Saturday, May 5, 2012

Rap-Is It Really Music? Perhaps!

The death of the lead of The Beastie Boys drove me back to the Internet to explore music that the past three decades accepted as good, some might say great. When I played the songs all I heard was a lot of noise by a driving, beating drum, loud electric guitars and a voice shouting unintelligible lyrics. I Googled the lyrics to  read them and some were good but none were very good and a lot were terrible poetry. Most of all the lyrics bore no visible relationship to the music. Yet this was an iconic Rap group that made tons of money. I even went so far to check out some Gangster Rap which is really ridiculous as far as calling this
art. I would prefer tagging it as "junk" art. But then this is only one person's idea of what art is. I have heard some pretty intelligent people in their twenties and thirties extolling rap and hip hop as the music they cut their teeth on. They proclaimed it as a "freeing" of their spirit. To which I reply if that is what has happened to those who love this music then so be it for that is what art is supposed to do, free the spirit and help ideas grow so that one can appreciate the beauty the world has to offer.

There is some Western, not Eastern music and I don't mean Country, that do not lend themselves to a blending of music and lyrics for instance Be-Bop, an examination of chords and rhythms lending themselves to great improvisation. This music isn't a great popular brand since only jazz aficionados really appreciate it. But it is music following proper rhythms and chord changes and intonations. Then there is the Great American Songbook which blends words and music lifting one's spirits as they sing about unrequited love, or a happier moment like the fulfillment of love. It is poetry in motion so to speak.

I refer you to Tony Bennett's rendition of "When Joanna Loved Me". I will show the lyrics below but to really appreciate it you have to hear Bennett's rendition, an interpretation of moods which one can understand because every lyric is pronounced in a way that is understandable. The background music is superb, everything combined tells a story of unrequited love but one that did taste fulfillment which will never be forgotten.

When Joanna Loved Me
(Robert Wells & Jack Segal)

Today is just another day, tomorrow is a guess
But yesterday, oh, what I'd give for yesterday
To relieve one yesterday and its happiness

When Joanna loved me
Every day was Paris
Every day was Sunday
Every Month was May

When Joanna loved me
Every sound was music
Music made of laughter
Laughter that was bright and gay

But when Joanna left me
May became December
But even in December, I remember
Her touch, her smile, and for a little while

She loves me 
And once again its Paris
Paris on a Sunday
And the month is May

When one listens to Tony Bennett perform this you don't need lights, smoke and fireworks all you have to do is close your eyes and remember and if you don't have this type of love to remember it is your loss. Perhaps that is what is the real difference between this music, poetry and the current brand, a soft love with great remembrances rather than pure sex that when it is over all one has is a longing for the next experience with complete disregard for the person. I like this artistry over the current brand, it is softer, delicious and memorable.
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