Tuesday, December 04, 2012

News at Eleven: [Sylvie] Simmons points out that texts such

as "Suzanne," "Master Song," and "Fingerprints" were poems before they were songs. In adapting these pieces to music or creating new lyrics, [Leonard] Cohen never carved out sufficient space for the rhythm and melody to do part of the work; they always seemed extraneous appendages. Of course, it didn't help that he couldn't sing.

[Patti] Smith had similar difficulties making the transition. She had published three books of poetry before her first album, 1975's Horses, came out, but the words of her songs never felt comfortable with the music. Though she did adopt the vernacular diction of the Beats, she was no less immune to a certain portentousness than Cohen, and she too had a hit-or-miss relationship with pitch.

from Baltimore City Paper: Rocker and Verse


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