Sunday, September 08, 2013

No Strings

The other night I got lost on YouTube for several hours, which is the main reason I try to avoid it. But I'd heard a snippet of one of my favorite songs from my teen years at the end of a TV show and wanted to hear the whole song. So, of course, I headed to YouTube.

The song? Chad & Jeremy's "A Summer Song" from way back in 1964. (It was a very good year for songs, by the way.) So I find it and get sucked in - not just by the memories that the song dredged up, but by the lush orchestration that included strings, brass, and some guitar pickin'. Ah, lovely, I thought.

And as always happens with my ventures into the black hole of YouTube, one song led to another and before I knew it, I'd gotten lost for three hours. I moved from Chad & Jeremy to Sergio Mendes &  Brasil 66's version of "Fool on the Hill" and the Fifth Dimension's "Up, Up, and Away" and "One Less Bell to Answer" to assorted Ray Charles, Roy Orbison, and - OK, I'll admit it - Barry Manilow. While, yes, many of these songs were ballads, many weren't. I hit ballads, dance tunes, upbeat, downbeat rock and roll, country, folk, and 60s/70s rock. And while these recordings employed plugged-in guitars, electric keyboards, and drums out the wazoo, at some point, full-on strings and brass moved in to grab me in the gut. And those strings still pull.

Now, I will admit that I don't listen to much new music. Ballads, if there are any, are smarmy and bland (and maybe ballads always are), and the upbeat stuff is all computer-generated thump-thump - perfect for club dancing, but not much for using as my background life-music. Maybe new music does employ more orchestral pieces than I give it credit for, but I'm missing it whenever I tune in.

Yeah, I do sound like an old fogey. But have we totally thrown over real live strings, brass, and woodwinds? Is it a result of computers or format-radio/satellite, something that keeps us in our own genre silos? Who knows? Or maybe I'm stuck in my own geezer-music silo.

Still, those violins really added something to the tunes. And that something seems to be missing now. A world with no strings is less rich. But, hey. "They say that all good things must end someday. Autumn leaves must fall."

1 comment:

Liz Hinds said...

I always imagined I wouldn't be like the older generation of my youth who scoffed at my music but I find I do! And as well as the wonderful songs from the 60s my taste seems to be going backwards in time, especially to Ella, Frank, Dean et al.