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Stones, Rings, and Your Song

 article about Stones, Rings, and Your Song

           Although I am highly entertained by VH1's various "rock-list" shows, they bring up something about music that I strongly disagree with. I think ranking and comparing songs and artists is downright foolish. I know, we all do it; but why?

There is absolutely no point in voting and compiling some sort of generic, computer-generated lists of the songs and song-writers that have already been established as brilliant. Sure, debating is quite healthy, but a conversation has rarely (or probably never been) started with someone asking: "Who is better, Prince or "Milli" from the late-eighties, infamous duo?"

That question has an obvious answer, even if you do have a high level of appreciation for the song "Blame it on the Rain."

This specific question-format is normally used in a way that forces a person to compare two artists that share a similar level of success, and then pick the one whom you feel has proven themselves to be a more credible artist. And even though this classic debate-style rhetoric has been the cornerstone of pub conversations for decades, that doesn't necessarily make it right.


 I think the driving force behind my problem with the previously mentioned topic is that I refuse to say that The Beatles are better than The Rolling Stones, or vice versa. They are both brilliant, and a vital part of human existence. If I need a few albums to listen to for my drive to Cincinnati to visit my pal "Spade," then I grab Revolver, Abbey Road, and Rubber Soul and the Fab-Four make my Jeep-ride down the Appalachian Highway, at times, almost surreal. However, if I'm in a "make my steering wheel a drum set and sing like Mick Jagger" mood, and on my way to Columbus to check in with my agent, Master P, I'll make sure that Exile on Main Street is in my CD player.


The point is that both bands are equally important, and I can't say that one  is superior to the other. (Although I must admit that I am a "Stones person", more on that later) By that same rationale, I refuse to say that Elton John is better than Billy Joel. I honestly believe that Elton's career has been more influential than Joel's. And if you asked both artists to play their greatest songs, Elton's set-list will probably be more familiar to a broader range of people. But when I want to sit at my desk and think about how amazingly cruel and wonderful females can be, Elton cannot provide a substitute for "She's Always a Woman." 

When there is a bar full of drunken idiots that simply want to sway back and forth and shout out the only part of a song that they know the words to and mumble the rest of the lyrics, then without question "Piano Man" is the only option. And sadly, Sir Elton cannot give a replacement for that song either.


Even though Elton comes up short with songs for those two specific categories, he can, however, deliver a happy medium with "Your Song."

For what it's worth, "Your Song" is neither a "give me another shot of Jim Beam, I'm feeling sad because my girl is an evil bitch" song, nor is it a cheesy bar anthem designed for drunken group-karaoke. It is, in my opinion, Elton John's best song, and it tells the story of a guy whose checking account is a bit low, but rather than running up his Master Card, instead he writes a sincere, yet lyrically perfect melody to give to his significant other.

            Now, the "idea" behind this gift is risky. If a woman is expecting an amazing gift which as we all know is always the case, and a guy writes her a pathetic song or poem that may or may not include the word Nantucket, then that woman is going to be disappointed, to say the least. However, if the gift is both written and delivered in the same fashion as Elton John, circa 1972 then the gift would, without question, be a success. I think the game-clinching moment in "Your Song" is the line "But anyway, the thing is--what I really mean, yours are the sweetest eyes, I've ever seen" and to get even more specific, as much as I dig the part where he compliments the person's eyes it's the hesitation before the complement that makes the line brilliant. The hesitation gives the song a sense of reality. It shows that even through a hit song, it is difficult to tell someone the things that you really want to tell them. We all stumble through important moments and sometimes, almost screw them up because of the level of difficulty involved in the delivery. We know what we want to say, and we try our best to say it. However, the path from point A to point B is long and winding and even though Elton's hesitation lasts only a fraction of a second, it is without question, the most important fraction of any second of any song that I like.

            Maybe if wealthy men would quit buying eight-carrat diamonds for their fiancÚs, then maybe the ridiculous hope of one day owning a similar rock would not grow in the back of female minds. It would help out all of us. Men could simply buy a ring without worrying about disappointing their future wives, and women could quit giving fake smiles while acting like they are overwhelmed with their newest, and most significant piece of jewellery that they are possibly, deep down less than ecstatic about. Anyway, with or without my ring idea, the world is a more romantic place with "Your Song" being played in it. And I hope whomever the song was written for truly appreciates it, because I certainly do.

            So whether you listen to "Paint it Black," "Let It Be," "Purple Rain," or "Baby, Don't Forget My Number," try not to compare and rank music. Just enjoy it, and play it loud.


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