A ONCE-A-WEEK (or so) LIST OF WHAT I GIVE A DAMN ABOUT. WITH 10 = MOST IMPORTANT; AND 1 = NOT SO MUCH
It's Music Week at QQ Headquarters.
Here is a list of some lame, dated, current and recent Pop Music's Top Ten.
QQ : 1 LENNY, LENNY, HENNY PENNY
“Hallelujah” Lenny (i.e., Leonard Cohen) has engaged in the exercise of how to rhyme "jah" and truly take license as a poet. Leonard, you could have tried harder with ardor and a bit of larder. Perhaps your license should be suspended or, at least, you should lose points. Maybe I’m wrong. Even Justin Timberlake took this anthem on to prove his essential, quasi-hipness and fashion currency. On the other hand, Rufus Wainwright eschewed the whole 'jah' thing, acknowledging Cohen's rhyming fakery. He sings a dedication to the female sheep..... "yew". But of course “you” doesn't rhyme with "jah", creating something of a dilemma of song form as taught by the lyric professor at Berklee who would be ready with his red marker to give Lenny a B minus.
QQ : 2. IT'S ALL RELATIVE
Lady Gaga takes us to unimaginable intellectual heights in "Love Games" when she re-confirms that:
"...it always starts the same with a boy and a girl" but, then again, "...it’s complicated and stupid’ ".
Gaga has perhaps made a strident advance in universal wisdom and understanding.
When Albert Einstein debunked Newtonian concepts with his General and Special Theories of 'Complicated and Stupid', we learned that by channeling through Gaga he gave us a revolutionary framework in which to understand the fundamental building blocks of matter and energy.
More spiritually, Gaga reminds us of the Book of Genesis telling of the dawn of man on the sixth day of Creation. The profundity of Gag-Gag's summary of God's work cannot be underestimated as contained in her biblical reference:
"It always starts the same with a boy and a girl" but then again " ‘its complicated and stupid’ ".
Einstein did not, however, predict the existence of black holes.
It was Gag-Gag who has now alerted us to this newly-discovered phenomenon. Her vacuumous artistry provides us with the ultimate musical allegory. Cultural black holes exist and Gag-gag is our guiding laser beam.
QQ : 3 BUBBLE, BUBBLE, TOIL AND TROUBLE
Michael Buble. You're cute . Sinatra was more cute. He had a profound, innate understanding of lyric. The party’s over. It ended with him and his Pack Rats.
Is it necessary for Michael to do bad Sinatra? Sinatra already did Sinatra.
Sometimes even Sinatra did bad Sinatra when he did something stupid.
Michael's biggest hit so far is his original, "Home" .
Based on that I propose:
Send Michael home,
so as not to feel so alone.
I do pick a bone,
as I sit on my throne
but then again, he is a clone.
QQ : 4. MARIN INDEPENDENCE DAY
It was either Frank Zappa, and or Martin Mull, or both who said :
"Writing about music is like dancing about architecture".
Chief current offender, who should know better is Marin County, 'hipper than thou' blogster and hack, Paul Liberatore, who writes in a recent review, that I am “known for my Tin Pan Alley harmonies”.....”therin lies the problem”.
If Tin Pan alley harmonistas Irving Berlin; Gershwin (both of them); and Cole Porter, to name a few have contributed to my problem, I claim it wholeheartedly. These guys are my heroes and my teachers.
I must remember to send Mr. Liberatore a nice fruit basket in the morning and thank him for placing me in the same category with the forefathers of popular songwriting.
But Mr. Liberatore is not finished with his highly-educated analysis of Capek-Jordan hit songs. According to the Never-Written -or -Published- a -Hit Song- Much- Less-Charted or Sold-Hundreds-of-Millions of Units, Mr. Liberatore- Marc Jordan's lyrics are "schmaltzy".
