Mojo's Obnoxiously Upbeat Mission Statement!

Lorelei

Being the sheltered, ignorant lass that Mojo has always been, it turns out I don't think I've ever heard of the Lorelei until I first heard this song and looked 'em up. Which I believe was THIS version, since I don't think I sprung for the voluminous Gershwin collection until slightly later in life. The Lorelei is both a giant rock in the middle of the Rhine River, and a legendary Siren-type lady who would sit upon said rock and lure sailors to their watery graves. (Although, to be perfectly honest, a shipwreck on a river just doesn't have the same sort of DRAMA as one 'way out at sea--I find a river shipwreck rather comically reminiscent of that old stormy-Erie-Canal shipwreck song that has the chorus, "The Ee-ri-ee was a' risin' / And the gin was a gettin' low / And I scarcely think we'll get a drink / 'Til we get to Buffalo..." Of course, people HAVE died in river accidents and Mojo should not pooh-pooh them. But Mojo is also mostly Irish, if I may indulge in the most hideous of stereotypes, so any excuse to belt out a drinking song is fine by her.) --Wait! There's MORE!

I am in Love

Ya know, with all the painful metaphors songwriters have used through the ages to convey the process and sensation of being in love, it's somehow refreshing to have a song with a single declarative sentence for its premise: I Am in Love. Sure, people use it as an excuse for all sorts of wacky things, but I much prefer people just shrugging and saying "I am in love" than some of the cringe-worthy whining that is meant to convey the same thing. Especially the men. Perhaps I am showing my age and reverse chauvinism here, and to be honest I really don't like whiners no matter WHAT their gender, but for some reason poor male creatures who feel the need to start screeching about how their lives are meaningless without me... aww, geez, Mojo thinks they should just be put out of their misery by the vet. I mean, yeah, your heart is broken--but, um, have you NO DIGNITY at ALL? --Wait! There's MORE!

By Strauss

Just a short while ago I reviewed this song's CD neighbor, Just Another Rhumba, and I referred to it as being somewhat "gimmicky". And I warned you--didn't I?-- that we were in for a rush of gimmicky songs, with By Strauss being next in line. And here it is.

According to Wikipedia--if anything this massive project is forcing Mojo to learn all sorts of vaguely interesting things; if she were ever one to enter a trivia contest (and trust me: she's NOT) that somehow focused on popular music of the Thirties and Forties, she'd have a fighting chance--the Gershwins used to noodle out this little number at private parties. I assume after having one too many, at the point when you become convinced that Slightly Drunken You is some sort of genius hitherto unknown and definitely unappreciated in this cold, cruel world. --Wait! There's MORE!

Applause and Fanfare Interlude

Okay, so early last week I peeked ahead and counted and determined THIS was gonna be Friday's "song". And I was all like, yuck, do I really want to end the week in that boring fashion? And then I thought, well, do I want to START a new week in that fashion? I was all agog. Yes, this is the exciting soap opera that is Mojo's life.

And then, as things turned out, it was decided for me, as I had some unscheduled connectivity issues for most of last week encompasing Friday in particular, so I didn't post anything. I suppose if it were a song I cared about I would have started rubbing two sticks together, but this again is one of those ripoff throwaway tracks, which I bring up here not in the hopes of ripping people off, but just to keep the new track numbers in line.

But look at me! Here I am, wasting more words on these buzzkilling 24 seconds than one could speak in 24 seconds. Can't wait for the next SONG--a REALY song, not these interlude things....

Get Out of Town

Sigh. Okay, so Mojo's not that keen on ultra-slow dirgey sort of songs. If it wasn't Ella singing, I probably wouldn't bother with this song. As it is, if I am listening to hours and hours of Ella, I'll frequently skip this one. There. I said it.

I'm not that keen on the song, but if you focus on Ella's technical prowess it's almost bearable. First is the "glowing lower register" I bring up so often. Also present here is Cole Porter's comment when presented with this album: "My, what marvellous diction that girl has." Which is the sort of offhand odd remark that would have Mojo in conniptions, but since I don't like this song all that much I can listen to other things instead of the superficial fun, and yes, if you listen, Ella does indeed have marvellous diction. --Wait! There's MORE!

That Certain Feeling

This is a pleasant enough song, although one that is almost completely forgettable. I mean, these are ALL Broadway show tunes from the Twenties, Thirties and Forties. We're not dealing with Major Social Issues, people, we're mostly dealing with Boy Meets Girl and Happy Endings. Or, as the Mikado once said in, um, The Mikado, "It is an unjust world, and virtue is triumphant only in theatrical performances." Granted, that was first said a good forty or fifty years even before the Gershwins came along, but it was funny back in the 1880s and it's still funny today, if Mojo may cram it down your throat. --Wait! There's MORE!

Too Darn Hot

Finally, a song that totally and completely lives up to its title! Folks, it doesn't get any better than this. Okay, so we've already reviewed the studio version of Too Darn Hot, and Mojo went on and on about Kiss Me Kate and Ann Miller. There's absolutely nothing wrong with the studio version; if you check out YouTube there's at least four or five swing dancing/lindy hoppin' groups dancing to it and having a perfectly marvelous time. --Wait! There's MORE!

Begin the Beguine

Ya know, the annoying thing about falling in love is, you can't really explain yourself or your actions on a rational level. Which is part of the mystery, and gives all the songwriters something to sing about. My Favorite Husband, for example, who is indeed a wonderful kind intelligent man, did not--um, how do I put this? He did not look so good on paper as I knew him in my heart. Enough that some well-meaning folks were a wee bit concerned that such a fine upstanding young citizen like Mojo would want to be seen in public with the likes. Well, okay, maybe not THAT bad. But he's had a colorful past, as opposed to the gray dreariness of Mojo's life prior to meeting him. And don't tell him this, 'cuz it will only set me up for WEEKS of merciless teasing, but the worshipful adoration has only grown worse in the intervening twenty-five years or so. 'Tis indeed a mysterious curse. --Wait! There's MORE!

The Man I Love

Okay, so just last week I reviewed the live version of this song as recorded for the Berlin album, and I looked ahead on the list and saw this one was coming down the pike, and I do admit I groaned a little tiny bit. Because I feel a little tepid about this song, to be honest, as you might have guessed from the first review. Still, leave it to a couple of pros like Ella and Nelson to make magic out of the seemingly banal. There's been an amusing new saying going around the net lately--I think I first saw it on the lolcats site--that says something like, "If life gives you lemons, make lemonade--but if you don't have any water or sugar handy, your lemonade is going to really, really suck." So Ella and Nelson are the sugar and water, respectively, that creates magic out of the ordinary. --Wait! There's MORE!

Summertime

Ahh, the languid life of Catfish Row, with Clara singing a lullabye to her baby.... It's such a beautiful, slow, bluesy minor-key song, and Ella makes the control of her voice so easy, it's a revelation to listen to her.

Prior to Ella I suppose I should thank Janis Joplin for introducing this gem to a young and impressionable Mojo. While I've whined many times before about how I tend to not care much for slow draggy ballads, Gershwin's "Summertime" is so utterly perfect, setting mood and experience to music, it leaves me breathless every time I hear it. Of course Janis was primarily a blues singer, and she had her own voice and her own take, and the version I'm most familiar with was recorded live in a seedy-sounding bar, complete with drunken louts and people dropping drinks. And it's still pretty freakin' awesome. --Wait! There's MORE!

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