Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Carey Buries Presley

Well, it has happened. As sports fans know, records are made to be broken, even if in the breaking, we have to push aside some former heroes. Hank Aaron beat Babe Ruth's home run record, although (it is often pointed out) he did so over more years. Roger Maris beat the one season home run record, again with an asterisk, since the season had lengthened since the Babe's day.

Now, Mariah Carey has beaten Elvis' record of Number 1 hits by a solo artist. Elvis fans world wide are posting their own asterisks of one kind or another. But surely Mariah Carey has to be the sole owner of a brand new record: the most notes sung in Number 1 hits by a solo artist.

Yes, Elvis is the King, but Mariah is doubtless the Queen of Melisma--that increasingly cliched talent of ringing a single note with a bouquet--nay, a veritable wreath--of surrounding notes. It's like wordless scat singing, perhaps, or a musical stutter.

It reminds me of that great musical critique leveled by the Emperor of Austria against Mozart's work:

"Too many notes."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The emperor didn't say Mozart had "too many notes." The line was delivered by Count Orsini-Rosenberg.