Thursday, July 3, 2008

i don't want to work, i don't want to lunch

probably the worst question a person can ask, if they want to get to know me, is "what kind of music do you like?"
my response is usually "all of it. if it's good." or something along those lines. really, what kind of answer is that? a lame one. every time i come out with that answer, i find myself feeling as though i've just admitted that i don't know anything about music and don't really listen to much and so i don't have any real answer to the question.
this is far, far, far from the truth.
really, though, it's not a good question at all. so it doesn't deserve a good answer. and i know i'm not the only one who thinks so - but despite that, it comes up in almost every getting-to-know-you conversation i've ever had.
i used to hedge with "everything except country music and hip hop," but then i took a considered look at the johnny cash, wilco, woody guthrie, krs-one, busta rhymes and eminem in my collection and realized that i wasn't actually allowed to rule out those two oft-maligned genres.
the truth is, i really do enjoy everything. again, with the caveat - as long as it's good.
so, given a music geekery that ranges from handel to the horrorpops, social distortion to the dixie chicks, where do i begin? how do i convince you that i'm not just an eclectic spazz?
well, that last might not be possible. because there's a good chance that i really am just an eclectic spazz.
but regardless of that, i've decided that the best place to start is with something really. fantastic.
i've got just the thing for you.

a few years back, my dad gave me pink martini's hang on little tomato.
on the 12 hour drive back to los angeles from my parents' house, i slipped that cd into the cd player in my car - and listened to it on repeat the whole way home.
i was floored.
pink martini's music is sweet and quirky, sexy, flirty, smarter than smart. they're an old-time big band (though they call themselves a "little orchestra,") embracing the lush richness of real live instruments played by real live musicians. and not just played, but played well. and the primary singer, china forbes, is a chanteuse of the first order, with a voice that ranges from operatic to intimate, slipping from one language to another without a single moment of hesitation. i have been to see them live, and while the whole group is comprised of consummate professionals, ms. forbes holds that shit down (yes, that's the technical term) without ever showing the slightest strain.
a pink martini performance is like stepping into a multilingual, multicultural, multidimensional jazz lounge in hollywood, 1945; one in which you're not surprised that the women are drinking whiskey and the men are drinking cosmos and everyone is dressed for a white tie cocktail party but also maybe playing a spirited game of strip twister on the dance floor.
does that make any sense?
no, probably not. but that's still a little bit of what it's like.
if you're going to heed my advice and head over to your favorite brick-and-mortar cd store, i would, without hesitation, suggest that you actually buy the most recent album first. my obsessive-compulsiveness wouldn't usually allow me to suggest that to you, but there are some of the most fantastic musical gems on that album you will ever hear.
if you're going to do as i do, and not as i say, then you'll go download some tracks to get a taste of what you're in for. if you go this route, you must download:
dosvedanya mio bombino
amado mio
hey eugene!
tempo perdido
hang on little tomato
una notte a napoli
the gardens of sampson & beasley
donde estás, yolanda?
bukra wba'do
and, of course, absolutely, without fail,


TK said...

Picked it up yesterday and loved it. LOVED. IT. Sort of reminded me of Koop in way - if you've yet to hear them, give them a shot.

kelsi said...

i adore koop. i spent a month this winter listening to koop island, daydreaming about summertime.