Erika brings up Didi's "Play With Fire" over on the Didi-Rhiannon thread
, and I talk about it on the Freaky Trigger canon thread
. Here's what I say:
Saw Crystal Bowersox
and Didi Benami
from Stones night on American Idol
, and for the second week in a row I thought that, although Bowersox' vocals were stonger and richer and more self-assured, it was flighty quirk-and-curlicue girl Benami who managed to burrow deeper into the music, even while flubbing and flying around it too. It helps Didi that I way prefer "Play With Fire" to "You Can't Always Get What You Want." On the latter, Crystal didn't really communicate much beyond "good voice" and "jazz-soul command," nothing about wanting and getting; she has done and will do a lot better, whereas Didi is unsure and unformed but she's already given three gripping performances, this and "Rhiannon" last week (which you'd think would have been a suicide choice) and "Terrified" during Hollywood week.
The thing about the Stones' best material, which sold big because it meant a lot of different things to different people, is that, paradoxically, for me the material isn't open to a lot of interpretations, and I rarely like to hear it covered. If you can't do Jagger's tensions - e.g., "Heart Of Stone," which is the Stones' real
can't-always-get-what-you-want song - can't totally deliver strength and menace while writing lyrics that expose the strength and menace as a fraud, with the singing and playing forcefully counteracting the lyrics and being as convincing as the supposed unmasking... if you can't prance along that balance beam, then what's the point?
Since this time it's Didi's voice, you get the sense that, though as the singer she's the narrator, she as much as the person she's singing about can
be menaced and played with, but nonetheless she'll display bits of vocal strength that make the "don't mess with me" credible; and because the song's lyrics own the weakness a lot less than "Heart Of Stone"'s do, Didi's actually brought something to the song, walks along her own borderline between not getting what you say you can, and getting what you say you can't, and not knowing what you need.( Play With Fire videoCollapse )
EDIT: I say favorable things about Crystal Bowersox' appearance over on Martin's lj