Tuesday, July 08, 2008
Pain From An Old Wound
I love female vocalists, especially the hard-core androgynous look/sound of a Chrissy Hynde, the pain and passion of Janis Joplin, and poignancy of Joni Mitchell. The country singers of yore are particularly great in this aspect as well -- give me a Dolly Parton or Loretta Lynn, and I'm happy. But I've come to the Karen Carpenter section of my memoir (doesn't everyone have one of these?) and am watching lots of clips of her and her brother on youtube posted by people like kickassmonkeymoney (which leads me to a tangent about why the hardest core punks love The Carpenters that I'll save for another post), and I'm thinking about how much power was contained in such a strange duo, a duo that would have been perfect in a Flannery O'Connor story. Karen, as some know, would have preferred to stay behind the band on the drums, but was pushed out in front because of her formidable vocal talents.
God knows, I've never been conservative in my clothes or appearance, but I love watching Karen on stage -- the simple modesty of her Delta Dawnish get-ups, one complete with a broach at the collar, the long borderline Texas cult dresses, it's all a huge relief from the over-polished cut to the navel outfits that singers wear now. Of course, Karen wasn't immune to the bullshit -- she starved beneath those dowdy frocks in order to fulfill some bullshit way that women should look. "I don't think I'm all that special," she said once in an interview. "It's all in the arranging." I used to hear her music at wedding all the time. But the one I went to this weekend opted for a more party vibe and the last song I remember hearing was Michael Jackson's "Thriller." When an increasingly bizarre popstar's last big album is considered sentimental nostalgia (which means in the original, pain from an old wound), I understand that I am getting older and that while I might be singing Goodbye To Love, others will be dancing to a song about zombies written by an alleged pedophile and thinking of that as the good old days.
Michelle's Spell of the Day
"Writing has laws of perspective, of light and shade just as painting does, or music. If you are born knowing them, fine. If not, learn them. Then rearrange the rules to suit yourself." Truman Capote
Drinking memoir suggestion: Split Suzanne Finnamore
Benedictions and Maledictions