May 16, 2006

"Everyone around the world come on!"

Editor & Publisher found out Condoleezza Rice's musical top ten:
1. Mozart --Piano Concerto in D minor ...

2. Cream -- 'Sunshine of Your Love' ...

3. Aretha Franklin -- 'Respect'

4. Kool and the Gang -- 'Celebration' ...

5. Brahms -- Piano Concerto No 2

6 Brahms -- Piano Quintet in F minor

7. U2 -- Anything ...

8. Elton John -- 'Rocket Man' ...

9. Beethoven -- Symphony No 7 ...

10. Mussorgsky -- Boris Godunov
If you're a big Condi Rice fan and are thinking of putting that in your iPod and listening in that order... well, I think you're going to find it a little annoying.

I'm annoyed by the failure to identify an individual U2 song. If you can pick "Sunshine of Your Love" out of all the acid rock you "loved ... in college," you can pick one U2 song.

I note that "Rocket Man" is about being separated from your loved one for a "long, long time," while stranded in outer space, and "Sunshine of Your Love" is also about being separated from your loved one and "waiting so long" -- also set in an astronomical context ("I'll be with you when the stars start falling").

Finally, "Celebration" is an excellent Secretary of State song: "It's time to come together, it's up to you/What's your pleasure/Everyone around the world come on!" So's "Respect" for that matter: "I'm about to give you all of my money/And all I'm askin' in return, honey..."

27 comments:

Sanjay said...

No jazz? None of the great jazz piano players? No Ahmad Jamal?

I actually am tremedously surprised.

SWBarns said...

Secretary Rice is a classically trained pianist. She has played with the Denver Symphony Orchestra (at fifteen) and has performed at the Kennedy Center with Yo-Yo Ma. That would explain the Mozart, Beethoven and Brahms. I am, however, at a loss to explain Cool and the Gang.

Simon said...

To be fair, if you asked me to name a U2 song that I don't like, I'd be hard-pressed. Picking just one song as "the best" is too hard.

Sanjay said...

Well ,sure, I'm surprised _because_ she's a classically trained pianist -- you'd at least expect Art Tatum or Bill Evans, no?

Ann Althouse said...

Sanjay: Maybe classically trained pianists don't think jazz comes close. That doesn't explain the rock. But I think both the rock and the classical are explained by her life story. The rock is all the stuff that goes with her youth.

angieoh! said...

Ok. I will preface this by saying I realize this is an annoying girlie comment...but...

HOW COOL IS CONDI? I mean, Cream? Cool and the Gang? She can't be "putting into tidy categories" of classical, pop, jazz, rock etc...

and I think it rocks.

Balfegor said...

5. Brahms -- Piano Concerto No 2

This is such a great work. I love how the second movement starts out. The other classical works there are a bit more "meh." I like Beethoven's 7th fine, and Boris Godunov is a decent opera, but they wouldn't be up there in my favourites. I don't care for Mozart all that much, and I am unfamiliar with the Brahms Piano Quintet listed (although now I shall have to check it out).

I don't know any of the pop works.

Sanjay said...

Maybe, but I don't buy it. I used to live in Boston, still in my opinion the greatest city in the world and one with a great jazz scene. You tend to find jazz and classical lovers in the same circles. Quite common to see the Berklee kids seduce the NEC kids into jazz! Some great jazz players were thus lured from classical --- Fred Hersch, Don Byron and more. And many great jazz pianists --- Bill Evans, Billy Strayhorn and Art Tatum classic examples --- had been accomplished conservatory musiciansfirst, and jazz musicians who are maybe less exciting improvisers (e.g. Brubeck) seem to end up playing sonatas. Plus there's a whole mess of "third-stream" Schuller-type stuff, and today some fascinating stuff at the jazz/classical interface: Uri Cain'es hilarious "Goldberg variations" for example.

So I'm going to stick my fingers in my ears and persist in the fantasy that really Condi goes home and listens to the good stuff.....

Troy said...

Maybe she had a thing for Neal Armstrong or Buzz Aldrin and the Rocket Man hit that groove. You'd think Major Tom would be her ideal lover.

Dawn said...

Everytime I hear that "Celebration" song I think of the sorority girls at BGSU during Rush Week dancing around their pledges, spilling beer on their matching sweatshirts and generally providing hours of free entertainment for the girls in our dorm across the street from Sorority Row.

