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“Money Train” by Daniel Dorner | Music Exam

by Michael Todd

When your voice is on the radio, when it’s multiplied and thrown into hundreds of speakers, it’s harder to control you’re saying. Sometimes honesty just slips out.

Last night, in the comfort of conversation with my friend Chance Solem-Pfeifer — conversation broadcast citywide on Lincoln's 90.3 KRNU's "Lost and Found" — I said I’d work at Hear Nebraska as managing editor for free. I would, too, but generally you don’t say that out loud, especially on the first day of a paying job. That’s something you keep to yourself as a reminder you’re not in it for the money.

I’m with Hear Nebraska because of the work, and I plan to put everything I have into it. In coming back to Lincoln, I took a pay cut and left the rent-free refuge of my mom’s home in North Platte. I’m doing what I love because, as Daniel Dorner sings, I want to die while I’m still alive.

My main duty is to cultivate Nebraska’s music, and with this column, I will examine the musical makeup of songs born within these borders. I’ll make a chord chart with lyrics and try my hand at interpretation. To start off, here’s Daniel Dorner's “Money Train”:

CHORDS

Capo on third fret

C                                          F
Got your little black book, you got your gorgeous wife
C                                    G
You got your mistress waiting for you on the side
C                                          F
Got your window-washer, you got your mansion key
C                                          G
Got your everything from everyone you meet

C      F                          C  G
But I don't want it, no I don't
C  F                       C  G
I don't want it, no I don't

Am                      Em                     F                      C
I don't want the money train to come my way
Am                      Em                     F                      C
I don't want the money train to come my way
Am                      Em                     F                      
I don't want the money train to come my way
F                                            C
'Cause I wanna die while I'm still alive

C                                          F
Got your lovely ladies, you got your brand-new bike
C                                    G
Going a little crazy, thank god you're still alive
C                                          F
Got your window-washer, you got your mansion key
C                                    G
Got your everything from everyone you meet

C      F                          C  G
But I don't want it, no I don't
C  F                       C  G
I don't want it, no I don't

Am                      Em                     F                      C
I don't want the money train to come my way
Am                      Em                     F                      C
I don't want the money train to come my way
Am                      Em                     F                      
I don't want the money train to come my way
F                                            C
'Cause I wanna die while I'm still alive

THOUGHTS

As music listeners, we are stockholders to the company of artists. While we shouldn't influence songwriting with our attention (unless, of course, we fall in love with them), we have the right to love one song over the next, one lyric instead of another. So I'm choosing to revert Dorner's "Money Train" to the version I heard first, with the addition of "Going a little crazy, thank god you're still alive."

That said, songs that speak plainly are the ones that hit you immediately. You don't have to cut through the overgrowth to get to the true meaning. "Money Train" is everything it sets out to be: a simple juxtaposition of a life with money and a life well-lived. Surround yourself with as many things and gorgeous lovers as you might, but when your last breath arrives, you'll be wishing you could stay and acquire that something of value you've always sought.

Daniel says, "I wrote that song when I was incredibly broke and all I had was a $75 guitar and a bottle of wine." That's all the inspiration he needed.

I'm happy to have found a valuable livelihood in the not-so-profitable line of music journalism. I've found it with so much yet to learn, so I look forward to helping grow Hear Nebraska as I grow, too. Thank you to everyone for your support, and do keep in touch.

Michael Todd is Hear Nebraska's managing editor. If you'd like to contribute or share an idea for something you'd like to see on Hear Nebraska, reach him at michaeltodd@hearnebraska.org.