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Tuesday, February 4, 2014

"YMCA" as mournful dirge

We were at a Thai restaurant the other evening. While we were waiting for our food some sappy song was playing in the background. I didn't pay much attention to it, but during a lull in the conversation I realized that the lyrics to a song that was playing in the background sounded strangely familiar. A few seconds later I realized, with some shock, that the song being sung by the female artist was "YMCA."

This singer had utterly drained the song of all its energy and vitality and sly humor and was singing it slowly in a weak, sad voice.

It seemed almost sacrilegious.

I just looked for the song on Youtube so that I could link it here, but couldn't find it. I tried "YMCA as sad song," "YMCA as mournful dirge," and "YMCA by female singer," but nothing came up.

Who would take a song whose primary (really, only) strengths are its catchy rhythm and tongue-in-cheek wit, eliminate both those qualities, and think they somehow improved it?

Yet this vocalist had somehow managed to get a band to back her up, get produced, and be included on some kind of mass-distributed mix.

I think I'll rewrite the James Bond theme, but take out all the brass. Then I'm going to do a cover of the Beatles' She Loves You, but do it in half time, so people can slow dance to it. After that I'm going to re-make Tchaikovsky's Sleeping Beauty, but eliminate the instruments and do it as an a cappella rap.


arthur thurman said...

Yes, we have entered the world of the "remix", whether it be music, movies or even TV shows. It seems that there is a belief that if something was good once it can be wonderful again. Just throw in some flashy CGI and the latest actor/actress/singer of the week.

John Craig said...

Arthur --
You are completely right. And the thing is, they usually don't remake lousy movies or TV shows, they remake the good ones, which have less room for improvement, but do have lots of room to go downhill, which is what they usually do.

John Craig said...

PS -- Just checked out your picture; you look a little alike one of the mob guys in a TV show I just watched, Justified.

Justified is a great show, so if they decide to do a remake…...

Anonymous said...

I've noticed a lot of shitty cover songs being played at Starbucks, lately. I can't understand it. The playback royalties can't be any cheaper than the original (and almost-always better) works.

John Craig said...

Anon --
I don't understand it either.

arthur thurman said...

Justified is the next show I was planning to catch up on. LOL Gave up Cable almost three years ago so now I only have Netflix and Amazon Video. It's interesting how much free time (and money) that you find yourself with when you let go of cable. You don't realize how much subconscious scheduling you do with cable. I found myself thinking of the days of the week in relation to what show was coming on that night.

John Craig said...

Arthur --
You've got the bet of both worlds now; you can watch what you want but are not wedded to a schedule.

I think you'll be (slightly) flattered by the comparison. These guys appear in the third and fourth episodes (if the fourth one is the one that was on last night). Some pretty tough hombres.

John Craig said...

best, not bet.