Saturday, November 22, 2008

Getting It

I am so uncool.

I'm also a bit of a music snob. There is some stuff on my iPod that I don't like to share with anyone. That's why they call them guilty pleasures, you know?

The thing is I keep my distance from popular pop music pretty much. When everybody was listening to Janet Jackson, I was discovering Joe Henry. When Brittany Spears or Radiohead were charting, I was still working through John Hiatt and Lucinda Williams, discovering Whiskeytown (where Ryan Adams got his start) and taking some side trips through country blues and alt country and sometimes down my parents' memory lane, stopping to visit with Billie and Frank and Tony Bennett. I figured there wasn't enough time to listen to everything, so I decided to stick to my own backroads, wherever they would lead me. Along the way, I checked out Eminem (and liked some of it) and had a White Stripes phase and even heard my first Justin Timberlake song. But none of it stuck. I kept going back to my old familiar places.

Yesterday, I heard my first Beyonce song.

I know, I know. I had no idea what I was missing. None.

But now I get what all the fuss is about. First thing, girl's got serious pipes. The song I heard, "If I Were a Boy," from her new album I Am ... Sasha Fierce, kills. (Great title too.) Seriously. Not that anybody wants this picture in their head, but S.O.L. was dancing around the living room. I kid you not.

I listened to a couple more songs from the record and while they weren't as fun as this one, it made me want to dig a little deeper. One cut is a kind of rif off of the choral piece Ava Maria (the Charles Gounod version I believe), an old favorite of mine. Makes me wish she would stretch out and away from hip pop, maybe even record a CD of American Standards. Who wouldn't pay to hear Beyonce sing Billie Holiday? Not that she hasn't skimmed the surface -- after all she portrays blues legend Etta James in the upcoming film Cadillac Records. I don't know if there's any footage of her doing "Sunday Kind of Love," but I'd be curious to see if she could pull it off. Check out blogger Undercover Black Man's post on the movie here. And of course, she was in Dreamgirls, which now I have to see.

You can be a music elitist, but if a song makes you happy than there's gotta be something right about it in my book.

I dare you not to dance around your living room, too. Check out "If I Were a Boy" streaming on my Vox Stash and listen for yourself.

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