Thursday, October 01, 2009

Of Angsty Jazz Hands and Proof That I Am Smarter Even Than Really Smart People (Awesome Covers of Already Awesome Songs)

The newest trend... well, maybe not the newest trend, but a recent trend which is new enough that I can call it the newest trend... on Broadway is to take a mishmash of popular songs from artists who can dredge up some nostalgic feelings and get people to shell out a lot of money to watch the songs they loved as young adults be brought to life through the magic of interpretive dance, people in leotards, and jazz hands.

Hence, musicals based on Billy Joel's music, Abba's music, and... well, there's probably others. I remember something about 1950's songs being made into a musical, too, but when I tried to Google that, I found it's a lot harder to google up a list of Broadway musicals than it would seem to be.

I also found that there is a "musical theater" page on Wikidiotpedia, which contains this definition:

Musical theatre is a form of theatre combining music, songs, spoken dialogue and dance. The emotional content of the piece – humor, pathos, love, anger – as well as the story itself, is communicated through the words, music, movement and technical aspects of the entertainment as an integrated whole. Since the early 20th century, musical theatre stage works have generally been called simply, "musicals".

But, as unnecessary as that may have been, that page did actually provide helpful information in the form of a list of the musicals I was thinking of:

Another trend has been to create a minimal plot to fit a collection of songs that have already been hits. Following the earlier success of Buddy - The Buddy Holly Story, [note: Not the one I was thinking of] these have included Movin' Out (2002, based on the tunes of Billy Joel), Good Vibrations (the Beach Boys), All Shook Up [also not the one I was thinking of, but I'd probably go see it!] (Elvis Presley), Jersey Boys (2006, The Four Seasons) [that IS the one I was thinking of, and don't bother telling me they didn't sing in the 1950s, because I'd rather believe something than know something] , The Times They Are A-Changin' [honestly?] (2006, Bob Dylan), ... Mamma Mia! (1999, featuring songs by ABBA), Our House [that's a joke, right?] (2002, based on the songs of Madness) and We Will Rock You (2002, based on the works of Queen). [probably the pinnacle of human civilization right there, provided that they had an actual "Bicycle Race" between "Fat-Bottomed Girls" onstage. If they didn't, then they just wasted everybody's time.]

Anyway, the reason I'm thinking of this today is because of today's Awesome Cover of Already Awesome Songs. The song is: Lovecats. Originally by The Cure:

Awesome, is it not? But here's the Awesome Cover, by Tanya Donnelly and "Dylan At The Movies:

When you listen to the Tanya Donnelly version, you realize that even though they wrote it, The Cure never realized the full potential of "Lovecats." Tanya and Dylan at the Movies do, though: they make it into a mini-production, one you can easily see being put onstage with a legion of dancers. First there would be the two singers, who would be in a tight spotlight, one on each side of the stage. Slowly, as they sang, as the music picked up, other dancers would come out, all posing in strange, artistic, vaguely-disturbing-but-still-sexy poses on the margins, each lit by a different colored spotlight, while the two singers moved among them and sang.

You also, when you listen to that song, realize that we are at best about 5 years away from when the mopey, angsty 1980s kids, like me, start demanding that our music be made into musicals just like that, so that we can take our wives to see them and spend a night feeling nostalgic and ansty all at once, and then go get an Appetizer Sampler platter at Perkins.

After all, it would write itself: Standing On A Beach: The Music Of The Cure, Brought To Glorious (But Still Angsty) Broadway Life.

Also, just to point out what a genius I am, and how I'm smarter than everyone else, I am going to bring up something else that has absolutely nothing to do with the rest of this post.

I've mentioned on this and my other blogs, on frequent occasions, the fact that nobody ever researches anything anymore; everyone just googles it and goes with whatever Google says about the thing they were looking up.

Here's an example: In discussing which is The Best Olsen Twin: Googling things proves your point every time. As an example of that, if you Google “IMDB,” Christopher Lee’s IMDB page is on the front page, top 5 of results. And I don’t even know who Christopher Lee is. So I clicked on it, and it turns out he’s Saruman! And I described googling as "my usual exhaustive research techniques" when I discussed The Best Groovy Instrument, and I used Google to prove the existence of "birch syrup."

So you might think Well, sure, but that's you, and what have you ever done that's noteworthy or scientific or great? To which I will say: I proved the real answer to the Monty Hall problem, and to which I will also say: Real smart people also prove their point simply by Googling it, and I will provide evidence to back that up, in the form of Richard Dawkins' new book on evolution.

Richard Dawkins has written a book called The Greatest Show On Earth, in which he undertakes to prove that evolution is really a real thing.

I didn't think that needed proving -- if evolution isn't real, how do people explain selective breeding? -- but Richard Dawkins thinks it needed proving, and he set out to prove evolution by, in part, googling things.

Specifically, Dawkins wanted to prove that he was frequently misquoted (or quoted out of context) by creationists. How did he prove it? Let him speak for himself: Dawkins looked at the phrase that was frequently (he felt) wrongly used by creationists, and did this "experiment:"

On a whim, I just searched the World Wide Web for "It is as though they were just planted there, without any evolutionary history" and obtained no fewer than 1,250 hits. As a crude control test of the hypothesis that the majority of these hits represent creationist quote—minings, I tried searching, as a comparison, the clause that immediately follows the above quotation: "Evolutionists of all stripes believe, however, that this really does represent a very large gap in the fossil record." I obtained a grand total of 63 hits, compared to the 1,250 hits for the previous sentence.

There you have it! Richard Dawkins, noted smart fella, has just proven that "science" is, at least in part, founded on Googling things and drawing inferences from the number of hits.

Or, as I -- noted smarter fella -- said, long ago:

Googling things proves your point every time.

Also, if you google the phrase "Richard Dawkins loves The Cure," you'll get 40,200 hits. But if you google the phrase Richard Dawkins sings Cure songs to his pet cats every day, you get...8,860,000 hits. Richard, I hope you're singing Lovecats to them.

And doing jazz hands. Angsty jass hands.

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