Errors-To: owner-chalkhills@sgiblab.sgi.com
Reply-To: chalkhills@sgiblab.sgi.com
Sender: owner-chalkhills@sgiblab.sgi.com
Precedence: bulk
From: owner-chalkhills@sgiblab.sgi.com
To: chalkhills@sgiblab.sgi.com
Subject: Chalkhills Digest #6-160


         Chalkhills Digest, Volume 6, Number 160

                   Friday, 9 June 2000

Topics:

           More Observations...Andy this time..
                    classical greenman
             And of course: "Popcorn Holder"
                 Afterthough...Joe's Girl
                      the man who...
                       Vinyl vs. CD
      Oh, just call it the "WOOO-EEE sound" already!
                    Re: New from XTC!
               Q-U-I-Z pronounced as Trick
                    RE: New from XTC!
                    AV1 and WS reviews
                         psssst!
                    RE: New from XTC!
BE, The Wasp Star, More Globes & The 'Jukes' of Stratosphear
              Happy Latino Groove Pop Reggae
    New album name, Greeks, and loads of other stuff.
                Dave's not here now, man.
                    Jukebox Turn-offs
                     Clusical Miches
                         Musical!

Administrivia:

    To UNSUBSCRIBE from the Chalkhills mailing list, send a message to
    <chalkhills-request@chalkhills.org> with the following command:

	unsubscribe

    For all other administrative issues, send a message to:

	<chalkhills-request@chalkhills.org>

    Please remember to send your Chalkhills postings to:

	<chalkhills@chalkhills.org>

    World Wide Web: <http://chalkhills.org/>

    The views expressed herein are those of the individual authors.

    Chalkhills is compiled with Digest 3.7b (John Relph <relph@tmbg.org>).

This phenomenon happens every 20 years or so.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Date: Thu, 8 Jun 2000 09:15:13 -0700
From: jim_hinchman@hp.com
Subject: More Observations...Andy this time..
Message-ID: <H0001a90122d0dee@MHS>

     This is another, "Hey, did anyone else besides me notice that..."

     The vocal mannerism in which Andy sings Stupidly Happy reminds me a
     lot of when Pete Townsend sings "Misunderstood". As a matter of fact,
     the jangly guitar parts (Rickenbacker?) and the melody are very Pete
     to me, on the softer side.

     You and the Clouds could almost be right off of English Settlement.
     The quirky syncopation sounds of that era to me.

     Don't think Brown Guitar ("You've got lovely..."ECK!) will grow on me.
     Same with Church Of Women and Wounded Horse. Good ideas but just don't
     gel with me..yet anyways.

     Wheel/Maypole is interesting. Don't think I would include it on an
     AV1/WS compilation though...

     Colin's contributions on the last two albums, with maybe the exception
     of Fruit Nut, are great! Put me down as another fan of Boarded Up.
     GREAT atmosphere!

     OK, now taking cover from the bombardment of flack...

------------------------------

Date: Thu, 8 Jun 2000 09:17:14 -0700 (PDT)
From: brown <mb2@deltanet.com>
Subject: classical greenman
Message-ID: <200006081617.JAA14941@mail2.deltanet.com>

<<P.P.S It's a bit late for this but does anyone know what classical tune
Partsy is ripping off in Greenman in the bit that goes, "And you've known
for a million years he has been your father". Try humming it, it's not
greensleeves but something like Beethoven, The Beach Boys used it at the
beginning of Lady Lynda.>>

How's about something from Beethoven's 9th symphony, like Ode To Joy?

Oh my, I still have the 45 of Apollo 100 doing their zippy hit version of
the above... lord have mercy...

DBrown

------------------------------

Date: Thu, 08 Jun 2000 11:26:10 -0500
From: RNV <rnv@mac.com>
Subject: And of course: "Popcorn Holder"
Message-ID: <B5652948.1DE%rnv@mac.com>

> Finally does anyone have any ideas from WS lyrics for a name for the next
> album. Mine are:
> BUMPER STICKER
> LOAVES AND KISSES
> PYRAMIDS AND PALACES
> DINOSAURS!

