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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Longer Post Coming Soon

Promise. In the meantime, enjoy Lauryn Hill's performance of "I Gotta Find Peace of Mind" from her second MTV Unplugged concert, as she enters full diva meltdown mode during a live television taping, complete with vocal crisis and streaming tears: Possibly the best part is around a minute before the clip is over, when the horrified audience begins clapping awkwardly at what they think is the end of the song. Rolling Stone:

She recorded her MTV Unplugged 2.0 in July 2001 while she was pregnant with her third child, Joshua. In a rehearsal the day before, Hill ripped up her throat but refused to reschedule, and on the record her voice is raspy and ragged. She accompanied herself on guitar, the lone instrument on the album, which was courageous given that she hadn't been studying very long. But a veteran industry executive says, "Anyone with ears can hear there are only three chords being played on every song. I saw it with a roomful of professionals, and someone said, 'I feel like jumpin' out a window.'"

Note to industry executives, professionals: go to hell. This here is awesome.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Give the girl a break. This was pop at it's best - straight from the heart. Her voice only added to the blues feel and her playing wasn't all that bad. The stripped-down guitar and raspy voice was appropriate for someone who was stripping her so bare for the audience. At least she played and sang her instrument unlike most pop diva's out there. It's just too easy to hate on a girl isn't it? If this had been Dylan everyone would be fawning over how touching and brilliant the performance was. I say turn up the volume and play it again. This is good stuff!

Dan Johnson said...

Well, I'm not sure that knowing how to play an instrument is such a great thing. I'll take, say, Mary J. Blige over Alicia Keys any day of the week—it drives me crazy when people say, "he/she plays her own instruments/writes her own songs/produces her own albums," as if these things ever guaranteed a better record.

That said, I think I agree with every other point you make here. This album has gotta be one of the great overlooked soul performances.

Anonymous said...

Well she plays guitar better that Bono at least. Every performer has a different level of proficiency. My point is that the pop world right now is made up primarily of pre-fab lip-syncing talentless wonders. The mere fact that she tries to write songs and sings and not lip-sync is by default more then a few steps above, say, Brittney Spears or Ashlee Simpson. This corporate pre-fab mindset has pervaded pop world wide. The most recent example can be seen here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ODFADDxxx6A

You're right to point out that playing an instrument doesn't make you better but it does make you a cut above the rest. Besides, a note perfect performance can be bland at times. It's refreshing to hear a unpolished performance now and again. The human element itself can
sometimes compensates for a lackluster performance.

I'm often amazed at how Gavin Bryer's often played work "Jesus' Blood Never Failed me Yet" continues to move an audience. Almost everyone I've talked to claims to have tuned out the professional orchestration and listened instead to the recording of the hobo's voice. Of course one can argue that a skilled orchestrator would try very hard not to distract the listener to the voice. still the sincerity of the moment brushes over the fault of the mans voice.