“VOICES SOFT AS THUNDER” April 19, 2009Posted by wmmbb in Humankind/Planet Earth.
Susan Boyle has become an internet-You Tube phenomenon. One site now has over 25.4 million hits.
I found out about her at Tom Peters. He said he responded emotionally, and perhaps I did at first as well, but now I look at the lyrics, consider her phasing and compare her to other singers, including Elaine Paige, I think she is very good. The critics on the television program to their credit knew that straight away.
Tanya Gold, at The Guardian, takes the grounded, sceptical view:
Is Susan Boyle ugly? Or are we? On Saturday night she stood on the stage in Britain’s Got Talent; small and rather chubby, with a squashed face, unruly teeth and unkempt hair. She wore a gold lace dress, which made her look like a piece of pork sitting on a doily. Interviewed by Ant and Dec beforehand, she told them that she is unemployed, single, lives with a cat called Pebbles and has never been kissed. Susan then walked out to chatter, giggling, and a long and unpleasant wolf whistle.
Why are we so shocked when “ugly” women can do things, rather than sitting at home weeping and wishing they were somebody else?
I suspect that good songs sing themselves. I think it is Susan Boyle’s song selection and self knowledge, with a determination to be herself that is crucial. It is not just musical intelligence, although it is that as well that she possesses.
She is authentic and the lyrics speak through her in ways that do not hold for more glamorous and younger people.
Here are the Lyrics(Thanks to NewHotdox) – Fantile sings them in Les Miserables, the musical as distinct from Victor Hugo’s novel of the 1832 Paris Uprising. Wikipedia to rescue again with the background history.
(Socrates said somewhere, as I recall, in relation to the invention of writing, sans context, that it would give the appearance of learning rather than the reality. Now I discover that apparently Socrates could neither read nor write. Such people have to have a good memory.)
I dreamed a dream in time gone by
When hope was high,
And life worth living
I dreamed that love would never die
I dreamed that God would be forgiving.
Then I was young and unafraid
When dreams were made and used,
There was no ransom to be paid
No song unsung,
No wine untasted.
But the tigers come at night
With their voices soft as thunder
As they tear your hopes apart
As they turn your dreams to shame.
And still I dream he’ll come to me
And we will live our lives together
But there are dreams that cannot be
And there are storms
We cannot weather…
I had a dream my life would be
So different from this hell I’m living
So different now from what it seems
Now life has killed
The dream I dreamed.
The hit count now (5pm AEST) is 32.7 million, from one site. The good thing is that success may well translate into well deserved financial returns for Susan Boyle.
All the cockatoos that I see around here, or have ever seen, are white cockatoos. Nowra, a town further south, is the local Aboriginal word for black cockatoo. So Susan Boyle is a Black Swan, made possible by the responses of viewers and that strange invention, the internet, with some help, it seems, from the infotainment machine and the twitters of some – unknown to me – celebrities. Tom Peters might in some circles be considered as a celebrity. I am tempted, but I will not speculate on the nature and character of celebrities, which presumably included the television program judges, who I did not know about and was none the worst off for that.
Was Susan Boyle’s surprising success a Black Swan? Here Nassim Taleb sets out the conditions for such an event: