Rodney

"All things to all men" explained by young Rand (actually Björk)

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Rand famously said, "[T]hose who try to be all things to all men, end up by not being anything to anyone."

There exists video of a young Ayn Rand going into more detail on this principle and how she arrived at it. Here it is:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JS-yTAELra8&feature=youtu.be&t=486

(Note from MSK: YT is confusing at times. The short link embeds when starting at 8:06. The long link doesn't.)

 

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1 hour ago, Brant Gaede said:

Where is that video?

Brant,

Here it is.

For some reason, the long version of a YT link doesn't embed when it has to start in the middle. But the short link embeds.

(In fact, to be fair to Rodney, I will place this in his post.)

btw - I've only seen a few things with Björk, but what I've seen rocks. :) 

Michael

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I could have worded my joke more clearly--sorry about that!

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15 minutes ago, Rodney said:

I could have worded my joke more clearly--sorry about that!

Rodney,

It's quite funny. Let's just say Björk sings better than she explains.

:) 

I wanted to put the laugh "like" icon, but I wasn't sure if you would misinterpret it. So I did a normal like.

Now I'll change it back.

:) 

Michael

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Here she is, defending, as only she can, man's dominion over nature; machines; and modernity--including nuclear energy:

 

 

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Here is Björk at a much earlier stage of her technology-love, where she dissects and defends TV:

Honestly, I don't know just how to take this. Judge for yourself!

 

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4 hours ago, Rodney said:

Honestly, I don't know just how to take this. Judge for yourself!

Rodney,

In my producing days of pop stars in Brazil, I used to call this cheap profundity.

The artist thinker goes where no mind has gone before...

:) 

The TV looks like a little city inside...

LOL...

Poor things, they can't help it. They all do it. And it gets worse when they get older. But still I love them...

:) 

Björk's affected innocence in her speaking manner reminds me a bit of Finnish comedian ISMO, who does it for comic effect instead of trying to be a sage.

We have a thread on him here: Hardest Word in English.

The original video I posted got removed and I couldn't find it elsewhere, so I replaced it with the same routine by ISMO on Conan. Conan's attention-hogging orange and black background and lukewarm TV audience kind of softens the belly-laugh moments, but it's still very funny.

Michael

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I wouldn't say it is 'affected,' but it is mostly in jest, I believe. At the time, she was in punk bands that thumbed their noses at all musical and social conventionality. I don't know the context of this clip, except that it was part of a TV show about the band she was in at the time, and she might have taken the opportunity to do a bit that would draw on her preexisting positive feelings about technology and yet also align with the attitudes of her bandmates and likely of herself at the time. The innocence that comes through is real, though (see her early interviews, as in the first clip I posted and elsewhere), and I find it utterly charming. 

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13 hours ago, Rodney said:

... I find it utterly charming. 

Rodney,

I agree.

Even as I say "cheap profundity."

(Apropos, I always say that about pop stars in the tone of a playful poke in the ribs, or with the amusement you feel when you see a young girl walk around in her father's house-shoes. :) Truth be told, I have only sneered when saying that very few times--it was when the pop artist really pissed me off about something and it was alway personal. Man, do I have stories... :) But pop music is a purely right brain here-and-now experience, and it's great for that--I believe it even addresses a human need. So nobody ever needs to apologize for it. I fit cheap profundity within that context and it works perfectly. I wouldn't have it any other way, except, maybe when pop stars get too political. Cheap profundity in that context makes them sound like bad politicians on a sloganeering rant.)

Back to Björk. There's lots to love and nothing to hate about her, even when she does some weird things in her music. (I love her voice even at those moments.)

I wouldn't take advice on things like the stock market, science, etc. from her, but that's not the reason she exists in the culture.

As I said earlier, she's a sweetheart. And I hope she never stops projecting that innocence like some pop stars stop doing when they age (for an extremely vulgar example, think Miley Cyrus).

Somewhere I read Ayn Rand say something about her cats (or maybe it was one cat). That their only purpose in existence was to be pretty and bring joy. That's a paraphrase, but it's the gist. That's what I feel about Björk.

Michael

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Her approach to music and songwriting is completely alien to my own, and yet some of her records, and the things she does with her voice, really get me.

A basic part of her personality is expressed in "Isobel," https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2NxVxZTyok4 . Note the primal cry about three-quarters through. That wasn't on the record, but it may have developed in repeated performance, and I hear it as the hidden torment of being direct and natural in a world of artificiality.

She was interviewed in 2007 by Harp magazine:

HARP: Do you feel as if you stayed young for as long as you wanted or that you grew up – grew too mature – for your youth ?

Bit of both. Because I had to be self-sufficient from early age, I sort of peaked at age seven. And the balance I found then has sort of stayed with me. I’m half child half ancient. [Emphasis mine.]

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On 6/17/2018 at 10:22 AM, Rodney said:

Note the primal cry about three-quarters through.