Note to Self:
Must send cable immediately to Rod Stewart; Cher (whose song about her late ex-husband and partner he is specifically referencing); Joe Cocker; Bonnie Raitt; Chicago; Natalie Cole; Josh Groban; Manhattan Transfer et al- BEWARE-do not record any more songs written by Marc Jordan. Potential Schmaltz Danger!
Au contraire- Mr. Liberatore's barometer of good songwriting has nought to do with Tin Pan Alley; allegory; imagery; literary references; and musical history. No, according to the Liberatore School of Songwriting - VOLUME is the seminal element. Who knew?
Note to Self:
Must remember to make all new songs LOUDER.
Mr. Liberatore's tutorial has been most enlightening. I invite him to please feel free to enlighten me with his critical analysis and superior songwriting skills anytime.
Hit Me with Your Best Shot.
QQ : 5. JUST IN
With "Like ooh baby baby" Just-in Bieber takes us to the motherload of craft in melodic/lyrical creativity. Here we have a veritable pop anthem that strikes at the heartstrings, brings tears to the eyes and bile to the tongue. The foundation built by Irving Berlin, George Gershwin and Cole Porter is finally vanquished by Bieber and team.
“Viral” is the word that comes to mind in connection with this phenomenon.
“Viral” often becomes bacterial according to my doctor.
QQ : 6. SIZE MATTERS
Rihanna, said by some statistics to be the most successful singer of all time, asks:
"Can you get it up...is you thick enough?”
There's a Monty Python connection there somewhere, I'm sure.
“I'm a lumberjack and I'm okay”.
Perhaps a writing collaboration between Eric Idle and Rihanna is in the cards. An animated video by Terry Gilliam would fulfill my comedic fantasies for the foreseeable future.
QQ : 7. ONCE UPON A TIME THEY LIVED HAPPILY EVER AFTER
Vaclav Havel has suggested that : "...drama assumes an order, if only so that it might have - by disrupting that order - a way of surprising".
With that statement, Havel has correctly described precisely what is missing in the melodic, rhythmic, harmonic content and quality of contemporary, popular music. There is no drama, because there are no musical surprises. We should raise Haydn from the dead to remind us. There's a musical surprise!
Drama is essentially the manipulation of tension and release. There is no drama in a chordal triad.
There is no tension in the constant repetition of the cycle of fourths, nor is there any resolution.
Open guitar tunings have been abandoned and 'add 9ths' are a criminal offense in Nashville.
Hip- hop has abandoned harmony as an anachronism and counterpoint seems to have never existed.
No wonder the audience is unwilling to pay. No wonder this non-melodious drivel has no longevity. There is no drama.
QQ : 8. RING A RING A ROSIE
Where are the anthems that bring us together?
Anthems are important. Does 'Occupy Wall Street' have a unifying anthem?
The answer used to be blowing in the wind.
Amazing grace is not so amazing any more.
Kumbaya came and went.
We continue to sing "Happy Birthday", Silent Night" and "Take Me Out To the Ballgame".
These tunes may seem like trivial references. They are not small.
We lack CONTEMPORARY, unifying, civilizing, ceremonial anthems.
The lack of anthemic themes has larger, social repercussions.
Freedom, equality and justice for all would be a good start.
Why have we become so cynical?
Has the stone stopped rolling?
QQ : 9. IT WAS A VERY GOOD DECADE
A few who found a tangent, but couldn't keep the fire burning.
Now they seem to be oh -so terribly 90s:
The Dixie Chicks
A new tangent, a new flame would be nice.
QQ : 10. EM - PEE - THREE
One day science will show that Recorded Music Died when it was Digitized. Music suffers a second death as it continues to be disseminated in digital form at the current bit level.
There are huge chunks of emotional content gone missing. The brain does not respond. Subsequently, the wallet doesn't move.
Why else is the market willing to pay such ridiculous $$$ only to see live shows?
QAPEK QUOTIENT QUALIFICATION :
I am not a hack. However someone has suggested that my wife is married to one. In my support and the defense of the heritage of American Popular Music, Batsheva Capek has contributed to this week’s QQ : 4