Friday, January 20, 2006

Broadway just got a whole lot less funky...

One of my all-time favorite soul singers, Wilson Pickett,
passed away earlier today. I’m listening to a collection of
his greatest hits
right now and one thing, above all stands
out: this man knew how to do it. His music is raw, hard,
and tight. In the best of it, there’s not a wasted note;
every single moment comes together to get the message
across. And what is that message? Nothing but sex, plain
and simple. The promise of it, the accomplishment of it, and
the horror that comes from the lack of it. Nothing else could
provoke such hollers and wails from a grown man.

We have the misfortune to be living in an era where our R&B
icons can do little more than look pretty and whine in key.
These people ought to be ashamed to be peddling their tripe
in the shadow of Pickett’s talent. They sound dated two
weeks after their single comes out, while Pickett’s frantic
shouting still seems just as intense today. His music is all
conviction, energy, and style when nowadays a “soul song”
resembles nothing so much as something a gym-sculpted
prima donna might hum while waiting for a video shoot to

So Wilson Pickett is dead and he’s what the music world
needs more of right now. It’s too bad. I’m not too broken
up over it, though, because even in death he’s far more
alive than most of what happens nowadays.