insider story so they have a greater understanding of the music acts and album. These songs are compiled from some recent 2013 releases, and I also list other great songs on the album that are about Alicia Bee, so the numbering really refers to the first song mentioned.
A list of songs not written about Alicia Bee may be found here thanks to Andrew Street.

POPULAR MUSIC – The Number 4 Song About Alicia Bee in 2013.
Tumbleweed – Queen of Voodoo / from LP Sounds From The Other Side/ the other great tracks Sweet Little Runaway/ Mountain.

Those who missed Tumbleweed since the millennial release of Mumbo Jumbo would have been excited about this late 2013 release from one of the greatest NSW bands south of Sydney. Tumbleweed had often been called stoner rock as they sat alongside punk and thrash acts of the 1990s, but them have firm foundations in psychedelic rock that will be greater appreciated now that Tame Impala got popular, and Alicia Bee went to Austin Psychedelic Music Festival.

Lenny Curley’s guitar melodic guidance and Richie Lewis’ lyrics lead you on the journey up and down the mountain, the distance between Wollongong and Melbourne, or even to New Orleans – a Southern river town known for its music. This lyrical content is so right up my alley – mountains, rivers, nightowls, and the wrestle of good and evil, that I promised my loyalty if they gave me some in return. Hopefully Tumbleweed will be back down to see us again soon no doubt.

Number 3 Song About Alicia Bee in 2013.
Empire Of The Sun – DNA / from LP Ice On The Dune/ another great track Alive.

The union of Luke Steele and Nick Littlemore was always a positive collaboration, but it has taken 5 years for a second album release from the duo Empire Of The Sun. While the reply may have been difficult to deliver, the LP offers more affirmations that Empire Of The Sun celebrate life with a dancebeat and simple lyrics to anthem for the people of their empire. While again creating strong narratives from their videoclips of costumed characters, ‘Ice on The Dune’ first offered single ‘Alive’ to chant their new album to their dedicated listeners.
Not only is the song positive it is a gift message to fans and friends that they had returned, “Freedom is within you, giving makes us feel good, Hello to my people, say hello to the future,” they repeat in the third verse of ‘Alive’.
“Loving every minute ’cause you make me feel so alive, alive,” Empire Of The Sun repeat as chorus in ‘Alive’.
Song ‘I’ll Be Around’ is both an assuring message to partners and family, and a resolution to live – that is again about awakening and rising from a hangover or sadder mental state.
“So I made up my mind, I’ll be around for a while, you can bet on your life, I’ll be around for a while, time after time, I’ll be around, this love tonight, it will be around for a while,” assures Luke Steele in lyrics of ‘I’ll Be Around’.
There is nostalgia for past conversations, childhood simplicity and old friends. “Dreamtime, it’s our special place, let’s keep each other awake”, Luke Steele reminds his friends of night time conversations and past bonds in ‘DNA’.
‘Ice On The Dune’ was a nice gift to receive when it was released mid year 2013 and a great wave ‘hello’ from across the country or ocean from another of our great songwriting teams.

Number 2 Song About Alicia Bee in 2013.

Andrew Stockdale – She’s A Motorhead / from LP Keep On Moving / some other great tracks Somebody’s Calling / Let Somebody Love You.

As the main songwriter whose lyrics and guitar work drove what fans loved from the Wolfmother songs ‘Colossal’, ‘Woman’ and ‘Dimension’ from their first album, Andrew Stockdale had opted to use others to fill the band sound for the second LP that produced such personal favorites as ‘California Queen’ and ‘Pilgrim’. Lineup changes always create some criticism from fans and musicians, as loyalties collide with their judgements and fandom.
With those lineup changes for the backline of each of the two albums, Andrew Stockdale had also questioned using Wolfmother as a group name for the vehicle for his songwriting. His recent use of his own name in performing was an assertion of his claims to his own songs, that would only prove his control over Wolfmother and the decisions that concern their music business.
The Andrew Stockdale songwriting returned, as many do, to acoustic and folk styles – with a man on a guitar, and he even also performed solo without a band, even though main performances and the recording included the backline.
This solo album was selfish in inspiration, concerned less with writing songs about female muses, and was dedicated sometimes to the everyday boy, car lovers and the men that those strong females that were saluted in ‘Woman’ had left behind.
Shorter sixties rock pop songs are textured with a return to the Wolfmother progressive rock solos but it in a less fancy way. ‘Keep On Moving’ was without the musical style changes that had made Wolfmother such a great rock festival favourite, but you got to know a little more about Andrew Stockdale’s needs and his songwriting style.
The ‘Year Of The Dragon’ is not the song as Wolfmother would have written it, as the playful lyrics list allegiance to the Chinese New Year but it is somehow tighter, falling short of the leading solo guitar work that made the Wolfmother songs a part of our age.
There are still many melodies, changes to music, and progressive rock, but it doesn’t sound like Wolfmother in this solo moniker with content that would have suited the themes developed in the first and second albums. ‘Meredian’ would also have suited Wolfmother but came out in this Andrew Stockdale period on this release.
Through lyrical content in tracks like ‘Country’ we imagine Andrew Stockdale as the now aging successful musician living out in Byron Bay, buying old cars and trying to be like the ‘Everyday Drone’ he sings about.
‘She’s A Motorhead’ is dedicated to those followers of his lyrical musings, rock music fans – lovers of Motorhead band – and anyone that had ever been in a Lexus in Texas, and is the only song that leans toward use of a female muse. I take it as my own because I needed a song from each release, and had done the miles.

