Monday, November 24, 2008

479 Come Back When You're Legal

479 Come Back When You're Legal

This is all you "have" to read to get the gist of it: Today's music often is the autobiography of someone who hasn't lived long enough to do anything, accompanied by sound effects with a semi musical undertone.

There are lovelorn whose lives flash before their eyes. It's a short flash. Usually, it's a long song. Long and repetitive. Gives you a second, third and fourth time to try to comprehend the lyrics (lyrics is a term of generosity.)

These "vocalists" apparently didn't understand that their role models "Alvin and the Chipmunks" were supposed to be a joke, not a singing style. so they've carriedchipmunkism to a new high.

The only reason Tony Bennett's still selling records is because he's so novel.

In olden days (when a glimpse of stocking was looked on as something shocking,) the words had to say something. Maybe not a very good something. But something. Why? Because you can understand what comes out of Bennett's mouth. Or Al Martino's or even Sinatra's.

If you roll back the musical clock, you can see the roots of this distortion in the 1970s, when disco was king and no one cared what the Bee Gees were singing. That's when falsetto and not-hitting-notes and not-having-notes-to-hit started. After awhile, no one can understand anything.

This may help explain the success of drunken, druggie, anorexic-looking Amy Winehouse. There are actual words and actual power and there is actual diction enough to hear beneath the now-customary raw emotion of what passes for songs.

Modern pop music may also be a reaction to years of stultifying abuse by Broadway composers who's stiffness and artificiality are perfect counterpoint to today's whining falsettos.

Part of the cure is requiring I.D. at the recording studio door -- just like at the bar, the beer joint or the liquor store. No one under 21 admitted with an autobiographical song. If they want to sing Irving Berlin or Puccini or Loretta Lynn, fine. If they wrote it and they're under 21, sorry. Come back when you're legal.



Shrapnel:

--This year's round of Hanukkah tableware is made in China. Startling at first. And then you remember that between the Chinese and the Jews, there are 10-thousand years of plugging along through life -- which makes the juxtaposition of the Star of David and the label "Made in China" a little less unsettling.

--We visited the equivalent of "downtown" in these parts the other Saturday. All the parking lots were full, but the stores in town were empty and there were few people on the streets. Maybe they were all at the football game, or maybe the space ship came down at the right moment and vaporized the drivers and passengers as they walked out of the lot.

--Why do they make you wait forever at the doctor's office but cancel your appointment if you're 15 minutes late? That kind-of says "our time is more valuable than yours." Maybe they're right.

I'm Wes Richards. My opinions are my own, but you're welcome to them.(sm)
(C)WJR 2008

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