It’s not anything new that music makes you happy. I mean, just last week it was proven that even sad music makes you happy! But today in particular there’s such a bounty of musical feel-good to be had. And not all of it is from expected venues:
First, as a warm-up, check out this interview between Tyler, the Creator and Pharrell. Tyler is maybe the last person you’d ever describe as happy, at least in a traditional sense, which is why this clip is so winning. Tyler is a massive Pharrell fan, and Pharrell has just finished a performance at Tyler’s festival, Camp Flog Gnaw 2014. Pharrell is almost as enthused about the whole thing as Tyler. There’s something giddy about the situation, and Pharrell’s noting of Tyler’s oddly calm demeanor just proves that it’s a kind of special moment.
Sometimes a song’s happiness-effect comes not from its first listening, but rather the cumulative effect of the whole world having listened to it at one point. Such is the case with the Cheers theme song, to which everybody knows the woooords, do-do-do. This brief feature on the writer of that song, Gary Portnoy, is illuminating in that the man still, after so many years, walks around singing bits of the song to remind himself that “wow, it’s real.” Portnoy does have a complaint, though: He’s sick of being asked about it, regardless of his appreciation of its longevity.
Speaking of longevity: Vahsti Bunyan. The folk singer, who released her first album in 1970 and her third/last in 2014, has combed through her record collection and written about the significance of a select few albums. Perhaps the best and most surprising thing in this story is Bunyan’s choosing Brandy & Monica’s “The Boy is Mine,” because of, among other things, the “interplay between the two singers – the phrasing that each manages so masterfully.”
And, to wrap up this mini-thread of longevity: a piece with longevity about a place without it. Impose has a “living tribute” to Brooklyn DYI venue Death By Audio, which may or may not be coming to a close because of Vice. The article is already several thousand words long, and will continue to grow through November 22, the date of Death By Audio’s final show. At this point, the testimonials included are an explicit sign of the venue’s importance, with Dan Deacon, Chris Gethard, Katy Goodman (La Sera, Vivian Girls), Jamin Orrall (JEFF the Brotherhood), Protomartyr, and tons of others all weighing in on the venue’s history. It played a crucial role in the Brooklyn music scene, and its loss is going to be felt for quite awhile.
Now, a hit of bittersweetness. This has kind of overtaken the Internet: A video of a man, who had just lost his wife in childbirth, singing the Beatles’ “Blackbird” to his dying child. Tragic, right? And yet, somehow, a man singing a song about the civil rights movement to his dying child manages to be beautiful and uplifting. It’s weird, isn’t it, how music works?
And then, some plain ol’ sweetness, and probably the last time anything will write about “Too Many Cooks.” I present to you, “Too Many Cookies,” a very brief homage to “Too Many Cooks,” starring the Cookie Monster.
To cap it off: It’s probably going to be snowing in NYC (and a lot of other places) tonight, everybody, and we’ll all have to spend our days walking around in it. Welcome to winter! But still, at least we have beautiful music to listen to as we ride, wet-footed, on crowded subways.