Monday, May 3, 2004

Mystic River & Mo' music: Paul Williams, Eagles, Chicago, Kool & the Gang

Finally got to watch Clint Eastwood's Mytic River. It bears traces of the movie "Sleepers," which interestingly starred Kevin Bacon. I guess the biggest lesson the movie posed is that we shouldn't be rash and impulsive about things. I kinda hate the fact that Sean Penn & Laura Linney seem to have little or no remorse on the fact that an innocent man was killed (Tim Robbins). The river connection is kinda far off, save for the fact that the river holds the secret of the snuffing of an innocent man's life. Don't get me wrong, I think the movie's deep. it's just that I thought I've seen something like this before.I  also think that Tim Robbins acted better than even Sean Penn here.

Now, onto more music. Focus on Paul Williams. The guy with the kinda weird, largely nasal, yet endearing voice is also the singer behind great songs. The Carpenters' breakthrough hit, "We've Only Just Begun," was a commercial jingle that hit #1, the first to do so in American chart history. Then there's the poignant "Traveling Boy," "You and Me Against the World," "Evergreen," and the unforgettable "I Won't Last the Day Without You" and "Rainy Days and Mondays."

Lucky for me, I've got a CD of his greatest hits since most of his songs have been popularized by other singers, namely, The Carpenters and Barbra Streisand.  Karen Carpenter breathed inimitable life, passion and emotion into "Rainy Days and Mondays" and "I Won't Last the Day Without You". It's amazing how the lyrics and the music flowed. Especially the words - "talking to myself and feeling old, sometimes I like to quit, nothing ever seems to fit, hang on around, nothing to do but frown, Rainy days and Mondays always get me down." Such an incredible stream of emotion! or dig this, "when there's no getting over that rainbow. when my smallest of dreams won't come true. I can take all the madness the world has to give, but I won't last the day without you." So much emotion loaded into the words! It's the kind of lyricism that's sorely missing in today's songs. More on The Carpenters later because they deserve a blog entry on their own.

P.S.  Bought an Eagles DVD for an officemate and it's another great opportunity to reminisce on great 70s music.  As I'm writing this, I'm singing to "I Can't Tell You Why" which is my absolute Eagles favorite apart from "Desperado."  It's also amazing how I still know the complete lyrics of "Hotel California" although there's the lingering belief it's a demonic song talking about California being the haven for demon worship.

P.S. 2 - Another great 70s-90s group is Chicago. From "Hard Habit to Break" to "Look Away," the group's music is a great reminder of power ballads.

P.S. 3 - Still another favorite is Kool and the Gang. From the effervescent "Celebration" to the doo-wop "Joanna," kool is cool.  Their hits range from the contemplative "Cherish," sensual "Too Hot," to the infectious "Fresh." Right now, their "Ladies Night" is getting a new lease on life with the cover by Atomic Kitten (a lame version, in my opinion). A great group with a whole list of catchy, memorable songs!


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