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"I write what I hear" : subtitle genre in selected songs by Jane Siberry 2002

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I W R I T E W H A T I H E A R " : G E N R E I N S E L E C T E D S O N G S B Y JANE S I B E R R Y F R A N C E F L E D D E R U S B . A . , Redeemer College, 1993 M . M . , The University of North Texas, 1996 A THESIS S U B M I T T E D I N P A R T I A L F U L F I L L M E N T OF T H E R E Q U I R E M E N T S F O R - T H E D E G R E E OF D O C T O R OF P H I L O S O P H Y in T H E F A C U L T Y OF G R A D U A T E S T U D I E S (School of Music) We accept tmis thesis as conforming T H E UNIvr/R"§fTY OF BRI%SH COLUMBIA July 2002 © Francine May Fledderus, 2002 in presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, 1 agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. Department The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada DE-6 (2/88) 11 ABSTRACT This dissertation explores the use of genre in various songs by Toronto singer-songwriter Jane Siberry. Siberry (b. 1955) is an innovative rock musician whose oeuvre draws on a variety of popular music genres. Selected songs are analyzed in light of their relationship to the genres of folk revival, electro pop, country-pop, cool jazz, and funk. The analysis focuses on the consonances and dissonances a song has with a particular genre. The social meanings evoked by genre adherence and subversion are also addressed. It is argued that while Siberry works within contrasting genres, her approach toward those genres is more or less consistent. In particular, Siberry treats various musical parameters (form, metre, and instrumentation) in more complex ways than found in conventional approaches to these genres. As such, Siberry subverts the expectations associated with a genre in a manner that can be conceived of as that of the rock auteur. The rock auteur is a singer-songwriter or producer (in Siberry's case both) who, like the director in film theory, uses continuous themes or technical approaches to create a recognizable personal style that can be found throughout his or her oeuvre. Such a distinct personal style appears in both Siberry's music and lyrics. The analytical methodology employed in this study consists of three parts. First, an analysis of a genre prototype will reveal both the parameters most characteristic of that genre and the social meanings commonly associated with it. Next, a Siberry song (both the lyrics and the music) will be analyzed from a transcription of the recording in terms of both its consonances and dissonances with the conventions of the relevant genre. Special attention will be paid to the additional levels of complexity Siberry consistently employs in her approach to genre. Finally, conclusions will be drawn as to how Siberry's departure from certain generic conventions affects the social meanings associated with a given genre. TABLE OF CONTENTS Abstract ii Table of Contents iii List of Figures v Acknowledgments vi Dedication vii INTRODUCTION 1 Chapter One Biography of Siberry 30 Genre and Siberry's Approach to Songwriting 42 Recurrent Themes and Techniques in Siberry's Lyrics 49 Chapter Two The Folk-revival Genre 59 Genre in "lajalouse" 65 Chapter Three The Electro-pop Genre 82 Genre in "goodbye" 95 Chapter Four The Country-pop Genre 108 Genre in "everything reminds me of my dog" 114 Chapter Five The Cool-jazz Genre 130 Genre in "Maria" 135 Chapter Six The Funk Genre 154 Genre in "Flirtin' is a Flo-thing" 162 Chapter Seven Conclusions 175 Genre and Social Meaning 181 Works Cited 193 Discography 206 Appendix 1 Lyrics of Selected Songs 209 Appendix 2 Transcription of "lajalouse" 237 Appendix 3 Transcription of "goodbye" 243 Appendix 4 Transcription of "everything reminds me of my dog" 253 Appendix 5 Transcription of "Maria" 273 Appendix 6 Transcription of "Flirtin' is a Flo-thing" 283 V LIST OF FIGURES Number Title Page 2.1 Tonality in "la jalouse" 66 2.2 Phrase Lengths in "la jalouse" 67 3.1 Metre in "goodbye" 99 3.2 Tonality in "goodbye" 102 4.1 Phrase Lengths in "everything reminds me of my dog" 117 4.2a Rythmic Acceleration Before the Phrase "reminds me of my dog" 120 4.2b Rhythmic Acceleration After the Phrase "reminds me of my dog" 120 5.1 Phrase Lengths in "Maria" 13 8 5.2 Tonality in "Maria" 145 6.1 Phrase Lengths in "Flirtin' is a Flo-thing" 165 6.2 Rhythmic Variation of Bass Vamps in "Flirtin' is a Flo-thing 165 VI ACKNOWLEDGMENTS First and foremost I would like to thank Jane Siberry, not least of all for graciously granting me as much interview time as I needed. I would also like thank the members of my committee for all the effort they put forth on this project. To Vera Micznik, who was so supportive of my embarking upon a popular music topic and spent a lot of time reviewing the transcriptions. To Alan Thrasher, who has a deep appreciation of North American popular music and steered me in the right direction when I encountered methodological problems. And to David Metzer, to whom I am deeply indebted for his prompt assistance with feedback on countless drafts of my dissertation. In addition I wish to express sincere gratitude to my editors Kate Willems and especially Norman Stanfield, who read the complete manuscript, and Bill Fledderus, who gave me so much encouragement as well as helpful suggestions. Thanks as well to John Bacon, who lent me his old computer and