Friday, February 25, 2011
I confess I am a recovering k. d. lang addict. Recovering, because I'm starting to think she's falling into her own cliches: the little groan at the beginning of the phrase; the breathless/breathy passages, the upswoop like a coyote or a cowboy yell, and (less frequently) the half-yodel. When she sang Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah at the opening of the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver (a very big deal for us: we live there!), she was on a big pedestal and dressed in a baggy men's suit. My husband said, "She looks like Wayne Newton."
It was true. She looks sort of puffy, and she doesn't smile much. I never expected her to stay androgynously waiflike (if there is such a thing), boyish with knife-trimmed nails, and cheekbones to die for. But I never pictured her getting this bulky, stolid like a middle-aged businessman at a Shriner's convention, getting lost in her (always-ugly) clothes. Long ago she was in a Canadian-made movie called Salmonberries in which she appeared, for a split-second, in the nude, and everyone revelled in the fact that she looked like a woman. Well, she IS, folks, no matter how gay or lesbian or woman-loving she may be. The physiological underpinnings are the same.
So, how does this affect my feelings for her? I don't know when I started to get turned off. Nothing ever matched her breakout Ingenue album, which I listened to about a billion times. Still Thrives This Love was my fave (and I'll try to find it), though there were no duds in it at all.
She's not quite phoning it in now, but the lang cliches are wearing a deeper and deeper groove, so that something has fallen down in and gotten lost. I think. She still has that legendary flexible voice, but it doesn't seem to speak to me any more. She doesn't produce the overtones that make a voice jump alive, and God, that swooooooping up to every note. Once in a while, attack it head-on, will you?
Nevertheless, this one is pretty good.