Oh, yeah, Dave would have LOVED that last one... And I can see the "clever"
reviews already.

How about:
THE CHEEKY BUILDERS (almost a bubblegum title, n'est pas?)
PARACHUTE
PHONEY ROSES
THE WHOLE HEARD
LET'S MULTIPLY!!! (like another one of Andy's faux-dance crazes)

~~Rob

------------------------------

Date: Thu, 8 Jun 2000 09:25:41 -0700
From: jim_hinchman@hp.com
Subject: Afterthough...Joe's Girl
Message-ID: <H0001a90122d1c75@MHS>

     Someone yesterday raised the issue of humor and morality when it came
     to Colin stealing Joe's wife/girl....RELAX! It happens everyday all
     around the world. I'm not justifying it. But MANY of us have been in
     the same situation (not necessarily have acted on it.) It's very
     topical subject matter for a song because a lot of people can relate.
     And if we can't laugh at ourselves...

------------------------------

Date: Thu, 8 Jun 2000 09:53:41 -0700 (PDT)
From: Tyler Hewitt <tahewitt@yahoo.com>
Subject: the man who...
Message-ID: <20000608165341.17776.qmail@web2101.mail.yahoo.com>

do i detect a series here? first, there was 'The Man
who Sailed Around His Soul", now there's "I'm the Man
who Murdered Love".

What will the next 'the man who...' song?

The man who went dancing in tight salmon-colored
polyester pants

the man who saved his toenail clippings in a big jar

the man who spent all day downloading porn off the
internet

the man who became an accountant and moved to Des
Moines

I'm going to stop now. forgive me. I have no idea why
I just wrote this. haven't been geting enough sleep, i
guess.

------------------------------

Date: Thu, 8 Jun 2000 18:55:41 +0200 (MET DST)
From: rappard@dds.nl
Subject: Vinyl vs. CD
Message-ID: <Pine.GSO.3.90.1000608183925.28754B-100000@fatima.dds.nl>

I don't want to start a very boring technical thread here (and surely one
that's popped up before), but Brett's posts contained two fallacies:

> Lastly, the whole thing is then placed onto a CD which is actually a digital
> "sample" of the original recording. As amazing as our technology is, a
> little known fact is that they still don't quite hold up to the fidelity of
> vinyl records. Digital formats make music much like a projector makes
> movies. Pictures of the music (samples) are taken at very short intervals
> and mathematically grafted together to give the illusion of continuous
> The stuff you miss in-between these samples also takes an emotional
> toll on the music.

Since the intervals are very short, the human ear still preceives the
"samples" as a continuous stream, just as the human eye perceives
anything more than 24 fps as a continuous movie. It's trickery, but it works.

> I am stating a fact of physics that records
> reproduce a higher fidelity signal than CD's.  Due to the sampling rate,
> commercial CD's cannot present sound above 22k which is thought to be about
> the highest pitch that humans can hear.  As an analog source a record can
> produce a much wider range of sound than a CD can.  The only sound advantage
> a CD has over a record is a lower noise floor.  From a technical
> standpoint, a record kicks butt on a CD.

Since a human ear cannot perceive anything above 22k (as you state), why
would it have to be included? You might be right considering that
anything above 22k may indeed add overtones (I'm not sure if this is the
right musical term), but the argument as stated here is simply erroneous.

Empirically: a friend once transferred three Pixies bootlegs from vinyl
-> DAT -> CD-R using professional studio equipment; the DAT step inbetween
makes it easy to mark track times and to remove excess surface noise, cracks
and pops (but not all, unless you take a inordinate amount of time). He then
asked several of his musician friends (like most musicians self-confessed
vinyl junkies) if they could hear the difference between the vinyl and
CD-R when played on the studio's equipment - most could not, and some
even mistook the CD-R for vinyl. Granted, more people correctly
identified the vinyl as the "better" source. I'm curious as to what the
result would be if one used a actual studio recording, not a crappy
bootleg, and "sampled" more people.