to Keith Fredlund, who tirelessly transformed my handwritten transcriptions and alterations into computer notation. Any errors in the transcriptions are mine and not his. Finally, I would like to acknowledge my family, Shara Worden, and Benita Wolters- Fredlund for their love, interest, inspiration, encouragement, and prayers. And last but not least, my thanks goes out to the academic community in Vancouver, particularly to Karen Ott VandeKamp for leading the way down the narrow path, and to the Members of the G.C.F. and G.C.U. for tirelessly reminding me—when I had quite forgotten—of why I began this journey in the first place. vii For Benita Wolters-Fredlund and Keith Fredlund, whose unwavering support on every possible level enabled the completion of this project. And for Bill Fledderus, who always finds the time. 1 INTRODUCTION GENRE AND SOCIAL MEANINGS IN POPULAR MUSIC Recent writings in musicology, particularly those viewed as "critical musicology" and "new musicology," discuss music in terms of its social and cultural contexts. These studies have countered the formalist perspective that has shaped music scholarship over the last few decades. In that perspective, musical works are viewed as abstract structures, self-contained objects of melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic patterns, that are isolated from the cultural settings in which they appear. A newly-revived interest in cultural contexts has created a significant shift in musicology, encouraging scholars to explore the relationship between music and such areas as race, gender, and sexuality1 (notes for this chapter begin on p. 24). It has also stimulated interest in other repertories, particularly popular music idioms.2 Popular music has long been viewed as inextricably bound to its cultural scene, hence the neglect of the music by scholars adhering to formalist paradigms. These dense ties, however, have now attracted musicologists, who have been intrigued by the rich and broad resonances of popular music with political, social, and ideological issues in society. This dissertation joins the growing field of popular music studies. It focuses on the songs of Canadian singer-songwriter Jane Siberry, examining her negotiation of different genres.3 Many of the leading pop music scholars have focused on genre, including Adam Krims, who studies rap, and Robert Walser, who writes on heavy metal. The assumption behind Walser's approach to the study of popular music is the idea that music is "a material, social practice, wherein subject positions are constructed and negotiated, social relations are enacted and transgressed, and ideologies are developed and interrogated" (Walser 1993, 33). To Walser, one of the sites in which this negotiation occurs is that of genre. Genre has proven a rich field of study in popular music scholarship for four basic reasons. First, comparing one genre to another shows the different ways in which musicians deal with the same musical parameters. Contrasting the same musical parameters in different genres lays bare the unspoken assumptions that listeners and critics apply to a genre, assumptions which hide behind the rhetoric or naturalized discourse of each genre. For example, in his Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste (1984), Pierre Bourdieu discusses the prestige associated with the art music canon, concluding that culture (in the form of musical works) is used to distinguish different social classes and to disguise the nature of these distinctions by locating them in the "universals" of aesthetics or taste (Bourdieu, 5). The difficulty or complexity of "high" art is used first to establish as fact its aesthetic superiority to "low" art, and then to "naturalize" the superiority of both the taste and quality of the educated bourgeoisie (Bourdieu, 68). To further this end, the bourgeoisie has developed a critical industry to highlight the complexity of "high" art (Bourdieu, 25) in order to draw "masked but satisfactory distinctions" between those who can appreciate it and those who cannot (Fiske 1989, 121). Comparisons between genres unmask such naturalized discourse. For instance, while in the genre of nineteenth-century opera vocal qualities are only considered beautiful if sung with a pure tone and vibrato, jazz idioms, such as the swing genre, counter this, since raspy, straight- tone vocals, such as those of Louis Armstrong or Billie Holiday, are considered equally pleasing. Secondly, once the aesthetic assumptions associated with a given genre are laid bare, it is again possible to evaluate a text in terms of its relationship to the expectations and social meanings of its own genre.4 Comparisons help us to see a text in its own cultural and social context—not against any broad artificial concept of high or low art. This is especially liberating 3 when it comes to analyzing popular music; for, along with folk and world music, popular music suffers from being measured against the aesthetic criteria of art music. Using genre as a methodological approach is fruitful since "discourse communities," or users of a given genre, frequently make judgements (based on genre expectations) about how one text in a genre is preferable to another (Paltridge, 2). In this way, "genre criticism ensures that a text cannot be condemned for being something that it is not" (Madsen, 8). Rather, a text is criticized in terms of its own aesthetic