Wednesday, October 11, 2006

jealous freaks can find a man of their own

roy orbison is different from elvis.
on the surface, i acknowledge, they are very similar in sound: they quaver, they do funky things with their vowels, and instead of a glidy beauty or poppin' hitchiness, the aesthetic their voices share seems to be characterizable by a two-step process of punching and receding. so much for the surface.
now i'm not knocking elvis. i'm elvis's main woman. i love elvis. but roy orbison's voice does something for me that...well, it works. it works me. for one thing it's not entirely pleasant to listen to. it's like milk that's gone slightly off: 9/10ths of it is smooth sailing and then on the 10th left over you get that kick of pain. it's looking at james dean while knowing something of his history. it wakes you up, in short.
and then when you're awake the contexts it resides in are so...the word that comes to mind is "ridiculous," but that's not quite what i mean. like the song "leah," in which the words are so freaking inelegant and fragmentary that you're like, okay, so they were kidding, right? it's the german-monkeys-with-typewriters-as-backstreet-boys-lyricists syndrome. but at the same time somehow it ends up making some sort of unexpected sense. it's so raw--its materials are raw, and the song ends up raw, but covering for it by being all put together, sort of, so it's like leatherface wearing mata hari. except not that graphic.

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