Marty "I think my first name was Martin, but Todd decided otherwise in
his infinite wisdom" van Rappard

------------------------------

Date: Thu, 8 Jun 2000 10:07:31 -0700
From: Ed Kedzierski <ed.kedzierski@blvdmedia.com>
Subject: Oh, just call it the "WOOO-EEE sound" already!
Message-ID: <08B5DDC2BABCD311BFC6005004A884B013B6B0@mgcservices.com>

Has anyone paused to consider the fact that it's not that difficult to get a
good fake theremin sound out of even the most primitive synthesizer, and you
certainly don't need a sampler to do it? I mean, I'm sure no one was
actually waving their arms around at a real theremin for this, but it seems
to me that this is not exactly the most difficult thing to imitate on just
about any synthesizer. To me, it will remain "that electronic-y woo-ee sound
after the chorus".

Ed K.

------------------------------

Date: Thu, 8 Jun 2000 13:17:05 EDT
From: Alura9@aol.com
Subject: Re: New from XTC!
Message-ID: <61.44d1953.26712f11@aol.com>

Nothing like being prompt with the news!   Wasp Star was released in the
States on May 23rd!  Is it CDNOW or CDANYTIMEWEGETAROUNDTOIT?  :-o

And how about some XTC news in Allstar Daily News NOW and then?  They may not
punch people out and get arrested for drugs and have gadzillions of
teenyboppers after them, but they are the most brilliant band alive!!!!  The
eccentric English country life of these breathlessly witty, legendary
recluses is a great story in itself!  Carrie Borzillo, take note.

Mimi Lobell
Alura9@aol.com

------------------------------

Date: Thu, 8 Jun 2000 13:30:23 EDT
From: DinsdaleP@aol.com
Subject: Q-U-I-Z pronounced as Trick
Message-ID: <9f.667b540.2671322f@aol.com>

In a message dated 6/8/00 10:05:04 AM, <owner-chalkhills@chalkhills.org>
writes:

<<   1)What is the one word, which, if correctly spelled, is pronounced
wrong?<<

Wrong

  2)Which word is always spelled correctly?<<

Correctly

  3)Which word is always misspelled?<<

Misspelled

  4)What is the longest word in the english language?<<

Language

  5)Which three words are always pronounced right? >>

Rite, write, right

- John

------------------------------

Date: Thu, 8 Jun 2000 13:55:20 -0400
From: Carrie Borzillo <carrieb@allstarnews.com>
Subject: RE: New from XTC!
Message-ID: <DFFD68834A72D3119A7B00508B5BD59602D87BCE@mailhq01.cdnow.com>

We've written about every XTC news happening there is. (see below) And when
they do something newsy again, we'll be writing about them again.

* XTC soundscan story, May 31, 2000
.  XTC Launches Wasp Star In May  March 22, 2000
.  XTC's Andy Partridge Clears Up McCartney Tribute Rumor  March 6, 2000
.  XTC Demo Album Drops From Out Of Nowhere On Oct. 5  September 21, 1999
.  XTC's 'River Of Orchids' Goes To The Ballet  June 11, 1999
.  XTC To Appear On Space Ghost  February 5, 1999

Best,

Carrie Borzillo
Managing Editor, News, allstar/CDNOW

------------------------------

Date: Thu, 08 Jun 2000 12:54:46 CDT
From: "Joe Perez" <jm_perez@hotmail.com>
Subject: AV1 and WS reviews
Message-ID: <20000608175446.74749.qmail@hotmail.com>

I recently came across:
http://georgegraham.com/

George is a producer, Public Radio host and programmer, music writer, and
recording and broadcast engineer.  With his background, he adds an
interesting perspective to his articles.