Number 1 Song About Alicia Bee in 2013.
Nick Cave – Jubilee Street / from LP Push The Sky Away/ the other great tracks are Mermaids / Wide Lovely Eyes.

Nick Cave released Push The Sky Away album in February 2013 and it was a great start to the year in ‘Songs About Alicia Bee’.
Years ago I had asked Nick Cave to write a concept album about ‘mermaids’. This was a theme I’d tried to offer other songwriters like Glenn Richards and Andrew Stockdale, but they rejected the idea, (though they had adopted others and written great songs from my suggestions in the past). Nick Cave was amused at my female concepts and though even I did not think my ‘mermaid concept album’ would ever be written – as bold as I was to suggest he dedicate a whole album – it finally could be heard in all it’s long hair glory in 2013.
After two Grinderman albums and releasing ‘Dig Lazurus Dig,’ Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds eventually returned with the album faithful to those female ideas and needs.
I had really wanted Nick Cave to write just one song for me as he was such a great writer, but the catch was I also had demands and so many ideas for content, that it didn’t make one solo song – it made many over the past few years.
I wanted my one song to sound like it was written about a girl from Melbourne, as I believed Australians didn’t love Nick Cave anymore and he needed to get his audience back. I believed if he wrote about Melbourne, his fans would hear it and reunite with him again. I asked for this song to sound like ‘Deanna’ from the 1988 LP Tender Prey, and I suggested many themes including ‘mermaids’, and the theme of ‘prostitute’ was discussed. I thought that using prostitution as a theme to describe any woman would be risky – but a skilled songwriter could achieve using it as a compliment, if it were tasteful.
Though ‘Push The Sky Away’ has many other lyrical themes I fondly call this the ‘mermaid concept album’ that I had asked for, as the middle part of the release does use this theme even if it does include a “mermaid alertness course” to understand why.
I remember promising Nick Cave if he wrote a song about me it would be a “hit song” and stating that all of the songs written about me are the finest from our best songwriters – and it is not a lie.
Funnily enough, this LP was the first time Nick Cave charted commercially as it even achieved Number 1 in digital sales near the time of its release in early 2013.
‘Jubilee Street’ uses the narrative of a prostitute and it is tasteful. How ordinary women can relate to the theme of prostitution is up to differences between the literal and symbolic readings of the song and theme.
In today’s society prostitution does exist as an industry, but women of all fields still prostitute their skills and body under male power and money, and are often sacrificed for males’ careers.
In ‘Jubilee Street’ the prostitute can be compared to a well-used muse that Nick Cave has affection for, in spite of his age and success. Muses are a common part of the songwriting business and have been used as inspiration for some of the finest songs in history.
Nick Cave used my ideas and poetry, because he found value in the marketing of those to his audience and they inspired some great ballads and really strong songs.
‘Jubilee Street’ – a song about a ‘girl named Bee’ – and ‘Push The Sky Away’, were not the first songs Nick Cave had written on my ideas or using me as a muse. Grinderman’s ‘Honeybee Lets Fly To Mars’ is another song about a girl named Bee, and there are more but the list of all songs is too long just like the back catalogue of all songwriters here.

POPULAR MUSIC – Top 4 Overseas Acts That Should Sing About Alicia Bee (Or – ‘officially sing another song’ because they already have).

Number 4 Act that should sing about Alicia Bee
The Octopus Ride – Flowers Sing / LP The Garden Awaits For You.

