I think I finally have the answer to the eternal question: “Oldies radio — threat or menace?”
I just watched the little kid on “American Idol” — the Poindexter teen rockin’ the eyebrows and glasses — and I feel like Simon. You can’t take a baby-faced teenager and have him sing “I Heard it Through the Grapevine” without having it come off like Bette Davis in “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane,” the scene where she reprises her childhood act for the chubby pianist guy.
I mean, he’s 16 years old. He can’t sell a song about a cheating girlfriend. He hasn’t had one yet.
He had the same problem the girl last week did, the one who did “Because the Night” as though it were an anthem to her cuteness and not a rave-up about tragic young love. Did you listen to the words, hon? If Patti Smith had a grave, she’d be rolling in it. As it is, she probably gnawed her braid off.
That’s the problem with oldies radio. You’ve got kids who know every single note, who’ve heard it since they were in diapers, to whom the songs have become audio wallpaper, not cultural touchstones. It’s how great songs like “Respect” and “I Got You” got ruined. There’s a reason you don’t eat roast beef every night, you know?
brian stouder said on March 1, 2006 at 11:46 pm
Speakin’ a music – and oldies – and ‘meaning’ –
just finished watching “Walk the Line” (we bought the dvd) –
what a tremendous, tremendous movie…..and a few “so obvious you overlook it”-type things struck me.
Johnny Cash and stars like Loretta Lynn were the original (albeit travelling) “reality shows”. Their fans became enmeshed in the unfolding stories, and powerful connections – and unbreakable loyalties – were made with the fans (I remember my mom was completely taken by Loretta Lynn and her evolving story [back in real-time!], for example)
All the theatrical movies about the artists of those days (Coal Miner’s Daughter, Great Balls of Fire, umpteen Elvis movies) just completes the circle
Not sure what artists of the ’90’s and ’00’s will inspire the movies of 20 years from now. Maybe Nirvana; maybe even one of the (seemingly) flash-in-the-pan stars like that 8 mile guy from Detroit
Dorothy said on March 2, 2006 at 9:24 am
I’m with you, Brian. I loved “Walk the Line” and intend to buy it. I don’t particularly care for country music. I never put it on the radio. So I can’t explain why I’m so enamored of all bio movies for country artists. “Coal Miners Daughter” is the first movie I ever taped on our first VCR way back in 1983. I buy the soundtracks (CMD, “Sweet Dreams”, “Walk the Line”, “Buddy Holly Story”) and the movies, too. And I memorize the words to every song!
Danny said on March 2, 2006 at 9:51 am
Everyone, don’t be so quick to judge the younger generations. These girls do a great job with R-E-S-P-E-C-T. One of the funnier things I have seen lately.
hb said on March 2, 2006 at 10:28 am
patti smith recorded “because the night” but it was written by bruce springsteen
Dorothy said on March 2, 2006 at 10:38 am
And Bruce’s version of it is much better than Patti’s, all due R-E-S-P-E-C-T.
mary said on March 2, 2006 at 10:42 am
I get the feeling that AI has a list of songs they’re willing to pay to use. The contestants have to choose from the list. That’s why we hear so much Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson stuff. Sure they’re great songs (some of them) but there can’t be that many 16 year olds familiar with the entire Stevie Wonder songbook.
Danny said on March 2, 2006 at 10:43 am
Natalie Merchant did a good cover of “Because the Night.” I think she was still with 10,000 Maniacs then.
basset said on March 2, 2006 at 10:56 am
Let me tell you how much better “Because the Night” would be if it was performed by Bob Seger…
hb said on March 2, 2006 at 11:01 am
bob seger’s days are over — i love his classic stuff too, but he just can’t sing anymore. his voice is shot. that’s why he doesn’t tour anymore. bruce, however, still sounds great and is still vital.
sue said on March 2, 2006 at 11:40 am
I’m with basset. Bob Seger!
Danny said on March 2, 2006 at 11:41 am
I’m curious. Did anyone have a chance to check out that link I posted above?
sue said on March 2, 2006 at 11:42 am
Danny, I don’t see your link???
Dorothy said on March 2, 2006 at 11:58 am
The link was great! Theyare just lip-synching but they have so much sass and attitude! I think the girl on the left probably has a lisp – maybe just a mild one. And she’s reading the words from the screen, but the girl on the right has the lines down pat!
Dorothy said on March 2, 2006 at 11:59 am
The link was great! They are just lip-synching but they have so much sass and attitude! I think the girl on the left probably has a lisp – maybe just a mild one. And she’s reading the words from the screen, but the girl on the right has the lines down pat!
Danny said on March 2, 2006 at 12:03 pm
Sue, check out my first post and click on RESPECT.
Dorothy, I think these are 15 year olds from the Netherlands. I do not know if they are native Engliah speakers. They are hilarious though.
basset said on March 2, 2006 at 1:33 pm
actually I was just trolling up there, we had a Springsteen vs. Seger discussion awhile back that got kinda vehement (grin)
I’m still recovering from seeing a Robert Fripp solo show last night… walked out of the theater saying to myself, “what the **** WAS that?”
Danny said on March 2, 2006 at 2:50 pm
basset, not sure if I could sit through that one myself. I’ve heard him called the best guitarist in the world, who can’t write a song to save his life.
Give me Steve Howe any old day. Just don’t let him sing.
basset said on March 2, 2006 at 3:24 pm
oh, I enjoyed it enormously… just not sure what it is I saw. he sat on a stool next to a big rack of effects with pedalboards in a half-circle around and an Apple visualizer or whatever they call that stoned random pattern in iTunes playing on a screen behind him.
he’d hit a few notes and they’d start ricocheting through all kinds of delays and loops, then do the same thing again on top of those & sometimes when he had a good thick pattern going he’d just take his hands off the guitar and sit motionless for a minute or so as the tracks fed on themselves.
half an hour of that and he showed slides from a Powerbook (his family, his parking space at the office, hotel bathrooms, so forth) and took questions for awhile, reamed out some poor guy in the back for trying to take a picture (“You have… dishonored… your parents.”) then another half-hour of beeping and bleating and he was outa there. no encore but he did tell the soundboard guys to play some recorded new stuff for walkout music.
let’s see Springsteen try & pull that off…
Joe Kobiela said on March 2, 2006 at 3:57 pm
On Bob and Tom this week they were talking to kid rock, and Bob Seager has a new album and is going to tour this summer, Rumor has it the album is great.
basset said on March 2, 2006 at 7:28 pm
Seger’s supposed to have had a new album and a new tour coming soon for, oh, probably the last eight or nine years… sure would be nice, but we’ll believe it when we see it.
Kid Rock, meanwhile, oughta put a sock in it. no, two socks.