Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Instead of Sunday: The Look of Love

I am quickly putting together light lunch interrupting work, C being at school, when the radio comes on with this Bacharach-David song with a lot of people saying what it means to them, why they like it. One of them is a musician who talks of the effect of the switch from minor to relative major. And as he is speaking two things strike me.

First, that the shift from minor to major and back is about provisionality - you cannot maintain one or the other - and that at some level it signals provisionality to us too, saying nothing lasts, that it is in fact already gone. It tips us off balance a little.

Second, that the pitch of Springfield's voice is rarely right on the note. It is a whisper under, but because it is veiled in its own fog, it doesn't seem wrong, only a kind of falling short, and that, together with the provisionality, is what hangs around even after she has stopped singing, You got that a little with Dionne Warwick too.

And then there is the Isaac Hayes version, over 11 minutes long. This is it live, the sound a bit raw and cold. Live, nevertheless. Another fog voice but from deeper down, a little more consciously cool.

Springfield wins, IMHO. By a short head.

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