Friday, May 8, 2009

Random 10, 5/8, with extra commentary

Just One Look Doris Troy
Will Anything Happen Blondie
My Girl The Temptations
Devil's Haircut Beck
This Sad Burlesque Elvis Costello and the Brodsky Quartet
We The Roches
I'm Afraid The Masquerade Is Over Etta James
Speak Low Charlie Haden (with Kurt Weill)
Filipino Box Spring Hog Tom Waits
Ekoleya Angelique Kidjo

Eight of ten from The You Tubes this week. The missing tunes are The One True Living Elvis singing songs he wrote for voice and string quartet, specifically The Brodsky Quartet. Angelique Kidjo's perky tune Ekoleya is also missing.

Half the songs have female lead singers and half male. There's a lot of quiet stuff on the list and there's Beck and Tom Waits if you want to hear somone make a racket.

The Etta James tune reminded me that I recently rented Cadillac Records, the story of the artists of Chess Records. Adrian Brody plays Leonard Chess, the Polish immigrant who founded the record label and my first adopted actor Jeffrey Wright has the role of the first star for the label, Muddy Waters. Pop star Beyoncé Knowles plays Etta James.

Here's the thing. Beyoncé is gorgeous, but her voice isn't in the same league as Etta James. The movie has her sing versions of Etta James tunes, and you long for the originals. It's a similar situation to Diana Ross in Lady Sings The Blues. She's prettier than Billie Holiday, but Billie's voice was way more interesting.

To bring this comparison full circle, I'm Afraid The Masquerade Is Over is from an album Etta recorded a few years back covering Billie Holiday tunes. For my money, Etta's voice is interesting enough that listening to her does not make one long for the Billie Holiday recording. Both versions can be appreciated for what they are.

Not wanting the last word to be that Beyoncé just isn't good enough, since she's a good singer in her style and really, really gorgeous, here's an ad for the Nintendo DSi hand held video game system featuring Beyoncé playing a silly rhythm game and enjoying a laugh with a little kid who may or may not be her nephew. While much of the image machine around her pumps out stuff to make us think of her as a goddess, this makes her look like a nice family oriented person you could take home to meet the folks.


dguzman said...

Swooning over your amazing top 10, kicking off with the greatest riding-around-in-the-car-with-windows-open song evah, "Just One Look." (just a hair better than Journey's "Don't Stop Believing," which must be screamed along to for best effect).

Beyonce may be beautiful, but something about her bugs me. Perhaps she's not tall enough?

Padre Mickey said...

I'd take Beyoncé home to meet the folks, but then they'd ask "Where the hell is Mona?"

Karen Zipdrive said...

I love me some Beyonce, but she's no Etta James.