I have calmned down now, after huffing into a paper bag for half an hour, sitting fully clothed in the shower crying and loading up on enough high grade hee-hee to slow a fright train. Anyway, love on y'all.
Steve brought to my attention Miley Cyrus’ horrendous cover of Bob Dylan’s You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go. Such musical monstrosities are pieced together and given life on a daily basis, but something about this one obviously possessed both Steve and I to actually make a written response to it.
Okay, firstly, what an odd choice of song to cover in the first place. It’s taken from Dylan’s middle-period masterpiece Blood on the Tracks; an album that, no matter how much Dylan would have us believe is based on Chekhov’s short stories, is a musical representation of his crumbling marriage. The album is infused with tales of separation, sadness and regret. So what on earth is Miley Cyrus, MILEY frigging CYRUS doing singing about it? She’s nineteen, how on earth could she possibly relate to it? My point; she can’t. For some reason the song, once a sad (if slightly playful) tale of separation, has been turned into a bland soulless country ballad. There’s no sense of connecting with the song, no sense of connecting with the emotions Dylan must have been feeling when he cut the song, no. The record producers obviously decided that the best approach would be to go with a currently popular style – the country-pop of Taylor Swift et al being their apparent choice – and completely disregard context or even lyrics. “You’re gonna have to leave me now I know,” sings Cyrus, slightly changing her inflection as if in some sort of hope. What is hopeful about that sentence? It seems that every time she sings a line her choice of emphasis is completely off the mark, trying to turn the song into a marketable product with some nice chord changes or whatever it is people like these days. She could have been singing about the Holocaust and would have crooned it out the same way. The producers have clearly spent so much time making the song sound “perfect,” plastering a sheen over it and attempting it to make it glossy and attractive. In doing so they have completely lost the message, the desperation and very soul of the music. To quote Jesus in Matthew 23, it’s “like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness.” This song might have a polished production of the highest standard, but looking a little further it’s clear that within lies the deepest and foulest rot.
The greater travesty to me isn’t so much of the fat cats making profits; it’s the complete devaluing of what was once so precious. Artists can continue to release all sorts of crap and make millions for all I care; they do it anyway, have done for years and it’s not going to change. Big companies and greedy managers can continue to try to push music into making profit rather than for artistic value – fine. If the artists are willing to go along with it, hey, it’s their funeral. But don’t DARE try and devalue and cheapen great things. If this keeps on I may just join a monastery.
Words - Adam