Tirade Against Front-Enders Including Certain Friends of Mine
To see the background for this third tirade, go to “About Tirades.”
What you Front-Enders are missing: the last 4 minutes of Barry White’s “Your Sweetness Is My Weakness.” (Are you a Front-Ender? — someone that listens to 25 seconds of a song before skipping to the next? — or even 10 seconds? If so, this diatribe is directed at you.)
Yes, sometimes the Front-End is building a foundation for what can happen if you — yes, you out there, the listener — are willing to open yourself. Open to a transforming experience. A transforming experience that you Front-Enders miss out on. Sad?
Okay, take Buena Vista Social Club’s “Pueblo Nuevo” — you miss out on the overwhelming charms that can blow you away with their beauty, its climbing trumpet crescendo at 4 or 5 minutes in.
And how about Joe Sample’s “Burnin’ up the Carnival”? A very good 7-minute song but it’s only in the last minute or two, when you believe you’ve long got all that it’s got to give, that Josie James’s scat singing in and out of a rollercoaster piano’s flat and round notes — set off by soft-netted dissonant back-up vocals — give you something brilliant and new and wonderful that you could miss if you’ve stopped paying attention.
Not to mention really slow-starting greats like “Zorba’s Dance.”
How about much more recent stuff like Kaskade’s “Be Still” (2006) or “Raining” (2010) — big hits featuring lead vocalist Sunsun*? Well, after a minute or so they’re pretty much cookin’. And they get hotter.
True, there are plenty that start off with a bang — like Diana Ross’s “Swept Away.” We’re on the same wavelength here.
But what about what happens with that Divine Sounds 7:24, hard-nosed 1984 dance mix “What People Do for Money” (no, not the Pink Floyd version of “Money”!)?
Or when you play “Born on the Bayou” 88 times in a row?
And what about all the back-end romances you missed out on because you gave up at the first difficulty or quarrel or turn in the road? Your so-called openness, then, didn’t serve you to get to the paydirt, the affirmation, the love that would have come later. Okay, might have come later.
“Yes, in some cases,” I hear you say, generously, patronizingly, grumblingly. You are content, or at least hoping to be content, in your so-called efficiency, in not wasting time and energy on what lacks a quick payoff, or promise of a quick one. Think of all the miserable DVD or Blu-ray movies you might have sat through if you couldn’t find the courage, after 10 minutes, to turn them off.
True, there is no right way to know ahead of time. You find out later whether it was a waste, or a revelation. “So it’s like that, is it?” — as Humphrey Bogart’s character says somewhere, when he realizes he’s temporarily in the power of the villains. That’s how it is. Either way it’s a gamble. Your 2 jacks might not win the pot — “the ball is still in the air” — but sometimes you have to suffer and wait and stay in the game to find out. And you don’t know what the other routes would have been like, would have “yielded,” since you chose your one route. I’m just the messenger here.
Keep in mind too that when you make that quick switch-it-off “decision” you are also giving up the magical power of flamenco to transform the unbearable into the possibly just bearable; that takes a little time: 16:53 in the “Fiesta por Bulerías.” As Pablo Picasso claims to have said recently‡, “It takes a long time to become young.” He’s talking about an investment.
Come, come, can a person be so seduced by the charms of youth that the glories of adulthood forever remain undiscovered? [What now? Why is he saying this?? Youth is to adulthood as Front-Enders are to more Patient and Open Types??!] Let us not insult our friends, who have pulled our bacon out of the fire again and again. Their impatience is born of … of what? Being seduced by the pounding intimidation of what we politely call technology? As though your technology worked just as it’s “supposed to,” just like your life is “supposed to” work.
Let us breathe. Take some time already! Risk wasting a few minutes, or an hour tomorrow. You brave souls out there, try a “pajama day”! “Accomplish” nothing. Zero.
Let me know how it works out. Let me know what you see or hear. What you “experience,” as the man says.
* Okay, so, yes, that’s my stepdaughter Melisa. I know, I know. Now you’re going to think I sneaked her in. Well, I didn’t, it was there. You still want to believe there’s all these neat, separate capitalized categories like Honor and Justice, and Journalism and Opinion. Just get over it, will you?
‡This too?? Oh please, now you’re going to fuss over dates and sequence? Come on, can’t you do better than that?