paradigm, that is, the musical parameters that its own "discourse community" deems to be significant to the genre. Thirdly, genre is a site of "pleasure" for the listener.5 The genre of a given text is constituted by conventions of practice and interpretation. As cultural theorist John Fiske explains in Television Culture (1987), conventions are the structural elements of genre that are shared between a producer and an audience. As such, conventions both embody the crucial ideological concerns of the time in which they are current and remain central to the pleasures a genre offers its audience (Fiske 1987, 110). Literary critic Tzvetan Todorov sets up the paradigm for how genres evoke pleasure for a listener: Because genres exist as an institution, "they function as 'horizons of expectations' for readers and as 'models of writing' for authors" (Todorov, 18).6 Since a listener comes to a genre with a set of expectations, when these are met the listener experiences the joy of repetition (that is, fulfilled expectations).7 When the listener comes to a text and his or her expectations are not met, he or she can either be disappointed or delighted by the discovery of an innovative departure a producer has made within a genre. Both met expectations and the experiences of innovation have the potential to thrill a listener. Indeed, when innovation by a producer is welcomed by an audience, the meeting facilitates change within a generic convention. 4 Finally, the study of genre is an avenue to understanding the social meanings of music. Once the assumptions naturalized by the discourse of a genre are laid bare, the social meanings that listeners apply to different genres begin to emerge. In his ground-breaking book, Running with the Devil: Power, Gender, and Madness in Heavy Metal Music (1993), Robert Walser outlines how social meanings are construed by listeners. He argues that mass-produced musical texts constitute cultural discourses.8 As he claims, musical genres (such as country pop, cool jazz, folk revival, and funk) function as discourses in that they provoke meanings in listeners (Walser 1993, 28). Because social meanings are associated with a given genre, when a listener hears a song that evokes a genre, he or she will apply the generic meanings onto the song itself. In this way, social meanings are not inherent in a song, but rather may be said to result in part from the genre negotiations between a musician and listener. Todorov points out that it is from human discourse that concepts of genre are formed, transformed, and defended. In his words, "genres are nothing other than the codification of discursive properties" (Todorov, 18). Saying that meanings are provoked by the use of genre in a text is not another way of saying that meanings are inherent in a text; because a text is not stable, but contextual.9 Rather than being inherent, meanings are instead formed by listeners through their interaction with genres as employed in specific songs. For a listener, then, interpreting a musical song requires contextuality, that is, linking "the unique relations of a particular linguistic [or musical] use to a particular contextual moment" (Fiske 1989, 108). This "contextual moment" consists of both a genre and the time in which it is stable. While specific listeners may perceive the meanings of individual texts differently, it is society as a whole that participates in the formation of the meanings associated with genre. Because society collectively forms generic meanings, these meanings tend to be stable for longer 5 periods of time than the ideas expressed in isolated songs. 1 0 As such, genres can be conceived of as currently stable locations or "sites where stable discourses temporarily organize the exchange of meanings" (Walser 1993, 33). Since generic meanings eventually do change, however, specific meanings applied to a genre are only valid in the given historical moment in which the genre is stable, that is, when a "discourse community" agrees upon its meanings. While genres inevitably change with time, then, the fact that terms for them exist "in everyday language" (Miller 1994, 27) shows that they have a "stabilized-for-now" place in society (Schryer, 107). During their period of stability, musical genres consistently treat certain musical parameters. Because "a society chooses and codifies the acts that correspond most closely to its ideology," the parameters accrue social significance (Todorov, 19). Thus the details of a genre and its very presence or absence among various social groups can reveal a lot about the ideologies of society. It is from the ideologies lurking behind the musical choices of society that social meaning can be interpreted. Discussions about social meanings are possible because genres are made up of codes, which are formal characteristics or rules learned by listeners and musicians through experience. 1 1 Walser proposes that since these "codes constitute the musical discourses that underpin genres . . . musical details can be evaluated" and the meaning of a text can be "read" or understood by the listener (Walser 1993, 26). 1 2 As such, musical details and structures can be discussed as having discursive meanings (Kramer, 1). 