Honey why are you calling me so late?
It’s kinda hard to talk right now
"Rolling Stone" got one thing right. They declared Gnarls Barkley’s "Crazy" song of the decade.
I remember exactly where I heard it. I remember coming home and going straight to the computer and stealing it. (At that point you couldn’t buy it, and even Jamie Cullum steals music).
Ahmet Ertegun said a hit record was something you heard on the radio in bed that made you jump up, put on your clothes and run to the all night record shop to buy.
Prior to the advent of iPods, I remember rushing home from school to drop the needle on "Back In The U.S.S.R." Who knew the Beatles were such Beach Boys fans? Who knew they could get the sound so right?
Honey why are you crying, is everything okay?
I gotta whisper ’cause I can’t be too loud
I’m getting the impression the singer is hiding something. He doesn’t want someone to know…
Well, my girl’s in the next room
Sometimes I wish she was you
I guess we never really moved on
Exactly. Maybe she drunk-dialed. She should have respected the limits. But she couldn’t resist, even though she too is involved with someone new, she still has feelings.
I hear rappers telling me they’re big shots. I hear crooners and melisma-maniacs tell me they’re madly in love. But what sticks with me is this power ballad by a band named Hinder. Because they get the story exactly right. The media says we fuck and forget. That we break up and are done. But it’s much more complicated than that. Emotions seem to be like carbon, they’ve got an unending half-life. They fade, but never to zero.
I didn’t discover "Lips Of An Angel" on Top Forty, where it made quite an impact. Rather, I discovered it via an e-mail, someone telling me to check out Jack Ingram’s country cover. I got hooked on the changes first, then the lyrics. Isn’t that how it always is with the great songs.
Great. When a song can be covered and ends up a hit in two genres you know it’s quality.
Seth Godin had a fascinating post yesterday. He said bookstores are toast because their best customers have moved on to the Kindle. That those buying one to three hundred books a year are now getting them electronically.
Just like the Napster addicts were the heaviest music consumers. They wanted more, hit singles they could never afford, the lost classics, live takes. Once dedicated music fans used the service they gave up on the old paradigm. They no longer went to the brick and mortar store to thumb through the jewel cases, they now surfed endlessly, looking for stuff they hadn’t heard in years, stuff unavailable anywhere else.
Don’t listen to those people who say the only books they read are physical. Just like you shouldn’t bother listening to those who still purchase CDs. They’re at the tail end of the curve. They’re where things used to be, not where they’re going.
I was a Kindle naysayer.
Until I got one.
Now I’ve read twenty three books in eight months. Probably more than I read in the entire nine previous years.
I download samples without leaving the couch. When I finish one book, I go straight for the next. I read book reviews the way I used to read record reviews. Hell, record reviews no longer make sense. They’re written by biased writers, who either love the act or need to prove their erudition by putting down albums they hate on principle. And isn’t music something you hear anyway?
And I’ve found that you’re best off searching for the best reviewed stuff. The award winning books. Reviews seem to be much more credible in the book world. Maybe because a book requires an investment to read.
The best book I read all year was Elizabeth Strout’s "Olive Kitteridge". But I recently read one of the "New York Times" top five fiction editions of the year, Maile Meloy’s "Both Ways Is The Only Way I Want It". The very first story is still haunting me. It nailed the human condition.
We’re complicated figures. With hopes and dreams and disappointments. When someone gets it right, we’re drawn in. Which is the same reason I love "Lips Of An Angel".
And just like I can repeat "Lips Of An Angel" endlessly, I’ve gotten hooked on Stieg Larsson’s books. Last night I stayed up until two a.m. finishing "The Girl Who Played With Fire". I couldn’t put it down. It’s been calling to me, I’ve wanted to drop everything and read it all day. Just like I used to be at school, dreaming of getting home so I could listen to the Beatles.
The music the cognoscenti pooh-poohs is made for radio, not the public. Which is why people will bump asses to it in the club, but instantly forget it. Why go to see the performer? It’s a studio concoction.
And the music so many musos love is arcane, niche stuff. They’re trying to prove their hipness. I have no problem with you liking TV On The Radio or the Dirty Projectors, but if you think most people are interested, you’re dreaming.
In other words, we’re living in a land of plenty and acting like we still live in a land of scarcity, with comparatively little product that we must argue about. But that’s not the case today, today something either gets traction or disappears. And that which gets traction is either a train-wreck, or great.
We’ve been focusing on train-wreck.
We need to focus on great.
And we know great when we hear it. We need to hear it again and again. Like Alanis Morissette’s "Hand In Pocket". Unlike so much of what is purveyed today. The audience is ready to embrace greatness when it’s delivered. The audience made "Lips Of An Angel" a monster hit twice. If you think they’re wrong, you’ve got your head up your ass.
It’s really god to hear your voice saying my name
It sounds so sweet
Coming from the lips of angel
Hearing those words it makes me weak