Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Allison Stewart: This time you decide

She's at it again--this time with Franz Ferdinand.
  • Song: "A Song for Sorry Angel"
  • Artist: Franz Ferdinand & Jane Birkin
  • CD: Monsieur Gainsbourg Revisited
  • Genre: Pop
You decide.

Personally, I think she still needs to work harder. I think she's shooting for obscure and cool and informed and intellectual (notice that 2 of the 3 paragraphs she writes are not about the song but about things only tangentially related to the song) while still limiting her musical horizons to the view seen through the lens of an alternative broadcast radio station (and I'm being generous with "alternative").
Fifteen years after his death, Serge Gainsbourg remains legendary as the louche bard of sixties Europop, not to mention the inebriated Frenchman who once propositioned a teenaged Whitney Houston on live television (a moment now enshrined forever on YouTube).

Because Franz Ferdinand is a vaguely arty Scottish rock band, its disdain, at least, comes naturally. Its members turn "Sorry Angel" -- Gainsbourg's tinny, mostly spoken-word meditation on regret -- into a mostly sung dance-floor romp, complete with vintage cooing by Gainsbourg muse (and Hermes bag namesake) Jane Birkin. The result is a hypnotic, thumping ode to love and death, performed with an air of ennui Gainsbourg would likely have appreciated.

That's your song of the day.

What is SotD supposed to be?
Every weekday, "Song Of The Day" will highlight another new or notable song with a short essay and a chance to hear the music itself.

Look for our critics to examine their favorites in everything from indie-pop to hip-hop to roots-rock to jazz and beyond -- one song at a time, one discovery per day.

Sometimes I think that Ms. Stewart's "discoveries" make it hard for me to consider her a bona fide "critic."

But maybe I'm being too harsh. Maybe NPR's "Song of the Day" should be taken over by MTV VJ's and Top 40 DJ's. Maybe that will get them more ratings. Personally, I think that will just make people interested in SotD turn on the radio more thus making SotD moot. On the other hand, those listening to NPR may not want to switch away from their NPR, so this gives them a chance to stay connected to Top 40 culture without giving up their news. However, I think the audience that cares about such things probably aren't staying up to watch Carson Daly late at night and probably are okay with actually hearing new and notable songs on "Song of the Day." I dunno. Maybe that's just me.

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