Bulletin Board, excerpt

Gee, our old La Salle ran great! (responsorial)

From (St. Paul Pioneer Press) Bulletin Board, January 21, 2005

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Gee, our old La Salle ran great! (responsorial)

Or: Everyone's a critic!

In reply to ML of Oakdale, unhappy with modern music ("Nowadays, all we hear is yelling and screaming. Where's the music? And if the singer is not yelling, he/she is singing so softly and the music is so much louder that you can't hear the lyrics. Can't the song be sung in a manner in which the words can be heard and have a melody to back it up?"), here's Poet X of PDX: "From someone Older Than Dirt, this defense of today's music:

"There has been loud music at least since the '50s and the immoral scourge that was Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis. The Woodstock Generation made loud music an art form.

"But along with this, there have always been performers whose obvious priority is communication. Bobby Darin and the Mamas and the Papas lived through the '60s. The Carpenters survived the '70s. (And, in my opinion, there wasn't much pop music of value in the '80s.)

"Such performers can be found in today's young performers as well. I could provide more examples, but will cite only two:

"Jason Mraz, a young pop singer/songwriter, uses delicate wordplay and amazing vocal spontaneity, all clearly heard above sometimes-rich orchestral arrangements (on his 2002 debut CD, 'Waiting for My Rocket to Come'). His 2003 live CD (and accompanying DVD) has lyrics that can be heard over young girls screaming (and displays a charming stage presence)! I don't use the term 'genius' casually. I don't hesitate calling Mraz a musical genius.

"Patty Griffin began a singing/songwriting career in the mid-'90s, and her fourth CD, 2004's 'Impossible Dream,' is melancholy and soaring, but never unclear. Griffin's lyrics are plain and resonant, her musical style a sort of mature folk that veers on country but never hits it directly; indescribable, really, though 'great' and 'beautiful' apply.

"A couple years ago, the popularity of Norah Jones marked a resurgence of softer, more accessible music among the young. That has contributed to the diversity in current pop music a wonderful diversity that reminds me of the '70s, which I consider a Golden Age in good pop music.

"During the '70s, I had no idea that it was a Golden Age. I'm trying to be more aware and appreciative this time. It's here. It's now. Enjoy it while it lasts. We may be enduring the musical equivalent of the '80s ('Don't Worry, Be Happy' wins Grammy as Best Song!) again soon."