Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Best of Gene Burnett...

For What?

Since I write and record so much music, people sometimes ask me if I have any “best of” CD’s. In fact I have 4 that I put together a couple of years ago. Sorry, they’re not available at my site, I only sell them at shows. (All of the individual songs are available for downloading free or with a donation, along with the rest of my music, at )

I decided to put them in categories because different people seem to prefer different aspects of my music to others. I called them “Clever”, “Explicit”, “Serious” and “Love”. I don't really think in objective terms when it comes to songs, but I tried to pick a blend of my own favorites and songs that other people seemed to like the most. 

Recently a facebook friend asked me if I'd make a non-categorized “Best Of” album, like the best 10 songs that pretty much “sum it up” for me.

This post is my answer.

Since I have a musical parliament in my head and heart, I really can't pick any 10 songs and say, these are the "best"...I always think, "The best for what?" I don't really believe in good or bad or better or worst when it comes to songs. They're like medicines really...only valuable and "good" if you've got the condition that that particular medicine can treat. I wouldn't say aspirin is a good or bad's good for headaches, not so good for bleeding ulcers.

I think I used to be more consistently "me" in my songs. They were a deliberate attempt to express and convey a consistent worldview and personality and emotional experience. But somewhere along the way...sometime around 2005 or 6...That whole project sort of fell apart. I began to be more comfortable living in the dynamic tension between my opposites, rather than picking sides and trying to become my ideal self. Or maybe my concept of "ideal self" widened dramatically. In any case, I started to see myself as more of a parliamentary discussion between aspects of my self, rather than as a single entity seeking some kind of purity.

As a result, I turned myself loose from writing mostly about my personal emotional life and began to give more and more of my internal "members of parliament" their songs too. I could write in characters, I could bend my experience, I could express emotions and opinions that I wasn't in 100% agreement with, I could write topical songs, funny songs, silly songs, songs with adult language, basically whatever the hell I felt like writing about, whatever released a charge for me. It’s writing for the joy of writing and for the catharsis of personal expression. It's definitely not writing with an eye towards a professional career in "the business".

I still write about my personal experience of love and life, and all of my songs express a more or less Taoist world-view...but the songs themselves come at these things from all over the map in very different ways. I have some favorites but they come and go over time and generally lean towards whatever I’ve just finished...I like them all...but for me to decide which songs are "best", I'd have to know what you'd want the music to do for you.

I tend to think that most people want to laugh these days. At least the people I meet at shows...whenever I have my "best of" CD's for sale at shows, hands down the best seller is "Clever"..."Explicit" (which is more or less an R rated “Clever”) is #2...with "Love" and "Serious" a distant 3 and 4. Not that “Clever” and “Explicit” are not also serious in their own way, because they are, but they’re also light-hearted and on the humorous side. I also have a few fans (hate the word but don’t know what else to call them…) who tolerate the funny stuff but whose favorites are all songs that most of the other people who like my music have never even heard of. I'm actually about a half dozen loosely connected songwriters.


  1. No one's gonna love you more than I do.

    Okay, maybe Samarra. But no one else.

    And I say my list is the best. I will send it later. Never mind your parliament or even your king. I am Cromwell, and I am knocking at the gate.

    ~ N