I have been a little overly sensitive to beauty lately.
It comes in all kinds of forms, of course, highbrow and lowbrow, delicate or gritty or raucous or serene. These days I have to brace myself when I walk into a music hall and see a pedal steel guitar, lest I unravel at the first note. Depending on the day, it could be a country road, or a leaf pile, a small child in footie pajamas, a piece of sculpture, a gorgeous cocktail, a party dress, or the new wing of the science museum coming together in Raleigh. I still haven’t recovered from the Old 97’s show last month. And I just fell in love with a pair of sapphire blue shoes, which I plan to wear from the second the weather turns warm enough, until it’s cold enough to see my breath next winter.
What really got to me this week, though, was the Grammys. Specifically, Adele.
I Do Not Like Pop Music. I may be in the minority here, and therefore I will not enumerate the pop stars who, in my opinion, deserve a cease-and-desist order. But I watched the Grammys anyway. I saw Adele perform one song, and wow, that was not what I expected. I bought her CD at lunch on Monday. I raced through it once, and then again, and then started listening to my favorites on pretty much endless repeat. Fortunately, I have had an abnormal amount of car time this week, which is when I do my best singing. I have just about worn out #3, #4, #7, and #11. #1 is fabulous. #5 and #9 are pretty good too.
I was yammering about it to Veronica at work, when I said out loud, “The name of the CD is ’21,’…..oh wait. It’s not possible that she’s 21, is it? Please tell me she’s not 21.” And she’s not, anymore, but she was when she recorded the album, just before winning six Grammys last week. I stared at the pile of construction administration paperwork on my desk for the caulking job which will not ever end, and regretted most of the decisions that had led me to this point. But it’s hard to work up any serious jealousy for someone who deserves success like that, because she is the Real Deal. She’s got it. She was born with it.
For all of my singing in the car this week, I find it odd that the content of these songs isn’t what gets me, at all. Of the 11 songs, probably 9 of them are “don’t forget me” songs to an ex. That doesn’t resonate with me, but the emotion behind it is so real, and the expression is so powerful, that it’s extremely moving nonetheless. When she gets to “Take It All,” she does a 2012 take on Janis Joplin. I don’t know whether that’s intentional or an accidental inspiration, but it’s “Take a Little Piece of My Heart,” mellowed and bluesier, for a modern age.
Anyway. I am not sure how I got to a record review of a pop star, this Sunday morning. I do not do record reviews, as I am utterly unqualified. I am not interested in pop stars. I am suspicious of anyone I have not seen perform live, especially considering I saw the Best New Artist of the year in possibly the worst show I heard in 2011. I am a roots music girl. I am judgmental.
But, as I mentioned: sensitive to beauty. I know it when I stumble across it, even in unexpected places. I’m off to do some more car singing. Wishing you some pleasant surprises today, too.