Last year, he reviewed Apple Venus:
http://georgegraham.com/reviews/xtc.html

As a engineer, he provides EXCELLENT insight into recording processes
(compression, dynamic range, etc.).  In an essay, "Whatever Happened to
Dynamic Range on Compact Discs?", he describes the undelivered promise that
exists in digital recording.  This is not a commentary on analogue vs.
digital audio.  Rather, it's how commercial pressure and competition for
airplay have negatively affected recording/mastering techniques.
Facinating.  This companion piece to the AV review can be found at:
http://georgegraham.com/compress.html

More recently, he added a complimentary review of Wasp Star.
Text version is at http://georgegraham.com/reviews/xtcav2.html
Real Audio is at http://georgegraham.com/audio/xtcav2.ram

Lastly, "The pleasures of good bluegrass music are not to be
underestimated..." John Relph, Harrison Sherwood, and others may enjoy:
http://georgegraham.com/reviews/fleckbg.html

Note to John: you must get permission to reproduce his reviews.  They would
be fine additions to Chalkhills cannon.

Happy Reading,
Joe "?" Perez
Dallas, TX

GO STARS!

------------------------------

Date: Thu, 8 Jun 2000 08:04:21 -1000
From: Jim Smart <jismart@ksbe.edu>
Subject: psssst!
Message-ID: <773681922C7.AAAC668@mail1.ksbe.edu>

read this post in a whisper:

Psssst! Hey kid, come here. What message is being whispered halfway through
Boarded Up?

Jim "OK, you can speak up now" Smart

------------------------------

Date: Thu, 8 Jun 2000 14:04:46 -0400
From: Kelly Andrews <kandrews@cdnow.com>
Subject: RE: New from XTC!
Message-ID: <0F4DC389FD7AD31190BB0008C7CF9EDD010A7FF2@mailhq02.cdnow.com>

And here's an exclusive CDNOW Interview with XTC that we published June 2:

http://www.cdnow.com/cgi-bin/mserver/pagename=/RP/CDN/FIND/discography.html/ArtistID=XTC/docid=368627/select=features/chalkhills

------------------------------

Date: Thu, 08 Jun 2000 11:20:17 -0700
From: "Dane Pereslete" <peresd@tcwgroup.com>
Subject: BE, The Wasp Star, More Globes & The 'Jukes' of Stratosphear
Message-ID: <s93f8177.099@acacia.tcwgroup.com>

Just have to add my vote to the many that get BE vibes from
Wasp Star.  It's not so much the production styles, which are
vastly different, as the song choices and composition which
sound most similar to my ears.  The exception?  "The Wheel
and the Maypole" which sounds wonderfully unlike anything
they've recorded before (to me) and probably would have fit
very well on Vol. I, as has been suggested.

What book did Andy get his Wasp Star title epiphany from?
He insists in interviews that he found in a book that the Aztec
used this name for Venus, but every source I find originally
attributes it to the Maya, who predate the Aztec by at *least*
a thousand years.  The Aztec appropriated many deities from
conquered tribes, most notably from the Toltec, but there
doesn't seem to be an Aztec counterpart to Xux Ek (that I can
find, anyway).

And speaking of Aztec, they were another culture who were
aware of our planet's roundness, most clearly exhibited by their
worship of Tlaltecayoa - "He of the Round Earth", and as an
interesting bit of trivia, this worship ceremony involved a dancer
dressed as a monkey that the band Ozomatli got their name from.
Myself? I'll just stick to the worship of Ppilimtec - the God of Music.
Gotta love the Mesoamericans...probably the most "psychedelic"
cultures on the planet.

This isn't exactly jukebox fare, but all I know (from experience) is
that if you want to clear out a party very quickly - just put The
Normal's "T.V. OD" on endless repeat...me and my mates always
found this endlessly entertaining!

Dane "on warm leatherette" Pereslete

------------------------------

Date: Thu, 08 Jun 2000 11:48:23 -0700
From: Kurt Muehlner <kurtm@flcipdx.com>
Subject: Happy Latino Groove Pop Reggae
Message-ID: <393FEA77.579E34E9@flcipdx.com>

Apologies for this, but...

