November 1st, 2005

coyote Phil

Sad songs

I don't think anybody noticed that songwriters could write about a whole new range of human experience after music could be recorded. I'm talking about sad songs. Before recorded music, any music had to be played by a musician in your presence, and (unless you were a king or a banker) in front of other audience members. So they could play only socially-acceptable songs. Sad songs about losing a lover, a friend, or a country were permissible. But not Pink Floyd. AFAIK, angst-ridden introspective songs like the Rolling Stones' "Paint it Black", Metallica's "Unforgiven", Alice Cooper's "Running out of time", or Tears for Fears' "Mad World", did not exist before recorded music. Am I totally wrong? Pope Benedict, amateur music historian, what say you?

OTOH, Pink Floyd's /The Wall/ has been screened in public. Is that only because its popularity was made popular by private listenings? (Or because it's the best orchestral work of the 20th century?) Or has something else changed about us that lets us hang our souls out to dry in public?