Song of the Week – 7 O’Clock News/Silent Night, Simon & Garfunkel; Phoebe Bridgers feat. Fiona Apple and Matt Berninger

Ignored           Obscured            Restored

In 1966, Simon & Garfunkel release a “song” titled “7 O’Clock News/Silent Night” on their album Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme.

The track was intended to juxtapose the quiet, peacefulness of the traditional Christmas carol against the disturbing events that were dominating the news at that time.

Simon & Garfunkel sing “Silent Night” as a news broadcaster (voiced by announcer Charlie O’Donnell) summarizes the headlines of a mock report of events that actually occurred, though not all on the same day.  Mention is made of a civil rights march, the Vietnam War, and the Richard Speck mass murder of nurses (among others).

It has occurred to me many times over the years that this could be updated with equal effect every year since Simon & Garfunkel executed their concept.  In fact, in 2019, Phoebe Bridgers and Fiona Apple ran with the idea and recorded their own update, with The Nationals’ Matt Berninger taking the announcer’s role.

Their version addressed the Sackler family, of Purdue Pharma, avoiding criminal charges for their role as major contributors to the opioid crisis, the murder of Botham Jean, and the first Trump impeachment.

I hate to be such a bummer on this special day, but sometimes a dose of reality helps us to be grateful for all the joy in our lives.

Merry Christmas.  Peace on Earth.

Enjoy… until next week.

Song of the Week – Criminal, Fiona Apple

Ignored           Obscured            Restored

When Fiona Apple sings “I’ve been a bad, bad girl,” I believe her.  The opening line from her 1997 hit, “Criminal”, is chilling.  Then she goes on…

I’ve been careless with a delicate man
And it’s a sad, sad world
When a girl will break a boy
Just because she can

That’s downright scary!!!  As is the chorus:

What I need is a good defense
Cause I’m feelin’ like a criminal
And I need to be redeemed
To the one I’ve sinned against
Because he’s all I ever knew of love

The song’s wicked sexy lyrics have a wicked sexy musical vibe to go with it.  (The controversial, official video is pretty sexy too.)  The opening bass groove sounds like a carnival version of Albert King’s blues classic “Born Under a Bad Sign.”

The jazzy romp builds to a lyrical climax, then continues for almost 2 more minutes with an Egyptian motif on organ and some dissonant chords banged out on the piano.  A very cool way to bring it all back down.

“Criminal” won a Grammy in 1998 for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance.

Last year Apple announced she would donate the royalties she earns from “Criminal” to  While They Wait, a social service agency that helps immigrants and refugees applying for asylum or other legal relief.

Enjoy… until next week.