Oh inverted world
It’s easier to say why you don’t like it; hard to pin down why you do. It will always be easier to write bad reviews. The soundtrack is Joss Stone: soulless trash; so you can sing but is this all your handlers could come up with – second-rate white boy soul that even Will Young would give a pass? Aretha was manufactured but she at least managed to sound as though she meant it. It’s a talent that goes beyond talent. Next up is U2. Let me count the ways. Old men have to fake vigour where young men just have it. The way he makes “yeah” sound like a negative. Buy yourself a Beatles record, man. If she loves you, you know what “yeah” is. Texas are next up; don’t start me.
So much negativity. But what makes the great stuff fly?
This afternoon I was listening to the Shins. If you forced me I’d say shiny literate pop, the collision of melody and sublime voice. A desert Beach Boys with no place to surf. I’m not kidding. You can hear the sunshine.
I worship the voice. I am transported by the singular beauty of an open-throated celebration of life. Yanka Roupkina (if you don’t know, Le mystere des voix bulgares, Kalimankou denkou, and say Zen sent ya) brings me tears, Otis wipes them away and Bjork laughs at the mess. And James Mercer has one of those voices. I could listen to him sing his shopping list.
There is more. The intricate melodies, the little moments of transport in each song. It’s a record you listen to and don’t feel swindled. It’s a record you’re glad you found it or were shown it. If you don’t own it, trust me and allow something beautiful to be a small part of your days.