Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Crossover Hit?

Steven Winn, in the San Francisco Chronicle, covers the news in advance. (Thanks to ACD for the tip.) I knew crossovers were popular (Anne Sofie and ABBA anyone?), but - honestly - not this popular. Goodness, when I saw this bit in particular, I nearly lost it:

Cleveland, Oct. 17 -- Gwen Stefani, the platinum blond pop singer who has introduced a new generation to songs from "Fiddler on the Roof" and "The Sound of Music," will soon do the same for Franz Schubert. On Tuesday, Stefani and the Cleveland Orchestra announced a musical partnership that calls for Stefani to sample selections from the orchestra's Schubert recordings in a forthcoming pop album. In return, the singer will perform a recital of Schubert lieder at Severance Hall in 2009.

"Gwen doesn't have what you might call a classic art-song voice," said Music Director Franz Welser-Möst, who was heard humming "If I Were a Rich Man" at a news conference with Stefani. "But I love her sound. And I love what she did with 'The Lonely Goatherd.' I never thought I could listen to yodeling again, but she changed my mind." Stefani declined to specify which songs she might sing in her recital. "I know Christa Ludwig did the 'Winterreise,' " said the pop idol, "so I'm thinking maybe I could give that a try. It has some fantastic tunes."

I listened to The Sweet Escape, and - frankly - was left a little disappointed. It seems that Ms. Stefani is dining out on the one-trick pony she first exhibited with "Hollaback Girl" off Love.Angel.Music.Baby; that, dear reader, is a mistake. The first time, it's clever and fresh; the second, it's just yesterday's bagel. Also, leading the album with the single? Utter idiocy. After the radio-friendly "Wind It Up," you have to slog through songs like "Orange County Girl" and "Now That You Got It" before you get to "Fluorescent" and "Wonderful Life." Brilliant, A&R flacks, brilliant. Who does that? Seriously. Are records today so filler-full that you have to lead off with the single, lest the listener get bored and move on? Apparently.

I wasn't happy, and I've revealed a more in-depth knowledge of the Gwen Stefani record than I had wanted to. In any event, I rather liked Mr. Winn's article. Funny stuff.


At 2:13 AM, Blogger Alex said...

So, does no one else feel that the whole Gwen Stefani rapping inane words over weird disjointed beats is one of the most disturbing things to happen in pop music in the last several years? ("My Humps" is still the reigning deity of awfulness, of course). I saw her do that Wind it Up song on Saturday Night Live and was mortally, mortally embarassed for her. If possible more than I was during that dreadful, dreadful Hollaback thing. Desecrating Schubert is the least of her problems. She just needs to stop this absurdity and go back to making normal songs.

At 8:04 AM, Blogger Patrick J. Smith said...

When she decided that the "novelty" song off the record was her new sound, that's when she jumped the shark. She was silly for trying to make a second career around it, and the rest of them were doubly silly for following her lead.

I kind of liked "Hollaback Girl" the first, you know, ten times I heard it. The next fifty, and all its clones and spawn, well, that kind of began to wear on me. Compared to her colleagues, she has some talent. She should use it again. Or do the Branson thing.

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