Rock and Pop and Goats and Ducks, Oh My

rock and rollMamacita says:  I like modern rock and modern pop, I really do. But I just heard a song on Spotify. At least, it was being marketed as a song. And I suppose the artist is being marketed as a singer, but you couldn’t prove either by me.

Every generation’s favorite artists get flak from previous generations who think their own icons are the best and could never be replaced.  They’re partly right; an artist can never be replaced.  This is not to say, however, that new artists can’t be good, too.

Good.  Good is, of course, a personal value judgment, and those are seldom provable.

I love opera – SOME opera – but not every singer needs to sing opera or be able to.  I love classical music, but not every time.  I am not a fan of country music, but there are a few songs that fall into that genre that I enjoy.  I love rock, but not all of it.  I like a lot of pop music, but not everything.  Nobody likes all of anything.  But most people do not care to hear a hoarse parrot screech.

I’m particular about music, yes.  So are you.  Particular, but versatile.  But not an Anybody’s. (channeling West Side Story. . . .)

I do, however, prefer that whatever the genre and whoever the artist, they are both knowledgeable about music and good at whatever they’re doing.  Novelty definitely has itsMr. Magoo place, and it’s a legitimate place and I like a lot of novelty music but only when I’m in the mood for novelty music.  Jim Backus’ voice was more than appropriate for “Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol,” but not for a playlist advertised as “romantic love songs” on Spotify or Pandora.  The Chipmunks were a pretty cute novelty act before they were turned into a Saturday morning children’s show.

bug eyesThe artist I heard an hour or so ago was so awful she made my eyeballs do the cartoon character bug-eyes

Please don’t think that I am saying this woman or any other person shouldn’t sing at all.  I think everyone should sing every day.  I want everyone to sing.  I sing all the time, even though I try not to inflict it on others.  Not everyone can sing well, but everyone should sing anyway.  But to inflict it on someone. . . that’s a different thing entirely.

I was across the room when it came on, and I assumed it was one of those novelty pieces where dogs bark Christmas carols or goats screech or maybe a sort of sentient duck or something. Talent and writing skills notwithstanding, it was apparently a popular trending singer singing a popular trending song full of trending cutesy words, the kind fourth graders use out on the playground because they haven’t learned the real words yet.. But if you ask singing goatme, which none of you did but here’s what I think anyway, this artist’s marketers and agents might do better to pimp her as a potential cartoon character voice: not a class act like Mel Blanc, or Hank Azaria, or Jim Cummings, or Nancy Cartwright, or June Foray, or Jean VanDerPyle or Bea Benaderit or Don Messick or Alan Reed or Verna Felton, etc, but maybe she could voice some cows or hoarse coughing in a football crowd or maybe some fourth graders out on a playground screeching silly words like “bae” and “cray cray” and “totes adorbs” and pretty much anything that doesn’t require any grammar skills or brains or sense or voice lessons of any kind and will pay her to screech in a sound booth instead of on Spotify or Pandora where unsuspecting music lovers expecting actual music could be assaulted by this screeching ungrammatical ignorant-sounding whatever she was.

I’m not talking about generational tastes here.  I’m talking about music.  And maybe about grammar, too, because it’s hard to separate them.

Macy Gray has a novelty voice, but Macy Gray also knows how to sing.  I’m not sure what sort of voice the artist I heard might have had, but I think a new category might be overdue. It was kind of a combination of chanting and limited-octave gravelly recitations of made-up words about how she still loved the man she cheated on and hoped he would come back in spite of what she was and would always be.  Romantic, huh.

singing catsShe sounded sort of like me back around New Year’s when I had the flu, except I know more words than that and even when I was so sick, I had a better range.

I wonder how much her agents had to pay, to get that song included on playlists that were mostly made up of real songs.  If I were a real artist who knew how to sing and had an actually good song, on that list, I’d be really mad.

The goats have a right to sound like that. I smile at the goats. I don’t expect a musical voice or good grammar from goats, but from people who claim to be singers?  Yes.  I’m still cringing at this woman. No more “Today’s HIts” playlists for me. I’ll make my own.




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