Tuesday, May 13, 2008

I'm rooting for Lorenz Hart! Tipsily, on the way home tonight, Tash and I were singing 'Misty', and this led me to think, on the walk home from the tram stop, about my favourite American standards. And I realised that they are pretty much all Rodgers/Hart. Fuck Hammerstein, with his isinglass windows you can roll right down in case there's a change in the weather! HART ALL THA WAY! Hart could write, "And worship the trousers that cling to him" - pretty raunchy stuff. Try that, Hammerstein, you dick!

I love his ear for an eye-rhyme, especially in 'Mountain Greenery': "We could find no cleaner retreat from life's machinery/Than our mountain greenery". My favourite song of his, though, is 'To Keep My Love Alive', a really whip-smart song from the revival of A Connecticut Yankee. It's full of excellent rhymes! But it's really in tales of unrequited or lost love that Hart excels. Here was a dude who was never lucky in love, and died before he was 50 from pneumonia linked to alcoholism. And what did that goddamn Rodgers do? Abandoned him to go write sunny crap with goddamn Hammerstein! Wash that man right outta my hair, indeed!
If they asked me, I could write a book
about the way you walk and whisper and look.
Lost my heart, but what of it?
My mistake, I agree.
He's a laugh, but I love it
Because the laugh's on me.
Falling in love with love is falling for make believe
Falling in love with love is playing the fool
Caring too much is such a juvenile fancy
Learning to trust is just for children in school.
Yet there are relatively few emo moments. Here was a man who could capture emotion without drifting into treacly sentiment.
Don't change a hair for me
Not if you care for me
Stay, little valentine, stay!
Each day is Valentine's Day.
There's a hopeful quality to his lyrics, even though they're shot through with irony.
Isn't it romantic
merely to be young on such a night as this?
Isn't it romantic?
Every note that's sung is like a lover's kiss.
Sweet symbols in the moonlight
Do you mean that I will fall in love perchance?
Isn't it romance?

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