28 March 2006

i missed 'american idol' tonight, but the internet tells me that the "theme" was "songs of the 21st century." given over six years worth of songs to work w/, here is what the idols performed this evening :

kelly clarkson - "because of you"
sara evans - "suds in the bucket"
train - "drops of jupiter"
ray lamontange - "trouble"
mary mary - "shackles"
creed - "what if"
christina aguilera - "the voice within"
tim mcgraw - "real good man"
beyonce - "work it out"
gavin degraw - "i don't want to be"

obviously, fox isn't going to pay for a u2 or coldplay song. less obvious than i thought : apparently, not many of the contestants thought song recognition was a big factor. keeping this in mind, tonight's selection comes as i try to find the song i would sing if i were on american idol on this particular night.

"nearer than heaven" by the delays would be an excellent choice, esp. if one wants to show off a falsetto. however, i don't think that'd be my chosen self-image; i'd rather emit an aura of mystery and deep sulk w/ glasses and a formidable baritone--alas, roy orbison, for yet another reason, died too soon.

"it's only time" by the magnetic fields, maybe! but no. one of the things i love most about the song is the production; this is something that occurred to me often while perusing my 2000s playlist, i.e. so many of my favorite records of this decade owe their distinction to technology and crafty arranging--precisely the kind of things that don't play to the 'american idol' audience. also : the touching pleas for marriage trend too old. i imagine my greatest appeal would be to teenagers.

so, mystery and deep sulk ... "run" by snow patrol? the kids would lap it up, i think, but it's anthemic; and anthemic rarely plays well when condensed to two minutes. nor do 'ai' contestants do well when they're pitted against either a) backing vocalists or b) orchestras.

also receiving votes : "stupid memory" by sondre lerche and "spit on a stranger" in its nickel creek arrangement. both allow one to do neat things w/ their voice, but ... no and no. the former's fine verse-prechorus-chorus-bridge-chorus structure doesn't edit well. "spit on a stranger" might just confuse people, country twang or no.

the selection?

kings of convenience - "i don't know what i can save you from" (from the quiet is the new loud lp, available for purchase here.)

it is a bit of a risk. it's a quiet song that could fall flat. but, picture it. light spotlight. slightly ruffled appearance. acoustic guitar playing guy seated. the song reveals the whole of itself w/in a minute or so : guitar figure, verse, chorus. if one wants to mix it up, after acoustic intro, one could in classical 'ai' style kick into an uptemo version of the tune, a la the royksopp remix. kids would definitely be on board w/ the lyrics, esp. w/ the chorus repeated to fade. maybe there's an assist from one backing vocalist, until the music drops out to allow for one last a capella repetition of the chorus, w/ a canted look into the camera and an audible sigh.

so either that or "ass & titties."

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