Monday, August 14, 2017

Music & Movie Monday ~ Ear-worm...Once There Was a Way to... SING

Searching for something nice to watch on Netflix - something to take away the nasty taste of Trump-flavoured "fire and fury"; and white supremacist malice, I hit on "Sing", an animated story featuring a singing contest. I'd seen a preview, during a cinema visit, some time ago and quite fancied the idea. I've been a fan of singing talent shows from long before the birth of Pop Idol in Britain (parent of American Idol et al). I suggested "Let's give this one a whirl - how bad can it be?"

We thoroughly enjoyed the movie!

Sing left me with an ear-worm - not an unpleasant one, but an insistent one. The film begins with a phrase from a Beatles song, from their now iconic Abbey Road album: Golden Slumbers.

 Nana Noodleman
The film ends with lines from the same song too, probably giving birth to my ear-worm.

Some good cover versions of well-loved pop-songs are scattered through the film, sung by cast members, some well-known, some less so. In the clip above, that's Jennifer Hudson singing, as Nana Noodleman; Jennifer herself is a product of American Idol - a rather nice tribute to the show which has had its share of sneers and brickbats over the years. Other well-knowns as singing characters include Reese Witherspoon, Scarlett Johansson and Seth MacFarlane (yeah we knew he could sing - I have his CD to prove it, but am still mysteriously blocked from his Twitter feed.)

A current acting fave of mine, Matthew McConaughey, has a leading, non-singing role as the talent show's presenter.

Back to my ear-worm. I guess that, by now, almost everyone knows that some Golden Slumbers lyrics in Paul McCartney's song were "borrowed" from a centuries old piece of poetry, "Cradle Song" by Thomas Dekker (1572 –1632). I recall Golden Slumbers being known as a lullaby back in my schooldays in England. The first time I heard the Beatles' version, I well remember exclaiming the equivalent of: "WTF Beatles! We sang that in school donkeys' years ago!" We sang it to this tune:

In several online forums members have chewed over the meaning of the Beatles' song, as patch-worked together by Paul McCartney. Theories range around the idea that Paul was grieving over loss of his mother and childhood family life, putting his grief to music; or regretting the upcoming inevitable break-up of the Beatles as a band, another kind of family; or even a general life to death ditty - carrying that weight; or a fit-all soliloquy on how one can never get back to...whatever.

Personally, I love the first bars of the song - the "Once there was a way to get back home(ward)" - I wish Paul had continued with his own words, not those of some long ago writer. And yet... you know... that thought brought forth a theory, a bit left-field perhaps: We've heard and read, often, that the 1960s and early 1970s brought us some of the best popular music ever, and this has been put down to the then ubiquitous use of mind-altering drugs such as LSD.
Well...say the influence of LSD, or similar drug, sends the mind out there, where the buses don't run, but (tin-foil hat time) where everything that has ever been heard on Earth still remains in the ethers. Consider that things heard, albeit unconsciously, during these "flights", out where the buses don't run, might return inadvertently, when the mind is back on all-fours, on Earth. The story goes that Paul read the lyrics of the lullaby Golden Slumbers from among his step-sister's piano music, even so, he didn't copy the music, he didn't know how to read music then. The music he created, to mix with the centuries-old words sounds kind of classical to me. It has been said, too that the music of Eleanor Rigby sounds akin to the Gregorian chant style. And how come famous symphony orchestras can make Beatles' songs sound like classical compositions? Because they have classical DNA collected out where buses don't run? Tin-foil hat country? Possibly, but I enjoy that thought.

I should really post Paul McCartney's original version of my ear-worm song, but I'm not a dyed-in -the-wool Beatles fan. I have, though, come to appreciate much of their music when performed and arranged by others. So, I'll wind up with a YouTube video I particularly enjoyed: a mix of two Beatles' songs, the second is my ear-worm number, sung by The Seattle Ladies Choir :


A Casual Reader said...

The Beatles were pretty darned good but, for my money, The Kinks were better. That's just me.

Twilight said...

Hi Casual Reader ~ Yes, all a matter of taste, isn't it. I used to think The Beach Boys were better than The Beatles too - but really, at heart, I was always a Neil Diamond girl. Not the "coolest" - as was considered back then - but his songs can stand up against - and sometimes beat, any other songwriter of that era ;-)

B Clark said...

Thank you for the movie recommendation. I thought I should see that one since I tend to watch animated films without question. There are a lot of hard working storytellers out there and animation can broaden their capacity to tell a good tale. I point to the first few minutes of UP. Those tender moments can stand on their own. Good luck with the ear worm. Love B Clark

Twilight said...

B. Clark ~ Hi there! Yes, animation has become so much improved now - amazingly so in fact. We saw "Up", some years ago - couldn't remember the opening but YouTube has it, and yes - it's so touching and ought to have been memorable enough for me not to have had to look it up! We see so many movies via Netflix now, memory bank soon fills to overflowing.

I hope you enjoy "Sing" if you do get to see it. My ear worm is still with me - full memory bank or not! :-)

Kaleymorris said...

Years ago, I would have the local classical radio station playing quietly at my bedside to help me get to sleep. One evening, as I was in that dozing state about to slip into full sleep, I thought I heard something Beatles. I came back awake to hear what song was being covered. It was not Beatles, it was Beethoven (I can't remember which).
I believe as you suggest, they share DNA.

Twilight said...

Kaleymorris ~ Interesting! Yes, it seems to apply to Beatles more than to other bands of the 60s, yet most other bands, back then, had the LSD thing going. So, maybe the Beatles havdome other mystical link to classical. Hmm - I could speculate, but that'd be in the realms of fantasy. ;-)

Wisewebwoman said...

Complete fan of the Beatles here. Complex lyricists and composers and oh so fresh when they burst upon the world, I remember it so clearly. Goosebumps.

Lovely selection there, T.


Twilight said...

Wisewebwoman ~ I wasn't an early fan myself, WWW - too much unpleasant and unstable stuff going on in my own life at the time.

I think their association with George Martin is key to their longevity - he was a musical genius. They provided the excellent raw material, of course, but he knew what to do with it to make it outstanding.