Friday, October 22, 2004

and the music's seeping through

Not surprising by the title of the post today, I've been on a Paul Simon kick lately. How could one man write something as melancholy as Bookends and something as upbeat as Me & Julio down by the schoolyard? Okay, so the latter is a bit nonsensical, as Simon himself has admitted, but this is in earnest, and still jubilant:
And down along the avenue
Some guys were shooting pool
And I heard the sound of acapella groups, yeah,
singing late in the evening,
when the music's seeping through

I particularly like that because it reminds me so much of warm nights in Manhattan. Not that there are barbershop quartets on every corner, but the feeling is the same. A particular favorite pasttime of mine was going to Lincoln Center during MidSummer Night's Swing. Live bands playing fantastic music, and a large mass of dancers spilling off the dance floor with such fierce density. And it was always warm. I would some times just sit on the steps, watching and listening to the spectacle unfold. It's also reminiscent of the closing scene of Living out Loud, one of my favorite chick movies of all time.

Just to keep with the rampant musical theme before I start being introspective, I feel the need to mention that Peter Gabriel has covered the Magnetic Fields' Book of Love for the soundtrack of Shall we dance?... or as I like to call it, Shall we dance, the bad version. There are reasons the Japanese original worked well, and the biggest reason is the Japanese business culture, a culture vastly different to ours. The movie fits in Japan, and definitely does not fit in the US. I wouldn't be as harsh on Gabriel. At least he recognizes the genius of Magnetic Fields. But there's no reason to cover this song. I have a real problem with covers for the sake of covers. If an artist doesn't improve on the original, or stamp it with something unique, I can't see the point. Gabriel's version is grittier and perhaps a bit more brooding, but it's not different enough to choose it over the original.

I feel I am being tested somehow. Today I was promoted. While this gives me some satisfaction, it does not give me enough satisfaction to reconsider my current plans, which involve dropping out of the working week to pursue further studies. This cannot be all. There must be more. I am hopeless in this sense, and some times I cannot help feeling like a malcontent.

No comments: