Thursday, March 1, 2012

"...the problem with the Great American Songbook albums"

This Slate article is worth your time: "Why do Great American Songbook albums by pop artists so often disappoint?"

Kisses On The Bottom, like just about everything else Paul McCartney has ever done, is marked by a game, high-spirited optimism that's pretty hard to hate. A few of the songs on it—like his lilting and graceful "More I Cannot Wish You," from Frank Loesser's Guys and Dolls—are truly beautiful, offering ample proof that Macca's own remarkable body of work is as firmly rooted in classic, pre-rock pop as it is in Little Richard and everything that came afterward. But even he can't escape the curse that befalls so many of these respectful, well-intentioned projects. It's the curse of pleasantness, of innocuousness, of valedictory tribute. It threatens to turn the best songs ever written into easily forgettable ditties. Thankfully, these songs are also the most durable—they're "standards," after all—and will always be a good deal stronger than their weakest renditions. They can't take that away from us.

Word of the day: prelapsarian ("characteristic of or belonging to the time or state before the fall of humankind").

No comments: