Monday, March 20, 2017

Unwanted duet partners...

At the risk of sounding like a primadonna bitch, I'm going to rant one more time about duets on SingSnap...  This time, it's about people who turn solo songs into duets and then expect me to be excited about their efforts.

Look, I'm going to be very honest.  I know what I'm about to write is going to sound petty and mean, but it's how I actually feel.  And while I do always value being kind, I also think that sometimes people need to know the truth.  Music is very important to me.  I know SingSnap is a karaoke site, but it's my one musical outlet.  To me, this stuff matters a lot more than it really should.

So here goes.  I don't like it when people turn my solos into duets.  No, scratch that.  I don't like it when they turn my solos into duets without asking me first.  Now, you may think this is because I'm "full of myself". Maybe, to some extent, that's true.  I would argue that if I were really full of myself and a snob about singing with people, I would never post open duets.  I have had many people join me on open duets.  Some are very good singers.  Some don't come within a mile of the proper pitch.  But if I post an open duet, I'm okay with all comers, regardless of their ability... as long as they don't play an instrument over my vocals.  ;-)

I don't feel the same way about solo songs.

Here's the thing.  A song recorded as a solo was intended to be a solo.  A duet typically has parts open for one singer to do their thing and other parts where they harmonize or otherwise collaborate.  Solo songs don't.  

Moreover, a lot of times, the songs people want to duet on are not really suitable as duets.  This morning, someone decided to duet with me on two Alison Krauss songs, neither of which were really intended to be collaborative efforts.  One song the guy did was "Baby Mine", which is a sweet lullaby a mother sings to her child.  The other was "A Living Prayer"... again, an intimate song for one person.  It's not a duet.  Or, at least I don't think it is.  

This guy left me comments with links to the duets.  I inwardly groaned.  Nine times out of ten, people who turn solos into duets can't actually sing.  I was just going to ignore the comments, but then decided to go listen.  In this case, it wasn't a bad thing that I listened.  To my surprise, the guy was a good singer.  He actually knew how to harmonize, which is a very welcome and apparently rare ability.

However, I was still irritated that he hijacked my solos and apparently expected me to be excited about what he did.  Actually... I think the expectation that I'm going to be excited is probably the biggest reason why this practice annoys me.  Because I really don't like being fake, but I also don't enjoy making other people feel bad.  There is a part of me that is a little blunt and, frankly, too honest.  I am this way especially when it comes to music.  I was the kid who used to put her fingers in her ears when her dad sang solos in the church choir.  I own it.  

On SingSnap, if you aren't unfailingly sweet, fawning, and polite, people relegate you into the total bitch pile.  So I feel compelled to be complimentary and nice even when people do things that annoy me and even if I think something sucks or am actually offended by it.  If I don't, I get accused of having a big head, being a diva, being full of myself, or not appreciating other people's talents (or lack thereof).

What I'd like to say to the people who duet on my solos is, "I'm flattered that you enjoyed my singing and decided to join me.  I wish you had sent me a message beforehand.  I would have liked to have worked with you to make this an actual duet.  Unfortunately, this song was not intended to be a duet.  Maybe we could have made it a duet.  Or we could have chosen a duet to do together.  I would have been happy to make an actual collaboration.  I hope if there is a next time you want to sing with me on a solo, you'll consider sending me a note first."

Unfortunately, I know that if I write a comment like this, the person will most likely take it as a total dis and word will get out that I'm a bitch.  I'm not really a bitch.  I just don't like it when people do this kind of stuff and I am expected to love it.  99% of the time, I don't love it... although I will admit there have been a couple of rare exceptions to that rule.  

Now... SingSnap does have a function that allows people to turn off the ability to duet with others.  Unfortunately, that function turns off duets for all future songs.  So, if I did want to post an open duet and forgot I'd hit the "no duets" switch, then I would get no takers on the songs I actually want people to duet on.  Moreover, if you turn off the ability to do duets, many people will still think you're "antisocial" or "big-headed".   Because apparently, some of them think they should have the right to improve on your efforts, as it were.  Frankly, I would rather the person not send me a link when they duet on one of my solos.  If you feel compelled to join me, be my guest.  But please don't expect me to like it.  If I want to listen to it, I'll find it on my page and go there on my own accord.  If it's good, I'll say so.

I'm sure there will come a day when I can no longer make recordings that I can stand to listen to.  My voice will probably change before too much longer.  I'm getting older.  For now... I suppose I just have to remember that some people have war in their country.  Ah... it's Monday and I've already spilled coffee.  I guess the tone has already been set for the rest of the day.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Happy Pi Day...

And for the nerdy of us, here's a song by Kate Bush for today...



I think Aerial might be among my favorite of her albums.  Hard to believe it's been out since 2005.  It still makes me cry when I listen to it.  A friend of mine is getting married today, so this is dedicated to her.

There aren't too many songs that celebrate pi, so here you go...  I hate math myself, but I do love this song and almost any other Kate has done.


Jude Cole...

Where has he been all my life?  From playing SongPop, I became reacquainted with his music.  The song "Time For Letting Go" keeps popping up on my quizzes.  I like the way it sounds, so I downloaded his 1990 album A View From 3rd Street.


If you watch this, you have to do it on YouTube...

I ended up buying the whole album and I have a feeling I'll like it a lot... I love it when I find good stuff from the past.  

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

More SingSnap drama...

