Arcade Fire's Will Butler is not only reading the news every day this week -- like the well-informed citizen of the world that he is -- he's taking his education one step further: Each day, Butler will be writing a song inspired by a story in the Guardian. This is where you feel inadequate.
Thus far, Butler has penned two stellar tracks: "Clean Monday," which juxtaposes Greek's debt payoff planning with Clean Monday, its version of Ash Wednesday, and "Waving Flag," which deals with anti-apartheid hero Moses Kotane's remains being repatriated from Russia and the celebration of Defender of the Fatherland Day by Ukrainian separatists. Pretty mundane stuff.
Given the difficulty of the task at hand -- and the seriousness of the subject matter Butler has lighted upon -- MTV News turned to Jonathan Mann, who has been writing a song per day for more than 2,000 days. You know, just to see how the experts think the Arcade Fire member is doing with his quest.
Mann wrote this song when he broke up with his girlfriend. No rest for the wicked.
"It's heavy! He's going straight for the really meaty world politics stuff," Mann said of Butler's first two tracks. "I suppose you've got to go big or go home when you do something like this. World events are really notoriously difficult to write about."
What's more, Mann is impressed with the quality of the songs Butler has written, which veer decidedly from the joke-y, story song genre often embraced by those who write about current events and sound a lot like, well, real music.
"I think there'll probably be one song this week that stands out from the rest, that is clearly an all-around winner," Mann said. "In my experience, when you make a lot of stuff, that's just how it goes: Roughly 70% of what you make will be good, 20% is going to suck and 10% will be great. It's all subjective, of course, but really, I won't be surprised if there's a song from this week that is so good that he decides to work on it and put it on the next record."
Would the Guardian get a cut of the songwriting royalties, then? But I digress...
Both Mann and MTV News are confident that Butler can keep up the pace this week -- given what we've heard so far from the multi-instrumentialist. "Anybody [can do it], really. It just becomes part of your day," Mann said.
However, if you get stuck, Will, don't hesitate to give Mann a call. When asked if he would collaborate with the Oscar-nominated composer, Mann said, ""Um. YEAH!" So there you go.