I don't know about the rest of y'all, but I find it highly annoying that
Amazon.de should actually write album reviews in German!  I mean, come
on, all them Germans speak English anyways...right?

So anyhoo, thankfully we have such wonderful web translation services as
can be found, for example, at http://babel.altavista.com.  Here then is
Amazon.de's review of Wasp Star
(http://chalkhills.org/articles/WaspStar.html#ad0005), translated
into English, for your great entertainment I hope:

"There he promised not too much, the transverse heading Andy Partridge
harmony-fallen in love, when he announced that the second XTC album
would indicate after work arbeitsverweigerung for many years of more
Hooks than each Peter Peter fan club meetingPeter fan club meeting.
Indeed Partridge submitted and creative colleague Colin Moulding with
Wasp star a marvelously various blueprint of the euphoric-ironical
melody Pops, on which John Lennon also thirty-few years after Sgt. a
Pepper would have been proud. One marks to the album despite obvious
ease that some ripe years were entitled to the Songs present at him.
Obligatorily, because XTC spent the time between 1992 and 1995 with a
songwriterischen strike, which brought them at the end the hoped for
separation from the contracting party Virgin record. Those approximately
40 Pop beads, which developed in this time, divided on a orchestral
bombastisches album named Apple Venus and the conventionally electronic
section, which appeared themselves on Wasp star. But which is called
with these Poplegende from Swindon with London already conventionally?
Is it conventional, allegedly dead-straight the guitar reef and the
allegedly cord-even Groove in " Stupidly Happy " with full power against
each other hits to leave? is the romantic Pophymne " We're ALL Light "
the easily angekrankte account " Wounded Horse " and this again the
Happy Latino Groove Pop Reggae " You and The Clouds wants quiet
Beautiful " conventional follow to be let? To sing and at the end that
one would like to hold service in the " Church OF Women "...Charming
Schlawiner. -- Bjoern Doering

Ah, I get it now!  Hope someone besides me found that amusing.

Kurt "wants quiet Beautiful" Muhlner

------------------------------

Date: Thu, 8 Jun 2000 20:54:14 +0100 (BST)
From: Rory Wilsher <rory_wilsher@yahoo.co.uk>
Subject: New album name, Greeks, and loads of other stuff.
Message-ID: <20000608195414.22425.qmail@web1502.mail.yahoo.com>

Help! I'm turning into a long poster!

A few inconsequential thoughts:

There has never been an album called, simply, XTC.
(The band so good they named it twice also used their
name as the album title twice (first and eighth),
Peter Gabriel did it four times before actually
deciding to differentiate his albums by gracing them
with a title, Blur only got around to it on their
fifth (I think) album.)

Failing that, I feel that this subject shouldn't just
include WS lyrics, but also from AV1.

My suggestions:

Like Us Men
Best Of All (OK, maybe a
compilation-type-album-sounding title. I just have
this feeling that the next one may be  after the
frenetic activity of the last two years, and being
based on songs mostly written in the Nineties, I just
think that any new material will transcend what we
already know.)

Brian Matthews writes:

"The Ancient Greeks certainly had figured out that the
Earth was spherical, but they're the only big players
I know of..."

OK, a lot of civilizations had got as far as realizing
it was curved (shipping out to sea and hiding under
the horizon whilst the wooden horse was being
delivered to Troy, convincing the Trojans that they'd
gone home and left them this wonderful gift  boy,
were those Trojans STUPID!) I think the Egyptians also
reached this point, but it wasn't until the late Greek
and Roman philosophers that they really got the hang
of the globe concept.

Just re-reading and editing, I realize how
"euro-centric" the last paragraph was  I'm sure that
Mayans/Aztecs/Incas, Chinese/Mongolians,
Blackfoot/Apache/Sioux/Arapahoe (sorry, still can't
say "native Americans"  "America" is derived from a
Spanish word, for God's sake! Then again, most of the
names of the tribes are Europeanised), Indians,
Persians etc. etc. yadda yadda yadda probably got the
hang of it long before Paris, Aggamemnon, Odysseus,
Achilles and their mates decided to lay waste to an
entire city to rescue one woman! Talk about
over-reaction!

