Sunday, June 29, 2014

Arthur's Theme

There've been a spate of articles over the past year or two talking about the death of the very concept of the guilty pleasure. When it comes to art and/or entertainment, you like what you like and no need to apologize for it: if it brings you pleasure, no need for guilt.

I could not agree more.

Except when it comes to Christopher Cross.

Look, I like a lot of stuff that used to be considered by most people of discernment as bad: Genesis, Yes, Barry Manilow, the Carpenters, Air Supply, Eric Clapton, Wings. Most (although very much not all) of those have had their reputations restored, to a greater or lesser degree, over the years. Through it all I pretty much just shrugged, sometimes offering a reasoned defense and sometimes just explaining that the heart wants what the heart wants.

And it's true.

Except when it comes to Christopher Cross.

His music is simply bad. Never mind that the lyrics tend to be trite and clunky—even the gist of an idea behind the lyrics is often terrible. (Sailing! He had a hit about sailing! The next time anyone complains about music today and how much better it used to be, there's your trump card counterargument right there. You win.) ((Although I do have a serious soft spot for "Think of Laura," so maybe this entire piece is void and null.)) His voice, singing melodies that are undeniably catchy, has the amazing tonal quality of sounding completely and undeviatingly flat, even as it's actually on-key.

Now, to be fair, I only know four Christopher Cross songs. But I feel confident making such claims about his entire oeuvre anyway. Because this is a guy who got Michael McDonald to sing backup on a song, and decided to use his guest's voice...for exactly one line. Over and over. Just that line. Just that same six word sentence fragment. Anyone with judgment that bad deserves all the hackjobs he gets.

All that being said, I love this song.

It's not good. It is, in fact, bad.

But it's catchy and stupidly romantic and the theme song to one of my very favoritest movies of all times.

And the heart wants what the heart wants.

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