Wednesday, April 26, 2006

the simple things can hang you up the most

Rifftides republishes an essay by Paul Paolicelli that inadvertently slots right into the "No pop please, we're composers" discussion evoked earlier.

First, I don't know why simple pleasures are so strongly resisted and treated as suspicious, maybe even indicative of a weakness of character. Larry Kart raised the issue in the comments to the Bill Evans debate on Bagatellen:

"Thus in 1964 , after acknowledging that the brilliant, lucid, and 'completely unpremeditated' two-piano improvisation that [Bill Evans] and Paul Bley played on George Russell’s 1960 album Jazz In The Space Age 'was fun to do,' Evans says: '[But to] do something that hadn’t been rehearsed successfully, just like that, almost shows the lack of challenge involved in that kind of freedom.'"

Second, here's the first of two "My One And Only Love" quotes:

"The very thought of you makes my heart sing
like an April breeze on the wings of spring.
And you appear in all your splendor,
My one and only love."

I find this, on the printed page, totally corny - teenage romanticism, rather than deep and sophisticated lyricism. Granted, the second quote of the song's lyrics is much better, but I think the lyrics to GAS songs tend to be overrated. Some are great, many aren't. Take "Laura," for example. Great music, the lyrics make me cringe (except, perhaps, when sung by Jeanne Lee, accompanied by Ran Blake, but that's a subject for another post). The lyrics to Frankie Valli's "Sherry" (the essay hinges on a comparaison of "Sherry" to "My One And Only Love") are plain, direct and efficient. Can't begrudge them that.