March 3, 2010
As I read back over yesterday’s post, I'm not sure that I said what I set out to say about Michael Feinstein, getting sidetracked, as is my wont, in parentheticals and digressions. Let me try again (in 1/5th the number of words): while he may not have the best voice, and while his performances can sometimes veer towards the cheeseballish, and while the songs are by now bordering on ancient, there survives absolutely universal, relatable truths in these songs and in Feinstein’s performances. There is something timelessly appealing about such well-crafted songs – perhaps because through them we know that loneliness has always been a shared experience and stock markets will always crash and love always ends up being the most important thing in the end. And that there's nothing like romance, to say nothing of romantic tunes catchy enough to hum and sing along with. There's comfort in realizing through melodies & lyrics that everything has happened to us before and will surely happen to us again. (If climate change doesn't get us all, that is.) Anyway, that's the heart of Michael Feinstein and his breezy, cheesy, stylized Tin Pan Alley songs, as well as his subtle, accessible singing: even if the details are dated, the core remains as true as ever. I think that's what I was trying to say.