Tuesday, February 9, 2010

A Spoonful Of Sugar

Taylor Swift, the American country star, is a phenomenon - her sugar-coated style a perfect antidote to her nation's ills. But it would not hurt if she could actually sing.


  1. The article of Clover Stroud in the Sunday Times is convincing, I find.

    Behind the sugar she seems really to be still "miraculously whole" in a contagious, infecting way which can have healing effects. She has something which becomes even more charming without a good singing tecnique, and her music becomes pure packaging and means of conveyance of this je ne sais quoi. May she never loose it when she, if she succeeds to retire again to a more intimate life one day.

    But why does she get four grammies, if she cannot sing???

    This hurts a lot.
    I thought awards are for quality, not for success.

  2. This song consists mainly of three notes, the total range in fact is one octave, but the two lower notes really are beyond the range of the singer´s capacity. Even if you include the obligatory shift of tonality (plus one step), at the end, that is not much, but obviously enough. Is this performance live? If not it could be a producer´s tricky idea not using auto-tuning software. After all, Taylor Swift´s unclear and girlish voice could disclose the secret of her success.

  3. Does it really matter if she can sing or not nowadays? More and more people who can't sing are rising to the tops of the charts everywhere. Look at Ke$ha & Friends...they are pretty faces who sell and to recording companies, in the end, that's all that matters. Even Paris Hilton has a CD and sung in a movie next to Sarah Brightman (!). It's sad but it's a fact...

    And that aplies also in Musical Theater in which, to me, Uwe Kröger is a good example nowadays. He is a hell of an actor and no doubt there, but his great voice that was perpetuated on some of your works Cast Recordings like Elisabeth and Mozart! or in Sunset Boulevard, nowadays doesn't exist anymore. He strugles to reach the high notes he was able to sing before and fails most of the times. I recall that happening in Rebecca and it is now quite visible in the Rudolf DVD where he simply shouts the last note of his two big numbers ("Fäden in der Hand" and "Wenn das Schicksal dich ereilt"). And in Musical Theater an actor in a leading role must be able to act AND sing. Which Uwe doesn't do anymore. Yet, he was and will still be casted in leading roles. Not because he still has a great voice but because he sells. Same aplies to Taylor Swift. She almost doesn't sing a note and still she sells and therefore goes to starlight.

  4. @David

    Very interesting, thank you. A remedy has to be found. It is shameful when quality is getting sacrificed in front of the selling icon. This is exactly what once upon a time, approximately 3400 years ago, has been obstracised in the desert as worship of idols and dance around the golden calf. The art of our time is more and more becoming or a slave to producers whose main ambition is to sell, or the precise opposite: an autistic circle of extravagant sectarian outsiders who worship their own bizarre and uncommercial creativity in a glashouse of public sponsorship which can become an oxygen tent for creativity which no audience will ever love. Both extremes are painful, sad facts in a growing desert.

    The area in between this two antipodes should be richer and should be populated as much as possible by talented people of any department who are interested in quality AND success. And the mainstream which irrigates this area should be the opposite of the desert, a kind of Mississippi with a high degree of biodiversity instead of being denigrated as "mainstream" by educated people who should know better that this conceited swearword fundamentally is a wonderful metaphor for life.

  5. PRELUDE ON THE STAGE (translated by David Luke)

    How shall we give them something fresh and new,
    that's entertaining and instructive too?
    I like to see them all throng through
    the gate into our wooden paradise, to watch
    them push and shove and labour up that straight
    and narrow way, like babes about to hatch!
    Do not remind me of that motley throng,
    spare me the sight of them! Our spirits fail
    and flounder in that stream, we are swept along,
    against the unruly flood what can prevail?
    What glisters is the moment's, born to be
    soon lost; true gold lives for posterity.
    Must we bring in posterity? Suppose
    posterity were all I thought about,
    who'd keep the present public's boredom out?
    They must be entertained, it's what one owes
    to them. And with a lad like me
    performing, they're enjoying what they see!

    The question is timeless. Goethe has only updated a prelude written by the indian playwright Kalidasa of the 5th century.