"You may leave school but it never leaves you" - I'd
like to thank XTC and everyone on this list for making
me think about stuff I haven't thought about since
skule, and occasionally going away to research it
before commenting! (Not often).

Joseph Easter wrote:

"Question for our resident know-it-alls..."

No, no, NO!

It's "A line for an eye, and a truce for the spoof"!

Rory "stop the axis mundi, I want to get off" Wilsher

------------------------------

Date: Thu, 8 Jun 2000 15:54:45 EDT
From: Blueruins@aol.com
Subject: Dave's not here now, man.
Message-ID: <b6.62ad532.26715405@aol.com>

    Thanks to Michael Versaci to saying exactly how I feel about Gregsy's
absence.

    I'm sure Dave's contributions would have been superb as always.  The
only song where I've actually felt his loss is Wounded Horse.  I think
perhaps he could have taken that one to another level.

    My thoughts on Colin are that he is one of the most melodic bass
players since McCartney.  In that department he is a phenomenally talented
musician.  I don't think that Colin's songwriting approaches the brilliance
of Andy's.  Initially it was Colin that I latched on to when I bought my
first XTC album, Oranges and Lemons. It took me a good week before I could
stand that melodramatic warbling spaz that is Andy Partridge.  Once I got
past the Liza Minelli thing I fell in love with the crazy f***ker.  I think
Colins songs are a nice compliment to Andy's and they serve to dilute the
concentrated Partridge flavor which is so sweet you can O.D. on the stuff.
Colin has written some great songs over the years, but I don't think XTC
would be my most favoritest band if it were just Colin and Co..

    And now a distraction before I am hunted down like the dog I am...

    Anyone on this list into John Hiatt?  He is another songwriter that
seems to be lurking somewhere there behind your speakers when you listen.
I would highly recommend "Bring the Family", "Slow Turning" and "Walk On"
for those interested.  It is very American music so those of you who only
dig the brit-pop thing will probably not be impressed.

Brett Reeves

"Tonight I'm howling at a foreign moon
It might as well be a junkie's spoon
for all the light it's given me"-John Hiatt

------------------------------

Date: Thu, 8 Jun 2000 20:58:49 +0100 (BST)
From: Rory Wilsher <rory_wilsher@yahoo.co.uk>
Subject: Jukebox Turn-offs
Message-ID: <20000608195849.26886.qmail@web1503.mail.yahoo.com>

Anything by Duran Duran.

Works every time.

Rory "Likes Duran Duran" Wilsher

p.s...and Depeche Mode.

------------------------------

Date: Thu, 8 Jun 2000 16:58:35 EDT
From: Hbsherwood@aol.com
Subject: Clusical Miches
Message-ID: <e0.56f8e2c.267162fb@aol.com>

Great post from Dunks (much snippage):

>From: "Duncan Kimball" <dunks58@hotmail.com>
>Subject: Musical cliches

>Here's a few music cliches I can think of off the top of my head:
>
>* the 'Arabesque'
>* the 'Oriental'
>* the 'Red Indian'
>- 'The Stripper'
>- 'The Circus'

Add to these scene-setters such as

* The Hillbilly: A few bars of twangy breakdown, courtesy of some hapless
protege of Earl Scruggs, to establish that the scene is set in the Ozarks,
as opposed to, say, the Urals. "Boss Hogg was in a real bad mood that
day..."

* Castanets and a flamenco flourish! Eeeeeeeeeespana!

* Variation of The Arabesque, the Muezzin calling the faithful to prayer.
Best parodied by the Firesign Theater in "How Can You Be in Two Places At
Once"

* Hava Nagila. Nuff Sed.

