Sunday, August 21, 2011

Great Song, Poor Use Of The Medium, "Something To Talk About" By Bonnie Raitt.

The Good: Good song, Good vocals, Decent guitarwork.
The Bad: Nothing new, Poor use of the medium
The Basics: With a noticeable lack of b-sides or additional content, the greatness of the song "Something To Talk About" is lost on the worthless c.d. single.

As someone recently pointed out on one of my c.d. singles reviews, the medium is very much a dying - if not already dead - medium. Digital downloads have pretty much made it pointless to produce a physical c.d. with only one or two tracks on it. As I have long argued, the worst c.d. singles are the ones where there is only one track per c.d. and it is identical to the album cut of the song. Digital downloads have certainly killed that style of c.d. single. Now, such singles exist only as collector's items for the die-hard fans or those obsessive music lovers who have a c.d. jukebox and need one-track singles to make it work properly. For those fans or jukebox aficionados, there are singles like the one-track version of "Something To Talk About."

"Something To Talk About" was a big hit for Bonnie Raitt at a time when I had VH1 as a teenager and I was peeved that the video played in such high rotation that they didn't play videos I wanted to see. Go figure. I've since aged, my tastes have matured and I've come to enjoy the song when I hear it. However, given the opportunity to pick up the c.d. single, I still passed. Why? The one-track single has the same cut as "Something To Talk About" as it appears on the full album Luck Of The Draw. And that's an album worth picking up. In fact, it can usually be found so inexpensively that one is likely to pay as much for the full album as they are for just the single.

With only one song occupying 3:47, "Something To Talk About" is only marginally the work of Bonnie Raitt. Raitt did not write the song, for which she won a Grammy, but she does provide the lead vocals and guitars on the track. She co-produced the song, so it is hard to argue that this is anything but the song she intended to release.

Instrumentally, this is a straightforward rock and roll song with a classic rock feel. Raitt and her bandmates play guitars, bass and drums and the song has a steel guitar sense of twang to it. The percussion is strong when the guitars cut out and allow Raitt to perform vocally, but when the guitars are going, this is an up-tempo, bemused song which is danceable and carries a recognizable melody.

Vocally, this is one of Raitt's best songs and she infuses the song with her sense of smirking irony and that comes through in every refrain she performs of it. Raitt performs both in the soprano and lower registers, which makes "Something To Talk About" a real treat to the ears. The full range and expressiveness of Raitt's vocal talents is utilized and it separates Raitt from virtually everyone else on the radio. She has passion and an ability to sing with irony and the musical storysong unfolds wonderfully as she presents it. Every line she sings is performed with perfect clarity.

For those who have not heard "Something To Talk About," it is a tongue-in-cheek rock song where Bonnie Raitt sings about rumors in a community that put two friends as being romantically involved. As the song progresses, the musical protagonist comes to realize that maybe others are seeing something and that they can make a go of it. With a transition that is uncommon in pop music - "I feel so foolish, I never noticed / You'd act so nervous, could you be falling for me? / It took a rumor to make me wonder / Now I'm convinced I'm goin under / Thinking 'bout you every day / Dreaming 'bout you every night / I hope that you feel the same way / Now that we know it, let's really show it, Darlin'" - Raitt weaves a musical storysong that is charming and uncommon.

But there's no reason to buy just the song when the album is so good. This c.d. single is a waste of money and fans deserve more.

For other reviews of singles, please be sure to visit my reviews of:
"Otherside" - Red Hot Chili Peppers
"Crazy" - Seal
"Gimme More" - Britney Spears


For other music reviews, please be sure to visit my index page on the subject by clicking here!

© 2011, 2010 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.

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