Tuesday, February 19, 2013

It was Almost Like a Song

Once upon a time, in this very blog, I talked about how much I love music, and pointed to a Bruno Mars song that is a great combination of good lyrics and an acoustically complex, compelling tune.  Unfortunately, I had the displeasure of hearing one of Mr. Mars more recent songs the other day, and oh how far his star has fallen.  But more about that in a minute.

One of the great discoveries I have made is Slacker radio.  It's a music app similar to Pandora, where you pick a genre and can stream music to match your tastes, even banning songs or artists you detest and marking other songs as favorites so that they are played more often.  I have actually discovered talent on Slacker that I would not have otherwise listened to, such as "Red" (who has a lead singer with a crazy ability to go from screaming at the top of his lungs to singing beautifully seconds later) and "Need to Breathe" with their wonderful jazzy/smokey vocals.

While I normally listen to the Christian Rock station, Heather prefers Country & Western, which I don't particularly care for, which is a nice way of saying that I hate it.  However, I found a compromise in the Classic Country station.  When I was a kid my parents listened exclusively to Country and Western music, which back in those days was actually Country, and not Rock and Roll with a cowboy hat. Because I was raised listening to it, I actually like a lot of the old country songs, and don't mind listening to it, and Heather likes the old stuff as well as the new, so we're both happy.

One of the things that made Country music so good was solid lyrics.  Which brings us back to Bruno Mars.  Compare an old country classic about love by Don Williams (who has an awesome baritone timbre, but that's beside the point):

I ain't gonna marry in the fall
I ain't gonna marry in the spring
Cause I'm in love with a pretty little girl
Who wears a diamond ring

And I'm just a country boy
Money have I none
But I've got silver in the stars
And gold in the morning sun
And gold in the morning sun

With this modern tale of love by the aforementioned artist:

Never had much faith in love or miracles
Never wanna put my heart on the line
But swimming in your world is something spiritual
I'm born again every time you spend the night
Cause your sex takes me to paradise
Yeah your sex takes me to paradise
And it shows, yeah, yeah, yeah
Cause you make feel like, I've been locked out of heaven
For too long, for too long
Yeah you make feel like, I've been locked out of heaven
For too long, for too long

Of course not every old country song has great lyrics, nor is every modern rock song as terrible as the one above, but there are a lot of good classic songs on the Country playlist.  As a treat I'll leave you with one that Ronnie Milsap sang over 30 years ago, and although some of the accompaniment is noticeably dated, it still sounds great, and the story he tells (as well as the power with which he sings it) makes it a timeless classic. Rather than make you read the lyrics, I'll give you a link so you can listen to it yourself.  Don't blame me if you almost get choked up.