1 3 It follows then that the interpretation of meaning for a listener is best understood as a two-part process. Delineating musical parameters is necessary to distinguish genres, while the analysis of genre conventions helps a listener to "place the significance of musical details" heard in a text. The challenge in reading a text is to work "between the levels of specific details and 6 generic categories towards social meanings" (Walser 1993, 28). Thus, in order to draw conclusions about social meanings, one must weigh the distinctive components of a text against the meanings affiliated with its genre. Because the social meanings affiliated with a genre must be changed collectively by society, they change slowly. Therefore one comes to a genre with both past and present semantic associations. Thus, instead of a single meaning, clusters of meanings tend to be mapped onto genres. Although this mapping might suggest that the range of possible interpretations of a text may be theoretically infinite, certain types of meanings or "related variant meanings" (Walser 1993, 33) tend to be consistently supported or preferred by specific "discourse communities" negotiating a genre (Fiske 1987, 114). In practice, then, the genre of a given text both promotes a specific cluster of meanings and establishes interpretive boundaries in a text (Fiske 1987, 85). Fiske is correct in pointing out that, while social meanings are not inherent in a text, "what a text utters determines, limits, and influences the links that can be made between it and its readers" (Fiske 1989, 146). Despite the interpretive boundaries of genre, at the level of the individual text, many meanings remain possible. Indeed, Fiske points out that "a popular text, to be popular, must have points of relevance to a variety of readers in a variety of social contexts, and so must be polysemic in itself (Fiske 1989, 141). As such, several different interpretations of a given musical text are possible. On the one hand, literary critic Frederic Jameson points out that the "master code" or overriding discourse of any narrative works to perpetuate an ideology (Jameson 1981, 22). On the other hand, a reader from a different socio-historical background reading the same text will often come up with different interpretations of that text, based on his or her own ideological apparatus. Indeed, any one reading of a text must be considered conditional, for it is determined by the social conditions of its reading (Fiske 1989, 141). Although the subjective reading of one "discourse community" may differ from that of another, this does not mean that either reading is invalidated. Because all interpretive narratives are inherently biased, there is no reason that antithetical readings cannot exist side by side. In practice, however, genres are blurred, and therefore interpretations of a text are more complicated. In specific texts, genres rarely, if ever, exist in pure forms. Rather, different genres tend to be combined within a given text, particularly when innovation is sought. In music, artists often attempt to change or expand the criteria of a given genre by obscuring the boundaries between different genres. Indeed, generic change is accomplished by adding new elements, excluding certain old ones, or creating new fusions. Texts within a genre thus "rarely correspond slavishly" to generic criteria (Jameson 1982, 322). The fact that it is virtually impossible to find an example of a pure genre is not a weakness of genre studies. On the contrary, the strength of genre theory lies in its capacity to be applied to texts in which the boundaries between genres are fluid. Several different genres can be applied to a text to see which one makes the greatest sense of its parameters. Often a primary genre exists, but the text contains attributes of one or more other genres. Just because certain parameters are transgressed or various genres are mixed, however, does not mean that it is no longer helpful to discuss or conceive of specific texts within the construct of a single genre. Jameson argues that, with the intersecting of genres in actual practice, "we need the specification of individual genres today more than ever . . . to map" the social meanings provoked by a specific text (Jameson 1982, 322). This does not mean, for example, that a hybrid text cannot be analyzed from the different perspectives associated with the two or more genres present in the text; rather, through the lens of a single genre prototype, 8 conclusions about the effect one genre has upon the social meanings associated with another one will become all the more clear. Accordingly, the goal of this study is not to find examples of songs that fit most exactly within a genre prototype. On the contrary, it is more interesting to investigate texts which deviate from a genre prototype. Assuming that adherence to genre expectations implies a tacit agreement with the social meanings associated with a genre, the range of meanings opens up when an artist departs from a genre prototype. Genre and the Songs of Jane Siberry This dissertation examines how individual songs by Jane Siberry relate to different genres in the realm of popular music.14 By "genre," I mean specific types of music that can be thought of as a subset of a larger domain. 