Rodney,

I just listened to the video and the growl popped out at me. Then I thought two things:

1. I learned a lesson a long time ago (which I wish I would employ more), that the more you use an effect, the less effect it has. (Of course, this only means something if the effect is good and digs deep in human nature. :) ) That growl was the only growl Björk did in that setting. So it pops out.

2. I've heard that growl before and suddenly I thought--oh yeah. It's pretty common in Brazilian pop singers of a more elite type (think those who sing the songs of Antônio Carlos Jobim).

Then I scrolled down on the YouTube video and saw the first comment. The person said this song was dedicated to Elis Regina.

Yup.

Now it all makes sense.

:) 

btw - Doing this post took me down memory lane and I just received an enormous shock. Here is Elis Regina singing one of her biggest hits (on YouTube, this video has about 25 million views so far.) Unfortunately, for English-speaking folks, it's in Portuguese. The emotion she projects is not the same as Björk, obviously, and she only hints at the growls she did elsewhere (like the one Björk did in "Isobel"). Elis is singing a song called "Like our Parents."

The shock I received was to learn--just now--that the song's author, Belchior, passed away last year.

Bel and I were partners in several productions and we even wrote some songs together. He wanted me to translate his songs into English, but I didn't feel ready at the time. (Sadly, I now do.)

Damn, that was bad news.

I don't know if you will be able to tell from the recording, but Bel was a huge fan of Bob Dylan and his "talking" style of songwriting. I used to joke with him saying he liked the recitatives much better than the arias. He liked them so much, he raised them to the level of pop songs. 

The message of this song is not very Randian. It's basically this: that after living through all the dreams of us young people who went out to change the world, after everything we've seen, the thing that hurts the most is to realize that, underneath it all, we now live just like our parents did. Nothing has changed.

This message is especially poignant when thinking about Brazilian young people, who lived through, then overcame, the military dictatorship while in the US, there was Woodstock and what followed. There's an interesting story in this that bears following up on one day. (btw - Bel didn't lean left, he was more politically agnostic, but Elis sure as hell was a leftie. She could sing her ass off, though, so I forgive her. :) )

This leads me to think that people with a Randian perspective (and similar) need to learn to make popular art that stirs deep longings as well as the lefties have done over the years. Even in English. For example, I can't listen to Roberta Flack's version of "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face"--see here--without going into a deep daydream and state of longing I don't get anywhere else, and the song was written by a friggin' commie, Ewan MacColl.

I've actually got some ideas on this, including the neuroscience behind music, but they're too raw to communicate well so far.

Anyway, believe it or not, this ties into the appeal of Björk in "Isobel." I believe she gets people into a similar daydream state, but in her case, it's with a deep mythological flavor. Something primal. She's like what I imagine an ancient goddess would be and how primitive people would think about her as they looked on in awe and wonder at nature.

I want to say something pithy to conclude this post because important issues are present, but nothing is coming. It's probably the shock about Bel...

Michael

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I was aware of the Regina connection, having noticed it mentioned in a YouTube comment also. I don't think Björk so much was influenced by Regina as admired and identified with her. Björk had, very early on, quite a repertoire of vocal expressive tools, completely sui generis, as is shown in her very first independent release, Human Behavior (which I'm hoping you've never heard--it's a great example of her virtuosic vocalizations!)--which shot her to major fame.

You bring up many subjects that I don't have time to discuss these days. Maybe sometime later.

(You certainly have a varied history and background in many topics! Your theme song might be Björk's 'I've Seen It All,' the song nominated for an Oscar she would have gotten at the ceremony where she wore that 'swan dress.')

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4 hours ago, Rodney said:

... her very first independent release, Human Behavior (which I'm hoping you've never heard--it's a great example of her virtuosic vocalizations!)--which shot her to major fame.

Rodney,

I hadn't heard it before. I tend to not listen to too much music for some reason. It engages all of me, then lingers. And that interrupts the things I am doing. it becomes hard to concentrate, especially on the boring stuff I set for myself to plow through. (Maybe my own nature is trying to tell me something? Like get back to music, asshole? :) )

In addition to Björk's voice, man can she get a groove on. I loved that work...

You're wrecking my plans, drat it, because now I am probably do to deep dive on Björk. And that's all I'll think about for days... :) 

As to your comment about me, yeah, I've lived. High highs and low lows. Lot's of 'em. Now I'm more settled (got tired of getting my ass kicked :) ), but the call of the wild goose still echoes in my brain. And it's been getting louder, so God knows what's coming next.

Until then, I'll keep arguing about politics on the Internet or something... :) 

And sometimes stop to smell the roses, like this delightful discussion with you...

Michael

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I should mention I don't like 90% of her work, especially the later things (I admit I have not heard much of it)! But the things I do like I find stimulating and challenging. 

Moreover, I am fascinated by her personality, which you might as well get a sample of here. I am a melody man, and there is not much of a tune in this song ("Hunter"), but there are other aspects of the music I do like--and look at her facial expressions as she sings!

 

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