Thursday, March 09, 2006

Oscar Winning Songs

I like to think that maybe I have a little bit more knowledge than the average bear because I spent a long time working in the music industry -- at the big boy level. Given that, I have to confess that I am less than impressed with the song that won the Oscar this year.

Let's do a brief compare & contrast of this year's winner with other Oscar winning songs:

From Breakfast at Tiffany's...
Moon River
Wider than a mile
I'm crossing you in style
Someday ...

Now, let's pick up the tempo a little:

From Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid...
Raindrops keep fallin' on my head
And just like the guy whose feet are too big for his bed
Nothin' seems to fit ...

Let's see, what should we sing next? Gosh, there are so many great ones to choose from – "Three Coins in a Fountain," "Days of Wine and Roses," "The Way We Were," "Over the Rainbow."

And now for the contrast, let's sing this one – "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp."

You know it's hard out here for a pimp (you ain't knowin)
When you're tryin to get this money for the rent (you ain't knowin)
For the Cadillac and gas money spent (you ain't knowin)
We'll have a whole lotta bitches jumpin ship.

Brings a tear to the eye, doesn't it? Those poor, poor pimps.

Actually it brings a tear to the eye to see what passes for music. Excuse me, let's put "song" in quotes. Because call me crazy, but music usually involves melody.

And I didn't detect any in "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp." That was just bad poetry set to bad percussion. Honestly, Three 6 Mafia's performance Sunday night reminded me of kids banging pots and pans.

But maybe I'm not being fair. Let's sing a bit more:

Wait I got a snow bunny, and a black girl too
You pay the right price and they'll both do you
That the way the game goes, gotta keep it strictly pimpin
Gotta have my hustle tight, makin change off these women.
Gotta couple hoes workin on the changes for me
But I gotta keep my game tight like Kobe on game night
Like takin from a ho don't know no better, I know that ain't right.

It's bad enough that so much of hip-hop sounds like an old Ford about to throw a transmission. But then you add lyrics that sound straight off the bathroom wall in some skanky cathouse. The result is just magic.

Yeah, yeah. I know some rap is smart and insightful. And I've heard some infectious hooks. But let's be honest. This is not great music. This is a silly detour in the great progression of music. It's stuff soon to be forgotten.

On the other hand, it was 70 years ago that this one won an Oscar. And we'll still be singing it in another 70 years.

From Swing Time...
Some day
When I'm awfully low
When the world is cold
I will feel a glow just thinking of you
And the way you look tonight....

Now that's music.


Matthew S. Urdan said...


For the record:
Three 6 Mafia: 1 Oscar
Martin Scorsese: 0 Oscars

Kind of puts it all into perspective, doesn't it?

I wasn't intoxicated by this year's Best Song Category. But the song from Crash was the best piece of music and Dolly Parton's piece was a close second. I really thought the academy was going to give it to Academy Member Dolly Parton.

It's Hard Out There For A Pimp. My ass. Definitely this song does not belong in the same category as the songs you've mentioned, or these recent Oscar Classics either:
My Heart Will Go On from Titanic
You Must Love Me from Evita
Sooner or Later from Dick Tracy
Lose Yourself from 8 Mile
Theme From Rocky by Bill Conti
Into The West by Annie Lennox, Howard Shore, and Phillipa Boyens

Crazy Horse said...

I am so glad I am not the only one who feels this way about this "music." As someone who grew up in the projects, I saw the real ghetto culture, when it is your life and you're a little kid and theres no escape, it is brutal and unbelievably harsh. I saw poverty, violence, hell I thought all hallways smelled like urine when I was a kid. My grandma was murdered, my dad was mugged, and now this lifestyle is glamourized by those who have no clue to the brutal reality of it. If they experienced first hand the "pimp" life, if they could not go back to their nice house in their safe little world, they might feel differently. As for me, I was a grown person when my dad got mugged, I managed to get his money and wallet back by threatening the thugs who did it (BTW, they towered over me but I was a "tough biker chick".) I think back at the things I did to survive in that world. It's amazing I did survive.
When I was a starving art student in NY I fended off the pimps that lived in my neighborhood by saying I would slash their throat if they came any closer, and I would have. I saw many young girls, my age and younger that gave in. I now live in the country, in the nice neighborhood where most of my neighbors have horses. That cruel world is far away from me now.
But funny thing, I still carry a knife, and a baseball bat or shotgun are in easy reach no matter where I am in my studio or shop. Old habits die hard.
BTW, I love that song, "The way you looked tonight." It is so timeless. That's the world I wanted to live in, a world of Moon River, of songs that could life one's spirits, no matter how far they had fallen. I made it out of the ghetto. And I just find it sick that so many now embrace that as a trend.
Today I was driving through a local posh, very trendy area and a very glamourous country club type woman was sitting here her Mercedes Convertable, listening to "pimp" music, it was blasting.
Sorry for the rant.