1 5 For example, the domain of R&B contains such genres as rhythm and blues, soul, funk, etc.16 My use of the term "genre," then, is not in the broad sense of a "ballad, dance song, single, album" as employed by popular music scholar Richard Middleton (Middleton 1990, 174). What I describe as a "genre," Middleton refers to as a "sub-code." "Sub- codes" in the idiom of rock for example, would include "rock 'n' roll, beat, progressive," and synth-rock (ibid). The term "subcode," however, is not commonly used in either the literature or "in everyday language" (Miller 1994, 27). Instead of "styles" and "subcodes," therefore, I will be making distinctions between larger domains or idioms and genres (Middleton 1990, 174). My use of the term "genre" then reflects the everyday usage of the word from The Concise Oxford Dictionary as "a kind or style of music. The domain of heavy metal, for example, consists of such contrasting genres as "thrash metal, commercial metal, lite metal, power metal, American metal, black (satanic) metal, white (Christian) metal, death metal, speed 9 metal, glam metal" (Walser 1993, 13). Each genre is distinguished by a "coherent body of musical signs and conventions," such as form, tonality, and instrumentation; but each also shares the same code (Walser 1993, xiv). Heavy metal, for example, is united as a discourse via codes of meaning concerning "power" (Walser 1993, 2). 1 7 The discourse of metal has historically appealed primarily to teenage boys and empowers them in their struggles to negotiate issues of masculinity, specifically via notions of gender, madness, and control (Walser 1993, xvi). In addition to consistent functions and conventions, genres also share the same social contexts. In the 1980s, "lite or "poser" metal, for example, was performed in huge arenas and received radio airplay; while "underground metal" such as "speed" or "thrash" could only be heard in clubs (Walser 1993, 14). As illustrated in the example of heavy metal, popular music styles change more quickly than those of art music. As such, the paradigm of domain or idiom and genre is a pragmatic way of categorizing the diversity of types that are found under the umbrella term "popular music." Indeed, this same generic labeling practice has arisen out of sheer necessity in popular music charts, such as Billboard, as well as on the internet or in music stores. When discussing types, the distinction between a general domain and a specific genre can be a site for contestation. Walser argues that a domain becomes a genre when its function in language and culture changes from that of an adjective to that of a noun. For example, while in the 1960s the rock press talked about the "heavy metal sound" or playing hard rock in a "heavy metal style," by the 1970s musicians simply played "heavy metal" (Walser 1993, 7). The issue of whether a type of music is a domain or a genre is somewhat slippery. Admittedly, there are no iron-tight categories. Indeed, numerous terms could be used to describe the very concept of a set and its sub-sets. In the end, semantic arguments over whether something is called "domain" or 10 "genre" are much less important than the concept of a set and its sub-set. Neither are issues of terminology germane to my argument; because in either case the discussed prototypes have distinct characteristics. Furthermore, it will become evident that the necessity of discussing idioms and domains in the chapters on jazz and country in no way detracts from their larger resonances with the subsidiary cool jazz and country-pop genres, respectively, as they both pertain to a discussion of social meanings. Jane Siberry (b. 1955) is a Toronto-based singer-songwriter whose innovative songs present an original voice in popular music. Siberry's oeuvre spans the 1980s and the 1990s, which is no small feat in a business of one-hit wonders and flavour-of-the-month promotional tactics. The fact that Siberry continues working to this day is a significant achievement in light of her avoidance of formulaic song writing and her embrace of contrasting genres. Because of the generic variety in her music, particularly in her albums from the 1990s, Siberry's songs resist any overall stylistic pigeonholing and are therefore difficult to categorize and subsequently market. In fact, Siberry's personal musical style or "idiolect," which engages such idioms as folk, jazz, Latin, R&B, and country, has been labeled by the rock press as everything from rock to pop and new wave to new age (Middleton 1990, 174). 1 8 It is my contention, however, that while Siberry works within contrasting genres, the ways in which she employs each genre reveal similar patterns. Specifically, Siberry problematizes various musical parameters (such as form, metre, or instrumentation) to add a level of complexity not normally associated with a given genre. 1 9 In this dissertation I will analyze the consonances of Siberry's songs within established musical genres to investigate the similarities in her approach across genres. The dissonances Siberry's songs create with conventional generic expectations will be viewed as Siberry's 11 commentary on genre.20 In this way, the social meanings conventionally associated with contrasting genres are altered with departures from genre expectations. The analytical methodology used here consists of three parts. First, an analysis of a genre prototype will reveal the parameters that are most distinctive in a given genre as well as the social meanings commonly associated with that genre. Next, I will analyze both the lyrics and the music of selected songs by Jane Siberry representing different musical genres. Transcriptions of her recordings will be discussed in terms