Post by Tony LeCalvez
- Non, je ne regrette rien- Edith Piaf
- Nessun Dorma– From the Opera “Turandot” performed by Luciano Pavarotti
- Ladies of the Canyon– Joni Mitchell
- Human Nature– Michael Jackson
- Wide Awake– Parquet Courts
- The Spirit Of Radio– Rush
- Nobody– Mitski
- Mrs. Robinson– Simon & Garfunkel
- The Girl From Ipanema– Stan Getz
My inspiration for this playlist was a classmate that said rock and roll was the only good music genre. Well here’s a long tracklist to keep you busy during quarantine and expand your taste beyond genre.
First off is Edith Piaf with her monumental hit, “Non, je ne regrette rien” recorded in 1960 near the end of her career. One of the most famous songs in French culture and Piaf’s career, she takes an excellently written song – an ode to personal triumph reflecting her own struggle through life and hardship in Europe torn apart by war. Her performance elevates an already magnificent song inspiring both male and female vocalists around the planet for generations.
If we’re going to talk performance then how can we ignore one of the most prolific voices in modern history, maybe the greatest tenor in operas history, Luciano Pavarotti and his ground trembling performance of “Nessun Dorma”. This piece got me into opera, you can’t deny the power, magnificence, and gusto, that transformed this opera piece into an Italian hit.
I’ll put together “Mrs. Robinson” and “ Ladies of the Canyon” because they’re both folk songs by artists that wrote more than just songs but culturally defining poetry accompanied by music. These artists helped transform songwriting and lyrical exposition in song, impacting so much rock n roll today.
Michael Jackson. My man Michael Jackson. The one. The only. The king of pop. I can’t even begin to describe how amazing his music is in just a short blog, but his attention to detail, soulful songwriting, and unique vocal delivery provided albums on albums of well crafted and iconic music. He transcended genre to create pop music in its current form, if anyone says Rock n Roll is the only good music, just throw them Thriller.
The other tracks “Ladies of the Canyon”, “Wide Awake”, and “Nobody” show diversity in genre and how songwriting and energy from rock n roll can be transmitted through other genres but I would like to bring attention to “The Spirit of Radio” by Rush. This is a rock song but it captures so well what music means as an art form and cultural movement. With the rise of hip hop and a decline in old fashioned rock n roll, Neil Peart wrote a song about music as just a concept. And his lyrics capture it better than I could.
“All this machinery
Making modern music
Can still be open-hearted
Not so coldly charted
It’s really just a question
Of your honesty, yeah, your honesty”
Genre in music is an institutional concept, invented by marketing experts at music labels to better target and sell their product. To limit your musical appreciation and experience to such a restraining term is really just limiting your own understanding of music as an art form. Genres are fluid and do not define music or its quality. It’s the artists that define what music is.