I, like any child of opera, likes a good wallow every now and then. But, like they say, too much of a good thing can be bad. Lurking and screeching in the muck and the mire for too long can stress you out and remind you of the time your girlfriend yelled at you for ironing the cat's tail.
When I feel like immersing myself in a sad music binge, I know that, ultimately, it will be extremely unhealthy. There is a fine line between "I'm gonna listen to a few sappy break-up songs" and "my entire music library is filled with the phrases broken heart and asshole." I think everyone who's reading this will recall a time when they planted themselves in melancholy music for far too long and bummed themselves out.
I remember one week, in college, I listened to the same sad song first thing in the morning...for the entire WEEK. Starting your day that way is one of most stupid things you can do, akin to a form of masochism.
In our modern age, I think there is a plentiful bounty of artists who put out a more depressing song every now and then, but there's one who seems to create nothing but them: Adele.
The 28-year-old sorrowful songbird has written some of the most downbeat, dirge-like music known to pop music history. Her songs, which include "Someone Like You", "Hello", and "When We Were Young", create a portrait of an artist who knows only one emotion: complete and utter heartbreak.
Now, I'm not picking on Adele alone, as there are plenty of tepid tunesters to crap out their own special brand of languid love songs, but Adele is on an entirely different planet than them. If I were to write a biography of Adele, it would be entitled A Legacy of Letters to a Long Lost Love.
In our culture of extremely commercial music, Adele epitomizes the adage of "if it's not broke, don't fix it!" Adele knows she can hypnotize her listeners with the same old tale of unrequited or obliterated love, and they do eat it up like it's in the clearance aisle at Target.
I'm not saying that depressing songs don't have their place in the musical lexicon of our lives, but you have to have a balance in your creative output. You see pop singers who seem to churn out the same song with the same beat and they're gone in what seems like five minutes. As a musician myself, I'd go insane if I had to perform or write the same kind of songs over and over and over again.
Even her interaction with her fans is utterly depressing. In a fan video, she weeps about canceling a concert because of a bad cold:
Could you imagine Barbra Streisand or Debbie Harry doing that? Laying in bed and weeping like a baby only instills a sense of disgust in me. A cold or illness is something inevitable and we, as artists, have to deal with the cards we're dealt. Can you imagine Maria Callas doing a special segment on CBS where they camera is panned so close to her face that you can see what kind of foundation she wears and crying crocodile tears for a canceled performance? No, because an artist knows that illness is a fact of life, and a press statement is more than enough to satiate fans and gain their support.
Adele, who a few years ago dropped off the face of the earth to soothe her tattered vocal cords, knows that her fans hang on her every action and will weep along with her. I have never meant a person who is the ultimate personification of a weeping willow.
Entire albums of sad songs need to go, along with the CDs filled with incessant drum machines and rap artists who have the diction of a toddler and none of the charm. Music is best when it is varied, humor blending with sadness and accentuated by outbursts of joy. I can honestly say that the best CDs in my collection, such as Stevie Nicks' Bella Donna, Fleetwood Mac's Rumours, and The Beatles' Revolver are brilliant because of the range of emotion they are able to cover in the space of less than an hour. It feels organic, yet not schizophrenic in the slightest, because the emotion is genuine.
Artists like Adele need to learn that a one-trick pony can only go so far before it falls into a well.
A well...Adele...see what I did there?
I amaze myself sometimes.
After toying with the idea, I decided to create an off-shoot of this blog. Because I love hearing my own beautiful voice, I am happy to introduce to you From the Ego of Steven - Podcast Edition! Every week, I'll do a half-hour show, talking about whatever I'd like, with a mix of comedy, entertainment, and maybe even a guest or two if I get enough listeners! You can sign up for SoundCloud to follow my podcast, or you can always find the newest installment on the right side of my blog! I thank you for supporting each of my new ventures and I hope you enjoy my new baby!
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