The Sixties--and particularly Sixties television--were probably the apex of
the Musical Cliche, don't you think? *Just* before the onset of
Postmodernism, where we all *get* the jokes and snicker behind our hands
like the clued-in, irony-aware hepcats we all are. Back then, scriptwriters
basically didn't trust audiences to be jacked-in enough to fill in the
blanks on their own, so they figured they had to conk them over the head
with Big Obvious Musical Cues: Hey: the woman you are now witnessing
entering the room is a VERY HOT TOMATO: Observe the slinky dress and the
Jane Russell sweater: A lotta dese and a lotta dose, hey? So just in case
you don't fully appreciate the HOTNESS of this particular TOMATO, please be
aware of the SLEAZY BREATHY SAXOPHONE playing late-night blooze figures on
the soundtrack, OK? Is it CLEAR ENOUGH now?

What we think of as Self-Referential Postmodern Irony began the day
somebody figured out that it would be really funny if they played those
same sleazy sax runs over the entrance of Kate Smith....

Harrison "White with foam" Sherwood

------------------------------

Date: Thu, 8 Jun 2000 13:51:50 -0700
From: Ed Kedzierski <ed.kedzierski@blvdmedia.com>
Subject: Musical!
Message-ID: <08B5DDC2BABCD311BFC6005004A884B013B6B2@mgcservices.com>

Todd & Dunks were talking about musicals, with Todd quoting Dunks & saying:
Dunks wondered
	> But ... a MUSICAL ... based on "The Full Monty"?
	> Jesus Christ, WHY?

Because some people like musicals, even if you don't, my man! Would you
have the same question about "South Pacific", which is also based on a
book? "My Fair Lady"? "The Wizard of Oz"? C'mon, mate...

I have to say I'm conflicted about this. I think that the better musicals
have in fact produced some of the best (pre "rock") pop music of the last
century... up to about 1970 (can't help noticing that the ones Todd cites
are all from before that). After that, they've produced some of the worst
crap ever made. This was, I think, mostly the result of misguided (if
totally understandable) attempts to graft "rock" sensibilities onto the
form, with the result that the "musical show tune" lost it's goofy charm,
none of the energy of rock (or whatever you want to call it) was really
translated properly, and we ended up with a sickly melodramatic one-note
earnestness for the last thirty years. "Godspell" and the works of the
dreaded "Lord Darth Weber" are the main culprits if you ask me, though
there are certainly others (few things seem to start out with unashamedly
silly "here's who we are" numbers; they've been supplanted by
soaring-voiced "Day by Day" ripoffs). The voices of most of the talent
really seem to be trained in one direction these days as well; I mean, when
was it decided that that cloying "wide-eyed tenor" sound was the only way
to sing in a musical? I actually have something of a weakness for the old
goofy stuff, going right back to Gilbert & Sullivan (which accounts to some
degree for my affection for Colin's later stuff, but more on that in a
future post), but for the most part recent musicals seem afraid to be seen
having fun, or being too silly, which I think is the one thing you should
definitely leave behind when trying to graft "rock" elements onto another
form.

That said, I'm not saying that a musical written now is automatically
destined to be bad just because it's after 1970. I've enjoyed both of Mr.
Yazbek's albums, and I wouldn't be surprised if he was able to do something
different than the usual recent Broadway assembly-line sludge. He clearly
isn't hung up on avoiding silliness at all costs. Some of the names of the
numbers mentioned also sound unlikely to be moon-faced cow-eyed
into-the-spotlight dirges. True, I'd had enough of the relentless
popularity of "Full Monty" long before I even heard about the musical, but
these things depend quite a lot on reworking the familiar; they die without
big audiences. Of course, I don't know how likely I am to see it in any
case, considering the stratospheric ticket prices for big-budget
musicals...

I guess all that I'm saying is that I can well understand anyone who
shudders at the word "musical" if they've been hearing excerpted numbers
from the big hit shows of the last thirty years, as they've truly been
dire.  And it's "Full Monty"... and it's now set in the States... well,
yeah, I know. On the other hand, well... Yazbek's pretty good, musicals
have been good before (even if not for a long while) and you never can
tell...

Ed K.

------------------------------

End of Chalkhills Digest #6-160
*******************************

Go back to the previous page.