Good times...good times....

Jacques Cuze said...

Well, she is separated from her love, so that does make sense.

I wonder where The Right Brothers are on her iPod?

Or Ted Nugent, Alice Cooper, or Neil Young, Pink, Pearl Jam, or the Dixie Chicks. And no Bruce!

Joan said...

Sanjay, you're right about the Boston music scene. I wouldn't make any assumptions about Condi's feelings for jazz, though. I like jazz plenty, but if I had to make a top 10, I don't know that any jazz numbers would be in it. I didn't really start listening to jazz until relatively late in life (early 30s), so it doesn't hold that strong a place for me.

SippicanCottage said...
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Jacques Cuze said...

True: You can earn a special republican version video iPod!

John(classic) said...

OK. She has my vote for President.

LarryK said...

Re Kool and the Gang - don't forget "Hollywood Swinging" where, in a kind of Escherian self-reference, they say they were inspired to become a band by watching themselves i.e.

I remember, not too long ago,
I went to a theater, and I saw the Kool in the Gang show,
I always wanted to be in a band...

This song may have inspired Steely Dan (Show Biz Kids) and Wang Chung to later sing about themselves.

Overall, however, Condi's Top 10 strikes me as very MOR, and also suggests she hasn't listened to much pop music (broadly defined) in the last 30 years. I think her heart is really in classical music, and she probably only listens to other stuff when she's on the stairmaster.

SippicanCottage said...
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Coco said...

Jungle Boogie absolutely smokes. But "Celebration" is about as overplayed as you get - its the kind of somg you hear from a random DJ trying to work the dance floor on a cruise ship. THus, the most amazing thing to me is not that Condi has this in her Top Ten (although that's pretty tootin' lame), but that Balfegor has never heard that song.

Palladian said...

As someone who listens to early, baroque and (some) classical music almost exclusively, I was quite interested in what music Condi liked, knowing that she's a pianist.

I'm not very enthusiastic about Mozart (I'd agree with Glenn Gould that Mozart "developed toward mediocrity") and Mussorgsky, like most music of the period (especially Russian music save Scriabin) goes in one ear and out the other. Beethoven's symphonies are hit or miss for me; though I admire parts of all of them, the symphonic form just doesn't interest me that much and if I had to pick a Beethoven symphony for a list it wouldn't be number 7. I have a soft spot for some Brahms and the 2nd piano concerto is a good choice, though I actually like No. 1 a bit better, as far as such things go. The Brahms F minor Quintet is a minor favorite of mine, definitely listen to it if you're not familiar; the opening bars are quite tragic. It's a wonderful piece of music.

SippicanCottage said...
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Sean said...

if i may add some clarification about "rocket man":

it's not just about separation, it's also about struggling with responsibility and parenthood. there's a line (can't think of the exact quote) about what happens to the children if the rocket man were to die. as weel, the line from the chorus about not being "the man they think i am at home" seems to me to be saying that he puts on the face of dutiful husband and father, but that his heart may not be in it.

just needed to throw that in.

Palladian said...

As for "Rocket Man", I much prefer the dire existentialism of the song Taupin/John's "Rocket Man" ripped off:

This is Ground Control to Major Tom. You've really made the grade, and the papers want to know whose shirts you wear...

But if you really insist on "Rocket Man", the absolutely best performance of the song ever in the history of music, dramatic arts, philosophy and hermetic alchemical lore is Shatner's brilliant turn at the 1978 Science Fiction Film Awards, introduced by none other than the song's co-writer, Bernie Taupin.

Bissage said...

Oh, Palladian!! How can I ever thank you for that?!

Hathos in extremis!!

And here to think I was preparing some crack about Stewie Griffin!

Holy Cow!

Holy Freakin' Cow!

Ann Althouse said...

Rocket, man.

dick said...

Palladian,

Russian music may go in and out of your ears of that period but Condi was a Russian linguist and studied a lot of Russan history and I think that is one of the reasons Boris was of interest to her. Personally Scriabin goes in and out of my ears but I do love Mussorgsky and Shostakovich.

SippicanCottage said...
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Steve Donohue said...

A strong lineup, I must say.

I couldn't imagine anyone else in the 2008 running listening to Godunov. Or knowing who he was. Or who Mussorgsky was.

Sigh