Utopian Turtletop. Monsieur Croche's BĂȘte Noire. Contact: turtletop [at] hotmail [dot] com

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

A few months ago I traced the source of rock and roll handclaps to gospel, a social music of celebration and praise.

Tonight I noticed that the "handclaps" on Sheryl Crow's break-out hit "All I Wanna Do" are either sampled or synthetic -- each one is identical to the rest.

What does an automated celebration-sound portend? I have nothing against electronic music and listen to a fair amount of it. But when I hear the artifice in electronically-homogenized human-body sounds, uneasiness creeps over me. Images of robots clapping. And the thinking of the record maker, wanting the human sound, but wanting it to be exactly replicated throughout, the slightly-off double-hit exactly the same every time -- it's a foreign way of thinking. Probably just expeditious -- just enough humanity for to conjure up the purport of the words -- "have some fun" -- but tightly controlled so as not to call attention to itself -- I've heard the song dozens of times, love the song, and never noticed.

"I've got a feeling I'm not the only one" -- so sings Sheryl, but the robot hand-clappers suggest that maybe she is. (I've never seen "The Matrix.")
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