27 December 2007

This year's Christmas whinge

Hi folks.

Just my annual "bah humbug" post, which I've finally managed to complete. You know, there's always something that sets me off.

This year, while walking around a shopping mall on the Northern Beaches of Sydney, I suddenly noticed in a rare bunch of coincidences, that each shop I went to seemed to have the same song playing on the Muzak.

Of course, Carl Jung would attach some sort of significance to this.

It was "O Holy Night," which prior to this Christmas, was one I considered a reasonably 'nice' Christmas carol. In each instance, it was being covered by someone different. "O Holy Night" has been covered that many times it's not funny.

I can't recall who was singing it the first few times, but it was Whitney Houston the second last time, and Mariah Carey the last time.

And these were the two that really set me off. It's one thing to hear these two bints doing their own stuff, but really, when stuck in a shop waiting for one's loved one to wrap up their purchases (oh, Christmas puns, you gotta love them) the last thing that one wants to hear is these atrocities being perpetrated by singers with the utter hubris to think that these songs are all about them.

In Carey's case, I don't think that she sang a single note in key or in time. Always she delayed or anticipated her entrance.

Actually, I'm reminded of a cover I heard once of Nick Cave doing "Hey Jude". He was late for every single note, and I'm not joking. But yet again, I've digressed.

In addition to Carey's appalling habit of chucking in glissandos of several hundred octaves per syllable, she cannot hit a note first time bang on. She has to scoop up from a lower note, or swoop down from a higher note.

But, you know, the worst part about this is that Carey, Houston and everyone else who has covered this recently can't plead ignorance in their massacring of this tune.

Oh no. Part of Carey and Houston's shtick is to have a full gospel choir going in the background. You see, the full blown vocal acrobatics in Carey, Houston's and everyone else's case appears to be a case of plugging their gospel credentials. In other words, there appears to be a serious lack of imagination as to how to cover one of these tunes.

This suspicion was confirmed as Carey's divadom faded out to be replaced by a cover of "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" done by Michael Bolton in exactly the same way.

Now you expect this from RnB'ers. Their whole lifestyle is based around hosing down any suggestion that their soul or gospel credentials are below par. In Carey's case, add hip hop credentials to this list.

Why they insist on doing this during every tune, though is a mystery to me. I am not questioning for a moment the technical ability of these singers, but they still insist on foisting it upon us, when they could ease off from time to time and just sing normally.

RnB is basically western Cantopop (or Mandopop) designed to be as inoffensive as possible while bleeding dollars from black Americans. There really isn't any difference between RnB and Pop except for the colour of the performers, and this is possibly final proof that the music industry is one of the most racist places on earth.

Michael Bolton ought to know about this. For years, he's been indulging in every single vocal gimmick that RnB'ers use, yet he's labelled "soft rock" because he's white.

Anyway. That's my gripe for this year. Have a happy new year, and don't do anything I wouldn't do.


Plonka said...

Ah... I see you're in need of a bit of an xmas musical tonic. Here, this one should do the trick...;)

Happy Soltice and a merry renewal Dikkii...:)

KitKat said...

Ugh... the music of wailing women... and the male equivalent... There are repositories for this kind of music, they are called "Easy Listening Stations" and it is fortunate that they are so clearly labelled.

Less fortunate is that we are subjected to this horrendous noise when we venture into certain public places.

I think this is a type of physical assault... Could we launch a libel case?

Plonka said...

Libel? Perhaps. But only if you're suggesting that Tom Waits is the male equivalent of Carey or Houston.

Those two make you want to slit your wrists because of the ridiculous amounts of sarcastic cheeriness. Waits makes you want to slit them because he wants you to slit them. There's a hell of a difference.

I couldn't find Cohen doing christmas carols, but he was my first choice, Waits can actually be quite funny...:)

Anonymous said...

and with that, my Christmas is complete!

As always dikkii-dear, thank you and I look forward to another great year of diatribes.


Dikkii said...

Plonka, KitKat and Nicole, thanks for dropping by. I'll start with you Nic.

Nicole, or morisetn, I never know whether to use your name or your handle in the blogosphere.

Thanks heaps for your well wishes, and all the best for the New Year to both you and Taj.

And Plonka, I'm always up for a little Tom Waits.

Please feel free to send more my way. Dunno if you'll ever hear Cohen doing Christmas carols, though. Given that he's got what sounds like a pretty Jewish sounding surname.

KitKat, thanks once more to you for dropping by. If there's one thing I cannnot stand, it's musical masturbation of any form.

I'm not really sure where you could place a libel reference. But if it keeps these harpies (and their male equivalents) from recording ever again, then I'm all for it.

Dikkii said...

Forgot to mention, Plonka, the good Reverend Jenner J Hull has posted on this very topic, and his three are well worth checking out. Just do a search on YouTube.

The Rev. Jenner J. Hull said...

Many thanks, oh exalted Down-Undered one...

And, for the record, the worst Christmas cover I heard was Michael MacDonald's "Little Drummer Boy."

I heard it in the grocery store one day and cackled incessantly for three or so minutes. I got a few weird looks from my fellow shoppers, especially when I started singing along in my nearly pitch-perfect MacDonald impression.

Which reminds me of one of my all-time favorite games, which I shall post on later...

And, dude, you're more than right. Modern "R&B" singers (scare quotes used because real R&B died, like, thirty years ago) have destroyed a once noble musical genre. I only wish we could zombie-fy David Ruffin and Marvin Gaye and set them loose at the MTV Video Awards show.

Why can't people just listen to Motown anymore and throw Mariah Carey in a volcano?

Dikkii said...

I'm going to have to check out McDonald's cover of this, Jenner, cause it sounds like a hoot.

I agree vis a vis R&B with the exception of the glowing rap for Motown. While it did give us Marvin Gaye and Smokey Robinson, it also gave us such crap as the Supremes and the Marvelettes.

I would recommend checking out Stax/Volt instead for some of the really good stuff - Booker T, Sam and Dave, Otis etc.