Today, I am going to be a trouble maker ... again.
I played a CD from my collection yesterday evening: “Irving Berlin Goes to Hollywood”. The CD includes 25 famous songs written by Irving Berlin (lyrics and music) and performed by truly great singers: Ethel Merman, Eddie Cantor, Judy Garland, Al Jolson Betty Hutton, and Howard Keel, among others.
This CD is a perfect example of the correctness of my theorem that little great music has been recorded since 1954. On my Irving Berlin CD I have recorded songs written by one of the greatest songwriters and performed by some of the greatest singers. It’s a conflation of great components to make truly great songs.
What does modern music give us ? Some people rave about heavy metal. Other loquacious aficionados elevate a certain band with a cult-like following to godhood. But they have mediocre singers who can barely hold a note outside one octave without their voices quavering, or “play” electronic instruments making sounds not much better than a cat can make when angry. And when their “greatness” is challenged, what do we get in explanation ? A long contorted tome that in the end just says, “it’s great, man”.
Most modern music is mediocre songs with mediocre music performed by mediocre singers and instrumentalists. Of course we’re supposed to worship them because all these “skills” are in the same person. BUT that’s not how great music is made. That's not how any great complex thing is made. Skills from each person of great ability are conflated into one piece. That’s the division of labor and their conflation into a truly great song.
Here’s a mathematical example. Suppose one takes the cube of 99.9%, representing conflating skills at the 99.9% level of ability in all the population. The result is 99.7% - an A+ on any grading scale. Now take the cube of 90%, representing a merely good ability (B or B+level), albeit in the same person. The result is 72.9% for the product (literally and figuratively). On a percentage grading scale, that’s a D.
Word of the Day
"Sonsy" - adjective [$10] from Scottish
Sonsy means 1. Plump, buxom; 2. Of a cheerful disposition; 3. Bring good fortune.
Sentence: Performances of Irving Berlin’s great songs by sonsy Ethel Merman on Broadway provided great enjoyment even now decades later.
Le Mot du Jour
“Chanson” – noun, feminine
Chanson means song.
La Phrase: Une grande chanson doit avoir de grandes paroles, de grande musique, and un grand chanteur.
Sentence: A great song must have great lyrics, great music and a great singer.