I just want to flag the discussion from yesterday about the "inspirational" songs done on last night's "American Idol." I said I liked the song "Imagine," and that touched off a lot of antagonism. Some folks really hate it. They call it "nihilistic," even though it's a simple expression of longing for universal peace and love. Sure, it's naive about politics and theology, but so what? To complain about that is like complaining that a classic love song fails to take into account the complexity of long-term sexual relationships.
The singer who was most aggressively promoted last night, Jordin Sparks, sang "You'll Never Walk Alone." The judges and many viewers ate up the bombastic performance. Now, that made me feel nihilistic. There's only one situation in which the song "You'll Never Walk Alone" is acceptable, and that is in its original setting, at the end of the emotional arc of a theatrical performance of "Carousel." Outside of that context, it is histrionic and hideous.
I was forced to sing that song in public school music classes back in the 1960s, along with "Climb Ev'ry Mountain" and "The Theme from 'Exodus'" ("This land is mine, God gave this land to me/This brave and ancient land to me"). What a gruesome grind that was! You couldn't wait to get out of there, go home, and play some Beatles records.