June 22, 2012
THE UR-TEXT of Auto-Tune, the narrative that established the use of technology for pitch correction as a nexus of ethical debate, predates the digital age by half a century. That text is Singin’ in the Rain, the movie musical produced for MGM by Arthur Freed, the Tin Pan Alley tunesmith turned production unit chief, in 1952.
I Love Christmas Kitsch, And I’m Not Ashamed To Admit It
December 23, 2011
Down my street, one family is doing its best to pump up the Christmas spirit. They have filled their modest lawn with inflated ornaments, each about five-feet tall. On one side of the walkway stands a Frosty the Snowman and a Rudolph the Reindeer, both with scarves wrapped around their necks and big smiles on their faces, as well as a miniature Santa Claus and Rudolph waving from inside a snowdome.
Oohs and Aaahs
November 09, 2011
Tony Bennett: The Complete Collection Sony Music More than thirty stars of contemporary or recent-vintage pop, rock, and country music sing with Tony Bennett on his two CDs of cross-generational collaborations, Duets and Duets II, the second of which was released shortly after Bennett’s eighty-fifth birthday last summer. The albums are narratives of pilgrimage. Most of the guest singers, who include Lady Gaga and Faith Hill, are young or youngish; and the oldish ones, such as Paul McCartney and Aretha Franklin, are considerably younger than the singer who brought them together.
The Self-Indulgence of Jay-Z and Kanye’s New Album
August 12, 2011
Forty years ago this July, a few weeks before what would have been his seventieth birthday (on August 4), Louis Armstrong died of a heart attack in the brick shoebox house in Corona, Queens that is now a museum in his honor. The pallbearers included Ella Fitzgerald, Bing Crosby, Dizzy Gillespie, and Frank Sinatra, all of whom had shared the stage with Armstrong at multiple points over his long career.
Wowy, zowy, Obama is doing his own thinking on the Middle East and here’s the even worse news: He’s taking advice from Tom Friedman and Fareed Zakaria. These pathetic tidings about the inner Barack Obama, who puts his very own twist on all things, particularly Arab and Muslim matters, and the other Barack Obama, who needs counsel from two political therapists, famous and even clever but not especially deep, come from the subtle and highly reliable journalist Mark Landler in The New York Times. These tidbits are not contradictory.