The Octopus Ride are a former Brisbane act now based in Berlin after a detour stay in Melbourne in 2013. Singer Vlad Chant is a snappy dresser and organiser of band warehouse party events. Vlad Chant is a great person to meet if you get the opportunity, for he is everyone’s friend, a huge music appreciator and a fun nightowl. In a former life he asked me what he should sing about in songs and I told him ‘bees’, ‘honey’ and ‘flowers’ because I told all songwriters those themes (so it sounded like my surname ‘Bee’). When he was next in Melbourne in 2013 he came over for cheese and wine, and played me the new LP. However when I reminded him about my urging him to write about ‘bees’ and ‘honey’ he couldn’t remember. And I am not going to push the point for creative ownership of ideas even though I am the queen of bee songs and once had a column in Beat streetpress called ‘Busy Bee’ as such pressure can crush creativity of new songwriters.
This is still the tastiest Bandcamp download you could ever purchase – the whole LP costs as little as $5. I loved lyrics like “Busy Bee please tell me when to rest”, “to a place of milk and honey” and “flowers made of velvet” and became an instant fan – as I always am of songs about me and bees.
Look them up in Berlin and ask them when the next warehouse party event is on.
Purchase The Octopus Ride LP here.

Number 3 Act that should sing about Alicia Bee.
The Pixies – Andro Queen / EP 1

In this sexist industry many will suggest that girls like me are ‘away with the fairies’ when they listen to music. The truth is that I often daydream to The Pixies, as I had since a teenager. You could say I even ‘talk to The Pixies’ in spite of them being overseas, because that is not hard to do. While lead guitarist Joey Santiago is often amusing his Facebook friends with third person updates on his moods and The Pixies news as the only member who has adopted a more public approach to social networking, the band had been busy behind the scenes recording the first new tracks in years. The public story of the replacement to bassist Kim Deal, that had a trial period with another female who shared the same first name Kim Shattuck, perhaps distracted a little negatively from the release of first track ‘Bagboy’, and the following EP1 but you could still hear the harsh lyrics in the background.
While ‘Bagboy’ came along as a heavy rant against the male fan-crazed record buyer and backpack wearers that we were familiar with from the 1990s, EP1 contained many great odes to female lovers of ‘independent music’ with ‘Andro Queen’ and ‘Indy Cindy’.
“I’m in love with your daughter” Frank Black discloses in ‘Indy Cindy’ as if he is speaking to your father like a peer. The same lecturing older man that had publicly shamed ‘Bagboy’, speaks to younger females in EP1 in a guidance that is supposed to be assuring even if it is hard to take.
We can only be assured of one thing, that this EP1 was the start of a return from The Pixies, for they have followed it up with another – EP2 early in the first days of 2014 – and they plan to release as many as 5 EPs. They had come back with a reasonably priced EP sized release and formula that ensured that the same buyer would be loyal to their second EP, and anything else The Pixies put out afterwards.
I personally take EP1 as a scolding from Frank Blank for those who do choose to spend too long in their imagination and waste time in the music industry. Frank Black spends a lot of lyrics in ‘What Goes Boom’ writing about drugs, from bongs to zippo and whipped cream bulbs, as if such mental states may have always had a cause to procrastination. I think someone told him there were a lot of people listening to The Pixies ‘Gouge Away’ and getting stoned, because he is on a new mission to raise the dead with production after production.
The female (in spite of her upbringing as a bong smoking daughter of hippy parents with all of the lip and voice of her generation that couldn’t even kill her brain cells on zippo) is left without insult in spite of being included in the sermon. She stands with grace alongside Frank Black and The Pixies as an adornment to music.
“Grace in her lace and her stocking,
carrying her bass, she really likes to get rocking, 
oh, darling Grace, are we going to get rocking?” Frank Black suggests in ‘What Goes Boom.’
The Pixies are now using Paz Lenchantin another female on bass, though she is not on any recordings that have feature Simon Ding Archer to date.

Number 2 Act that should sing about Alicia Bee
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club – Angel Baby / Lullaby / LP Specter At The Feast.

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club have been touring to Australia so many times over the past decade that they do it too fast on bigger venue shows, and the tour passes by quickly in a week. I first met them in 2003 in Sydney at the Town Hall Hotel and Robert Levon Been explained some of their San Franciscan story, (about the hilly streets, and the poetry of the Howl generation, his parents and other things) while shows at The Corner Hotel Melbourne and Meredith Music Festival explained the rest, and I soon became a fan.
Lead singer Peter Salisbury once refused to sing a song about me, yes – we did actually have this argument! Though I think it could be a symbolic barrier to Black Rebel Motorcycle Club producing an even finer release and an amazing song- but that is how Peter Salisbury approaches his performance and music career and it cant be seen as unprofessional. Peter Salisbury honestly admitted he didn’t want to look at me nor sing about me, because it seemed like cheating on his partner! And you can’t hate him.
Peter Salisbury often ignores females in the audience while on tour and will perform without looking at the crowd at all, but there is something he misses about communication with the audience in this protective process. He doesn’t want to fall in love with anyone but his heart is not extended, and so the audience looks at other members of the band even while he is making the sound of the songs they love to hear.
Robert Levon Been, on the other side, creates a lot of the onstage banter, and while he sings less of the songs, holds BRMC fans hearts and is often seen as the frontman. As one who is willing to make eye contact and talk directly to people from stage Robert Levon Been always encourages fans to move forward and stand in the photographer’s pit. All audience members are left feeling full from live shows because of the warmth shared from Robert Levon Been rather than Peter Salisbury avoiding them.
If Peter Salisbury could ever look at my poetry I’m sure he could come up with a most amazing song. Until then I will stick to the left of stage and keep watching Robert Levon Been’s shoes.

