Monday, November 16, 2009

Monday morning Youtubery

Emmy The Great name-checks Leonard Cohen in her song "First Love". How can you hate a musician who name-checks Leonard Cohen? And isn't it ridiculous that there's so much good music out there by so many interesting singers and songwriters yet anytime you turn on the radio, all you hear are the same five songs by the same five talentless overproduced hacks rehashing the same crap that's been boring people silly for the past twenty years?

-- Badtux the Music Penguin


  1. there are so many unnamed talents and it is so hard for them to have their day in the sun without those 5 shills pulling strings for them....Emmy is dynamite.

  2. You listen to the wrong radio station. It is internet only outside of Humboldt County but try , they play all kinds of stuff you never hear elsewhere.

  3. Aardvarker, Emmy reminds me of Dar Williams in her lighter moods -- a fun listen, but a bit on the fluff side. But Dar's fluff is also backed by some harder stuff. Emmy... not so much. But that's okay, it's entertainment, not everybody has to be all serious and such.

    w3ski, I only listen to "the radio" in the car, where it's impractical to listen to Internet radio. I'm always disappointed when I do so. There's a reason why I bought a stereo for my car that can play music from my iPhone/iPod -- the state of payola-driven terrestrial radio is so dismal as to be nigh unlistenable.

  4. Thank you, that was lovely for a rainy, dreary afternoon in Tacoma, Washington. It made me get out my Leonard Cohen album. I will play Emmy the Great for my sister who used to sing for a living. She had a very lovely voice; but, never recorded due to the lack of knowing the right people. She mostly hates music of today; and, says most of the young women sing flat. Emmy didn't sound flat to me; but, my ear is not as good as hers. I did enjoy it; so, thanks again.

  5. It's actually pretty simple to hate a musician who namechecks Leonard Cohen if you hate Leonard Cohen in the first place, actually. *grin*

    Leonard Cohen is an overhyped hack who not only can't carry a tune in a coal scuttle, but he has a truly terrible voice and only has a four-note range, of which he only ever uses a note and a half at a time. He's the only famous professional musician I've ever heard who's still totally flat even after they polish up his voice on the mixing board.

    Besides that, he's been monopolising Canadian music awards for the last thirty years (and edging out actual talent that is actually Canadian), despite not having lived in Canada for something like 20 years. Plus, a lot of his lyrics are wincingly sexist.

    So, uh, can't sing a lick, doesn't write lyrics worth listening to, and is totally famous for basically nothing and carpetbags back to his native country to get awards he's taking away from the actual talent -- what's to like?

    If the Canadian music industry weren't so insular (and didn't regularly export its leading lights), he wouldn't be famous at all.

    Sign me, Disgruntled Canadian

  6. I love the sly little smile on her face after she says "the original Leonard Cohen version", which, if you've ever heard it, is absolutely atrocious -- it is Leonard Cohen in his 1980's electronica stage, where everything was drenched with the most awful synthesizer sounds, as if he'd picked up a $100 Yamaha keyboard at the discount store and started tormenting it in the studio. The recent remakes -- or even Cohen's own recent remake on his "Live in London" album -- are far superior to the original. Which just goes to show that it's possible to wreck even the finest of songs if you throw enough bad keyboard synthesizer at it.

    That said, we'll just have to agree to disagree when it comes to Leonard Cohen, Interrobang. He's a nasty horrible sexist old man, maybe, but he's also a prophet and a poet who has more talent in his little pinky than I'll ever have in my whole body. And some of my songs are good.

    - Badtux the Music Penguin

  7. Leonard Cohen's lyrics are sexist; but, so were the times then. I know; I survived all that sexism the best I could. Now, I let my grandniece listen to these old sexist lyrics and tried to tell her how I hope some of the battles won are making her life easier.

    Sometimes, for me, it's the music I like--such as I don't think there is any tune that gets my toes tapping, my body moving, etc., like The Stones' "Under My Thumb." Talk about sexist lyrics! I used to sing along using "he" instead of "she" and a boyfriend complained that he thought it was terrible of me to do that. (I should have said ex-boyfriend.)

    Other times it's the lyrics such as Bob Seger's "Against the Wind." When I first heard the lyrics, I thought he had been a fly on the wall in my apartment and knew all about my life. All I could think was "wow."

    Bottom line, I think BadTux described Leonard Cohen spot on. Hope to hear some of your music soon, BadTux.

  8. Sorry Badtux. You see the people that own the radio waves, also, own rights to certain songs. So, to keep from paying royalties, they play what they own. The amazing thing is that they haven't combined into one huge music throttling organization, programmed a computer to play "their" songs for the next 20 years.

    Of course, I am a musical snob. The last car that I owned got the radio kicked through the dashboard. After an interminable period of pimping the station as the latest, greatest, cutting edge, etc, they played Rock the Casbah, which wasn't even one of The Clash's better songs and it was over 20 years old.

  9. Actually, Anon, it's worse than that. The people who own the airwaves are like the people who own department stores other than Wal-mart. They play certain songs (or stock certain items) because they are *paid* to play certain songs (or stock certain items). Payola to radio stations (err, sorry, radio station *promoters*, payment directly to the radio station would be illegal ;) is a requirement to get radio play. And the result is as dismal for radio as it was for Wal-mart's competitors.

    One reason why Wal-mart drove their competitors out of business was that Wal-mart sold *what sells*, not what they're paid to sell. I would go into a Woolco (Woolworth's department store, similar in concept to Wal-mart but predating them by decades) and see stock that hadn't turned over in months, but Woolco was getting "floor-planning fees" to put that stock out on their floors and so they stocked it. and then when Wal-mart came to town... wow. They had stuff that was actually *different* from all the payola cr*p in the Woolcos and such, and rather than taking payola from the vendors, instead they cut prices so their stuff was cheaper than Woolco's. Vendors flocked to Wal-mart because they liked the fact they didn't have to pay for shelf space, and the variety inside Wal-mart was much greater because of that too. Woolworth's payola-based stores -- the Woolco department stores, the Globe superstores, etc. -- simply could not compete.

    Unfortunately, the terrestrial airwaves are a government-enforced monopoly so there will be no Wal-mart to come through and bust through the payola crap (not that Wal-mart proved any better at the end -- now they demand payola to stock your stuff, but payola in the form of lower prices to them than to their competitors). So my radio rarely gets tuned in to terrestrial radio... it's just too dismal, and unless the media monopolies are broken up by regulatory action and a stop put to payola, it simply isn't going to fix itself. There is no magic free market fairy when it comes to government-sanctioned monopoly of the airwaves...

    -- Badtux the Music Penguin


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