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Wednesday, May 17, 2006

"This is a very good tune. My mother used to sing this."

I never really thought that I would end up ranting about American Idol on this blog, and yet, here I go:

Last night on Idol, contestant Taylor Hicks chose for his final song of the night the Otis Redding classic Try a Little Tenderness. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Otis' work, or just soul music in general, Otis is best known for his song Dock of the Bay, but was also a prolific writer of some of the most popular soul music of all time, including the song that Aretha Franklin made famous, Respect.

Now being a fan of soul music in general, I have been a huge fan of Taylor's since he first appeared on the show. I love his musicality, and the tone of his voice so reminscent of Joe Cocker. And to be fair, Try a Little Tenderness is the perfect song. But one of the biggest drawbacks of American Idol is that they are constantly taking these 4 or 5 minute songs and collapsing them into 2 minute songs so they can pack more into their hour of show.

Unfortunately, this just kills the power of Try a Little Tenderness, which builds the tension through a full 2 minutes of the song before finally starting to ramp up the tempo and intensity. It is all horns and organ, and wailing vocals. It builds, builds, and builds until it explodes out of him, and he can barely get out the lyrics.

Sorry Taylor, you didn't make it for me last night, but I would love to see you do it properly. For the tour I guess.

You got to rub her gentle man,
don't bruise her no- no-
You got to love her, squeeze her, don't tease her...

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