Friday, June 01, 2018

1952 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 carried chipmunkism 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 a while, 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. She’s gone now and been replaced by such luminaries as Meghan Trainor and songs with the profundity of “It’s All About the Bass” which belongs in a collection of unidentifiable sound effects.

Modern pop music may also be a reaction to years of stultifying abuse by Broadway composers whose 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:
--All this is to re-welcome “America’s Got Talent,” now in what seems its 456th season.  This is the most fun of all the contest shows because it displays a variety of “talent” other than what passes these days for singing.  But by the time we’re halfway through the season, it’s going to be as boring as a test pattern and less entertaining.

--What’s happened to Simon Cowell, executive producer, show runner of “Got Talent” in 17 countries and former curmudgeon who didn’t like anyone or anything and said so in the most entertaining of ways?  He’s become so nice and so “Broadway” they could put a vacuum cleaner in his chair and no one would know the difference.  Bring back the old Simon, who was worth watching.

I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
Please address comments to wesrichards@gmail.com
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© WJR 2008, 2018 depending on which parts are repeats as some are.




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