I'm sorry to say it, but I think I may be outgrowing SingSnap.com.  I was one of the first members in 2007, but I quit for a few years.  I got back on the site in 2012 due to a reader who wanted to hear my vocals.  I have enjoyed the site for the past few years, but some of the people there are seriously immature and stupid.

Case in point.  Back in October 2015, I wrote a rant about SingSnap on this very blog.  When I wrote that rant, I knew it made me sound shitty.  So I didn't share it on the site itself, because I knew I would get nasty comments if I did.

Well, this morning, I listened to a duet recording someone did with me.  It happened to be one of the same people I ranted about in 2015.  Once again, he criticized me for being "camera shy".  Then, on the duet in question, the guy played his harmonica very badly... so badly that my parts couldn't be heard.  And I sat there flabbergasted because I wondered why he bothered singing with me.

I wrote a complaint on SingSnap's discussion boards.  Maybe my complaint came off as petty or rude, but I was actually a bit offended.  Here I was, offering a duet for someone to join in on.  On my parts, he played his harmonica... badly.  He didn't play his harmonica when it was his turn to sing.  And I wondered what the hell he was joining me for.  I mean, if you think your harmonica playing is that awesome, why do I need to sing?

So I posed the question in the forum and some stupid bitch accused me of being "full of myself" and "lacking character".  Wow.  She said I should be "grateful" anyone sang with me.  And then she chastised me because I didn't comment on every duet on my page.

Well... first off, yesterday was the first time I recorded anything in two weeks because I have had the flu. I have been sick and have neither sung nor listened to anyone sing because I was sick.  But generally speaking, I do leave comments for most people who sing with me.  I don't care if they suck, either.  People like positive comments and I do usually leave them.  But really, why is it okay for them to be offended if I don't leave a nice comment (that I may or may not mean), but it's not okay to be offended if someone drowns me out on a duet?

I am legitimately a very good singer.  I know this for a fact.  I have been told this by real musicians... people who are legit professionals.  I have made money as a singer.  I don't need someone to tell me I'm good because I know I am.  And I don't think I'm being arrogant to make that comment.  I studied voice for years and have had enough people validate me that I don't need to hear it from everyone.  My ego is not that fragile.  I make recordings because it's therapeutic for me and a lot of them never get any views or comments.  I don't really care.

However, when I open a duet, it seems to me that it should be a collaborative effort.  If my partner is playing a musical instrument over my vocals, how is that a collaboration?  Is it any different than being in a play with someone and having them drown out my lines somehow?  And I am supposed to be grateful that they joined me for this?  No thanks.  I find it extremely rude.

If you do a legitimate duet with me, I will appreciate your efforts, as long as they are collaborative.  Playing a fucking harmonica over my vocals is not a collaborative thing to do.  It's rude and inconsiderate, especially if the general expectation is that I will go, listen, and leave you thanks or a positive comment for joining me.  I don't actually want to encourage people who aren't generous enough to give a duet partner their due.  I don't sing over other people on open duets.  I don't play a drum or a piano while they sing.  I have enough respect for them to let them do their thing without interference.  All I am asking for is the same consideration.

Sigh... I could probably write more, but it's getting late and no one reads this blog anyway, except to read about Mindi Carpenter.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

RIP Al Jarreau...

I'm a little slow on the draw expressing my sadness about jazz great Al Jarreau's death the other day.  I wasn't feeling like writing yesterday.  I'm still getting over last week's disease and was feeling kind of upset that my husband's mom can't visit this weekend because she got injured.

Anyway...  I own just one album by the late Mr. Jarreau.  It's a greatest hits collection.  I actually really like it a lot and used to listen to it frequently, which makes me think I should have explored more of his music when he was still living.  I knew Al Jarreau for his hit songs "Morning", "We're In This Love Together", and of course the theme to Moonlighting, which was an 80s show I never watched.


But... this is the kind of music that really impressed me the most!


Here he takes on Elton John's classic, "Your Song".

I read that Al Jarreau had been experiencing exhaustion lately and that had led to his decision to retire from music.  I'm not sure what the whole story is, but I do know the world lost a wonderful singer two days ago.  I was genuinely sad to read the news, which in my case was broken by Carole King on Facebook.  Rest in peace, Al... I hope you're scatting away with the angels above.



And one more for the road...



Friday, February 3, 2017

I don't care about SongPop...

I know I've written about SongPop a few times on this blog and my main one.  It's actually become a source of intense irritation for me lately.  I have several games going with strangers.


For those who don't know what SongPop is...

Naturally, most of the people I play with are people whose musical tastes don't exactly match mine.  I should probably quit playing, except sometimes I hear a song I haven't heard in 30 plus years and I get all excited.  Also, sometimes it is fun to play... although a lot of times, it's just annoying.

I wish I could think of something else to write this morning, but I can't.  My mind is too blown by the craziness of the world today and worries about the future.  I have been doing some singing on SingSnap, which I think is somewhat good for my mood.  But I worry about that too, since I uploaded songs to the new community songbook... I probably shouldn't have done that, but felt compelled to.

Anxiety is fun, isn't it?  So is mindlessly blogging when you don't have a specific topic to write about.  I fear this blog may have reached the end of its usefulness.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Drowning my sorrows in music...

I think that's what I'm going to do today.  I think, once the sun comes up, I will play music and sing it and try very hard not to think about politics.  That's all...

Those of you who are here due to SingSnap may find multiple recordings from yours truly today.