Sunday, April 19, 2009

A Cynic's View of Susan Boyle

Britain's Got Talent (does it?) star, and internet sensation Susan Boyle took the masses by storm last week with her performance of Les Misérables's "I Dreamed a Dream."

The performance is notable for its exercise in contrast. Ms. Boyle is the 47-year-old virgin singer who had never been kissed; who lived alone with her cat; who though homely in appearance sings with the voice of an angel.  In the youtube clip of the performance, one can nigh feel the Lord Himself urging us on toward our better persons through song.

Naturally, such viral interest heightens my skepticism. For once, I am not alone. Saturday's New York Post easily published the most cynical response to the Susan Boyle phenomenon of any major publication in the world. The Post op-ed appears in relevant part below:
Most disturbing of all, perhaps, is that not since Saturday has Susan Boyle been Susan Boyle. It's a permutation of the Heisenberg principle: That 30 million people have heard her, seen her, embraced her has already changed who she is. The shy churchgoer who said that her recently deceased mother encouraged her to "take the risk," who admitted in her audition that she has never been kissed, who has forever lived as something of an accidental outcast - she now seems too much of this world. "I've been for a meeting with Sony BMG, but I can't say much about it," she said this week. "It's early days." Susan Boyle is now one of us. And that is really a shame.

[Link]
Aside from being a bit self-flagellating, writer Maureen Callahan utterly nails the cynic's response. Aside from the substantive change in Ms. Boyle's life, Ms. Callahan's larger point is that the performance would be eminently forgettable were it not for the contradictions. In other words, if Ms. Boyle were more attractive, might not we be less entranced? And, by extension, isn't Ms. Boyle a bit overrated?

Perhaps.

Regardless, I leave you to decide. The video clip of Ms. Boyle's performance is below. Enjoy! (Or not).



Friday, April 3, 2009

Song of the Week: Sleepy Tigers

The Pax Plena song of the week took a bit of a hiatus due to the onset of our law school's Moot Court Competition. With round one in the books, and one more round to go, I'm proud that it is back with a vengance.

The Pax Plena song of the week comes to you courtesy of the Cox Cable commercial below. While watching TV this past Monday, the Cox commercial came on and it had the catchiest little background song that I had ever heard on a Cox commercial. This really doesn't say much for Cox, but, even so, I couldn't get the jingle out of my head.



For those of you who clicked the video above, you have to admit that the little robots dancing to the music are quite fetching. Not long after seeing the spot, I found myself errantly half-whistling the tune. Finally, the haunting became too much. This afternoon, I scoured the internet using the only lyrics I could recall ("I love you so very much" & "Wake you up") looking for the title of the song, and a music video. The song is called Sleepy Tigers from the band/recording moniker Her Space Holiday.

The band is really no band at all. As best I can gather, all recordings are done by artist Marc Bianchi who imports a 'folk and jam' sound to his songs while placing an emphasis on lyrics and song writing. The focus pays off. The lyrics of Sleepy Tigers are easily the best part of the song. The track provides a clear instance where lyrics dictate music, and some how the perfect balance is struck.

The tenor of the song is largely up beat. Cox's dancing robots would have it no other way. Neither would yours truly. Anyone in need of a new 'happy' song for your play list will be well served. I will not expand on lyrics that can easily say much more for themselves. But the biography discussing the musician's underlying philosophy is a good read in narrative form. The suppressed existentialist in me is actually quite sympathetic.

Per usual, a video of the song appears below. (It's actually a surprisingly interesting fan piece). Lyrics follow after the jump. Enjoy!



Sleepy Tigers
By Her Space Holiday

Oh I like you so very much so much in fact I gotta wake you up
It’s not that I have words to speak
I just wanna see you looking at me
In a way, that states

In an hour when the sun comes up
We’re gonna put on our shoes we’re gonna shake the dust
Open the door with your brand new key
We won’t be afraid of being sweet
to ourselves
Or anybody! anybody else!

Oh I miss you so very much so much in fact i gotta call you up
It’s not that I have news to bring
I just wanna make your telephone ring
So it shows and you know

In a week when I fly back home
We’re gonna jump in bed and be all alone
you’ll make biscuits and I’ll make tea
We’ll curl up close and then fall asleep
To the sound… of no one else, no else around

And if Ive learned anything at all
In this short life of mine,
If you hear that joy has come to town
Track it down, take a picture and tape it to your eyes

Oh I love you so very much so much in fact I'm gonna switch it up
I'm gonna take this room that I built for fun
And burn down the walls in front of everyone
So they see, you and me

Dancing in our sleepy clothes
With two big smiles and a bowl of hope
That we’ll drink down like ginger tea
The heat will help us forget everything
That you and I, that you and I have seen

And if Ive learned anything at all
In this short life of mine (it’s this)…
If you hear that joy has come to town
Track it down, take a picture and tape it to your eyes...

© Pax Plena
Maira Gall