W.W.B.B.D.? (What Would Burt Bacharach Do?)

Posted: June 25, 2013 in Uncategorized

When I decided to start pursuing music, people naturally start to ask you whose career you most want to emulate. It’s always such a strange way of calling out your heroes heads to the dartboard. The truth is, that like many of us, I use music as a way to manufacture my own myths: That a walk to the subway is a flash flood of human theater. That one can simulate a trip to heaven by taking a glass elevator to the song “Heroes.” That the pursuit of love is, indeed, worth all the trouble.


(Well, hey there, silver fox!!!)

It sounds old fashioned to call the music industry out for being a beehive, but that might be the best way to describe just how infrastructurally divided it is. How it is managed by the people who think “liking The Beatles” is the same thing as knowing anything about The Beatles. Isn’t it more important to respect the artists under your representation who are NOT Beatles? And not going to name names, but its true that some of the mogul heavyweights in the industry are the most unsympathetic people you may ever have the displeasure of sharing an elevator with. (For the record, they tend to wear a LOT of of Versace cologne and think it’s appropriate to talk on their phones at ears plotting decibels just about everywhere. And I’m sorry to cross a fucking Palin reference with this, but a pitbull in a tux is still a pitbull.) Maybe it’s a good thing that the internet has corroded their business models. They may deserve to be rich, but they don’t deserve to make their fortune off music.

Then again, with all this said, who am I to say? I’m probably coming across as a jealous person. I’m not one of those people who claim that I should have been born in another era. That’s shit for basic bitches. The best and worst of times is here and now. (And you can my punch my cancer card with that one if you like.) At least it could be the best of times if we could all stop in our tracks a little bit. It’s as if we woke up one morning, technology became the same as commerce and there was just no going back. And since commerce is everything, it effects the most basic industrial complex of all: the relationship between labor and human sacrifice. Labor-wise, most of those check-in machines you use at the airport are doing more than any of the clerks at JFK. Yet doesn’t it seem morally corrupt to get rid of the clerks? It’s like there was no time to process these industrial changes, and suddenly, overnight, everyone’s kid was diagnosed with autism!

It’s just that if you’ve spent as much time circling the music industry as I have, you find yourself at the end of the day asking things like: “Would What Burt Bacharach Do?” Where would he be right now if he were born half-a-century later? Would he be doing viral videos on youtube? Would he be given a songwriting tribute on his 45th birthday? Would he even be songwriter? Or would he be a shoe salesman given the market’s insistent standard on melodic mediocrity and the sounds of overbearingly repetitive machinery? Don’t get me wrong, I have loved and made digital music for over 15 years now and I’m certainly not going to discredit what it’s done for kids in their basements all across the world — but there has got to be more. There is more. Arbiters of taste beware.

Burt Bacharach writes primarily conflicted love songs. They’re always tonally exciting, accompanied by lyrics that are confiding and unperplexing. Sometimes they are impassioned rays of sunshine, other times they’re served with the anesthetic pitch of a Belvedere martini. Many people don’t realize the generosity of his song catalogue, which I want to show some of here. I doubt that I picked anything that people won’t already recognize, though their renditions may be switched. But if it is new, and your first encounter with some of these songs, then enjoy the journey…

From Gershwin, Bacharach to Trazon. Does that sound right? I think it sounds like a book cover. Maybe it’ll signify the declension. Like how the era of The American Songwriter is over. Hahaha.

It’s important to give mad props the people that have inspired you in this world to do what it is you do. Maybe in due time I’ll follow this up with another reverent post. Only next time it’ll be about Bob Barker or Bridgette Bardot. Or Bertolt Brecht. All these folks have the initials B.B.

And if there’s room for another Burt Bacharach in this world, sign me up and toss me the keys to my terrace in Ibiza, thanks. I did title this blog the please catalogue, afterall.

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