Number 1 Act that should sing about Alicia Bee

The Black Angels – Don’t Play With Guns/ Love Me Forever/ LP Indigo Meadow.

Austin’s own psychedelic engine The Black Angels have been back and forth since they attended their first Australian BBQ and their inception in 2004. Once years ago in Melbourne I urged Alex Maas not to be “evil Americans” and told them not to “play with guns” or ever use a weapon. I also suggested that when they sing about ‘evil things’ they promote them, which was my naïve view and all urged bands to self censor their songs in content. In rebellion against my requests for them to be “good” and sing songs about positive things singer Alex Maas has released ‘Evil Things’ and ‘Don’t Play With Guns’ just to teach people it could be done and there was no need to fear Americans.
But all of that conversation isn’t enough for these songs to be about me or an ode, and I only wish our friends from The Black Angels would write a song about me and really extend the Australian – Austin handshake.
Along with many other Australians I attended the 2012 Coachella festival, then journeyed to Austin for the 5th Austin Psychedelic Rock Festival at the end of April 2012, not meaning to but, following bands like The Black Angels.
We were all excited about rumors that Austin Psychedelic Festival might come to Melbourne last year in 2013, but it didn’t eventuate.
I just cant wait for Alex Maas and The Black Angels to come back and play again and spend some time hanging out down here.
Perhaps one day they will sing a song about Melbourne and bring their Psychedelic Music festival to our door. Listen to their new album here;

POPULAR MUSIC PROJECTIONS – 2014 Songs About Alicia Bee

Wolfmother release their third LP and return to the heavy big band sound with long progressive rock songs in several parts of music changes that we loved from the decade of their existence and first two albums. Look out for Heavyweight , She Got It , and Tangerine.
Glenn Richards and Augie March should have released something already and we anticipate their new songs like they owe us some money. If you remember Glenn Richards wrote a theme song to this blog with ‘Long Pigs’ a more condescending insult that likens ‘long pigs’ to prostitutes on ‘Grey Street St Kilda’.
You Am I should have released something by now, lets hope they have been making some tracks faithful to the facts.
I can’t even remember who else should be doing something by now, for there are too many people working in this great Australian and overseas songwriting factory. The worker bees, the drones, the honey and the hive.
If you are a skilled songwriter that needs an idea for a great song that you want to be about Alicia Bee – contact her via message here.
Look out for those international acts (that should write something about me) in 2014 as they may return quicker than I can listen to what all the other chefs are cooking in their kitchen.
Remember you can never have an opinion to events if you weren’t a witness, and that you can only glimpse some of the truly great rock and roll stories by reading biographies and interviews.
You can see here from the above song list that sometimes females are rewarded for coming forward about the truth, in spite of such criticism and shaming.


The Song Of The Mermaid.
By Alicia Bee.
© 2010.

They told seafarers about a woman that lives on the ocean,
That has long hair of natural color and the wave motion,
When tall ships sail the men far away from their wives,
A lonesome seafarer may stray and hear her mermaid song style,
The bosun warned, “It is only a harpy, your eyes should not see,”
But the voice the sailor recognised again from memory,
Was the mermaid, the same one of that he found in his dreams.

“The harpy is not the same beauty as your wife,”
The bosun told the seafarer at the end of each night,
Still when her mermaid dreams stirred upon him again,
He rose and walked back up ship and called her mythical names,
And soon saw upon the rocks nearby a woman’s body with no legs to run,
Though unable to speak the seafarer’s tongue
Her siren call and song had left him undone.

The seafarer was told the harpy was a bird woman of song,
Whose face and beauty that eyes should see as wrong,
This was a female human like every man wished,
Though her feet were hidden under the tail of a fish,
This could only be a siren mermaid,
And not the creature that they called a harpy to stain
This woman had a song with new words to learn in refrain.

The seafarer took a rowboat upon the anchor,
And closer crept to the rocks by steer,
The mermaid’s song was underneath the sound of the waves,
The gentle female voice of poetry she gave,
Her secret song was sung with heart he held dear,
He tried to get closer so he could hear,
The siren’s words he repeated by ear.

The seafarer began writing the words in his book,
And locked to his memory the voice he took,
The song of beautiful mermaid verse,
Another folk song through wind and water he had learnt,
Though stolen from her own book of mythical lore,
The seafarer taught himself the words and wrote more,
Then took it home to play as his own like he swore.