March 29, 2012

Soft rock vs. something else

Dr. X comments:

I think this is where the line is (see live performance below).  Anything softer than this is effeminate and pointless soft rock.  But I am not prepared concede that this is effeminate or pointless.  It is light in the verses, but not the loafers.  The chorus is soulful and the performance is, if a bit too polished and technical, certainly competent.  Hall and Oates have nothing to be ashamed of here.

As for Seals and Crofts or Bread, well, no, I can't get behind that, man.  But we must be honest, too - weaker artists can produce strong performances, or at least perform good songs comptently.  I believe it was Johnson who said 'Nay Sir, argument is argument.  You cannot help paying regard to their arguments, if they are good...argument is like an arrow from a crossbow, which has equal force though shot by a child.'  The same is true, I say, of a good song, and I will go to the wall even for songs originating even with The Archies or, perhaps more defensibly, The Monkees.  Open ears and open minds, I say.

That said, some rock is soft but still rock, or perhaps something richer.  Competence is one thing, greatness another.  I wish to dedicate this to an old acquaintance, since passed from this life, who once played 'Springtime for Hitler' on the Vassar bells.


Blogger Laird of Madrona said...

She's Gone is a soul ballad. I appreciate a really good soul ballad, but it's not my favorite genre, and this one is just so-so. Where it deviates from the formula is where it suffers the most: the synthesizer and the distorted lead guitar, which I suspect were used to make the song more palatable to a pop/rock audience.

Hall & Oates two big hits in the early 70's that sandwich She's Gone are both much better, in my opinion: Sara Smile and Rich Girl.

Rock is Rock. But can a song be Rock and still be Smooth? This question is explored, in depth, in this docudrama.

March 29, 2012 at 10:51 PM  

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