A Luminous Halo

"Life is not a series of gig lamps symmetrically arranged; life is a luminous halo, a semi-transparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning of consciousness to the end." --Virginia Woolf

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Location: Springfield, Massachusetts, United States

Smith ’69, Purdue ’75. Anarchist; agnostic. Writer. Steward of the Pascal Emory house, an 1871 Second-Empire Victorian; of Sylvie, a 1974 Mercedes-Benz 450SL; and of Taz, a purebred Cockador who sets the standard for her breed. Happy enough for the present in Massachusetts, but always looking East.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Slow Dancing

I was listening to Sheryl Crow's current single, "Good Is Good," on the radio today, and thinking how much my opinion of her has changed. "All I Wanna Do" and "Soak Up the Sun" used to irritate me so much I couldn't turn the dial fast enough. Lately, though, she's become one of my favorite rock singers.

One of the things that used to bug me about those early songs was the dumb lyrics. Another was the annoyingly bubblegummy, peppy, poppy beat. Well, the beats have improved, and the lyrics are a bit more introspective overall.

Song lyrics are poetry, or at least aspire to be. I'm impatient with fuddyduds who think poetry is dead; it's just morphed into slam poetry and popular song lyrics. Rap, most notably. Sure, 99% of it is crap--but 99% of all the poetry written in the past was crap as well. Things have arguably improved since the Victorians, when every literate fop felt dutybound to try his hand at sonnets. What's left, what has endured, is the other 1%. We just haven't had time yet to weed out the crap from contemporary poetry.

Writing poetry is hard; the hardest thing I do, for sure. Working within the framework of a melody must be harder still. So I can understand songwriters taking some poetic license from time to time.

But, Sheryl, come on. What's with your refrain from "Good Is Good": "And every time you hear the rolling thunder, You turn around before the lightning strikes"? What planet are you living on, where the laws of physics are reversed and sound travels faster than light?

That said, it's a very nice tune. One of those fastish slow songs that's heavenly to dance to. Dancing to just that kind of song is nearly at the top of the list of things I like to do. But if I can't be dancing, barreling down the road on a gorgeous spring day singing along with Sheryl can be pretty nice.