of both their consonances and dissonances with the conventions of each genre. These analyses will reveal how Siberry departs from a genre prototype by creating additional levels of complexity, which disrupt generic expectations. Finally, I will draw conclusions as to how Siberry's departure from certain generic conventions in her compositions shapes the social meanings associated with the genre. The State of Popular Music Studies This project investigates both the musical choices made by Siberry and the semantic ramifications of these choices. An emphasis on the music as well as the lyrics of Siberry's songs stands in contrast to the focus of most popular music studies. Much of the literature does not deal with musical elements such as melody, rhythm, texture, and timbre.21 As recently as ten years ago popular music scholarship was dominated by sociological approaches that reduced the social significance of a song to the literal meaning of its lyrics. This content analysis took into account neither the meanings evoked by the music itself (via genres), nor the fact that meanings are polysemic, fluid, and varied. There are several sociological approaches (for example, subcultural theory and Marxist analyses of music production) that have aided in revealing the cultural contexts in which popular music is made.22 It seems self-evident, however, that any 12 conclusions drawn about the significance of popular music that do not incorporate an analysis of the musical sounds themselves could be limited.23 The lack of musical analysis found in sociological approaches to popular music has been due in part to the fact that most sociologists are not trained in musical analysis (Frith 1983, 13). This remains the case today. For example, neo-Marxist sociologists such as Simon Frith (1988), Peter Wicke (1990), and Keith Negus (1996) discuss different styles of music within their socio- economic contexts in an illuminating manner, but rarely analyze the music of individual texts. Perhaps this neglect is in keeping with the Marxist tendency to "remove agency from the activities of songwriters and fans and place it exclusively in the hands of record industry executives" (Bowman, 52). The same disregard for the compositional elements of popular music can be found in textual analyses of the lyrics in articles by Simon Reynolds (1990), Holly Kruse (1990) and John Moore (2000), as well as ethnographic writings by subculturists such as Dick Hebdige (1990), David Muggleton (1997), Kai Fikentscher (1993), and Steve Redhead (1990), who discuss underground musical cultures. A similar neglect in discussing musical elements is also found in critical theory approaches. The stimulating writings of John Shepherd and Peter Wicke (1997), for example, apply to popular music the theories of Freud, Lacan, Kristeva, and others. While this work is extremely engaging from a critical perspective, Shepherd and Wicke do not cite examples of specific songs. As such, the practical applications of their theories to popular music texts are not always clear. Elsewhere, feminist critics such as Joy Press (1997), Mary Celeste Kearney (1997), Lucy O'Brien (1995), and Angela McRobbie (1990) discuss underrepresented topics concerning women in rock but similarly avoid musical analysis. Musicologists such as Charles Hamm (1979 and 1983) and Wilfrid Mellers (1973) do cite 13 specific songs. Indeed, they have a very objective, statistical way of defining which songs and genres are popular. Frequently, the most popular songs, however, are not the most important historically. When it comes to cross-over hits, for example, the most popular songs are often those farthest removed from their generic prototypes. For example, Pat Boone's cover of Little Richard's "Tutti Frutti" decidedly sanitized the original song's social meanings (Clarke, 378). Furthermore, Mellers and Hamm do not analyze musical performances. Their comments are based upon published sheet music, which ignores the role of oral tradition and live performance in popular music. Indeed, sheet music often bears little resemblance to the recorded version of a song. In this way, musical practice is marginalized. Although his book was intended as only a survey, it is significant that Hamm does not discuss the jazz and swing contexts of Tin Pan Alley song in the 1920s and 1930s as well as the relationship between the publishing industry and oral cultures. Similarly, his focus on structure and harmony make his analyses of rock 'n' roll incomplete (Middleton 1990, 111). In contrast, ethnomusicologists such as Charles Keil and Steven Feld (1991) have created helpful analytic concepts, such as "groove." While the application of that concept is specifically limited to African-American styles, "groove" does provide a potentially useful avenue for analysis. Because these scholars are concerned with music as a social practice, however, they themselves do not actually apply analytical paradigms to specific songs. For instance, Keil (1968) integrates ethnographic analytic strategies (such as interviews with the producer or audience) with textual analyses, but does not analyze any music. More recently, music theorists have sought to rectify the neglect of compositional qualities by analyzing the musical aspects of popular songs. For example, Alec Wilder (1972) and Allan Forte (1995) discuss Tin Pan Alley music; Gunther Schuller (1987) analyzes jazz; and John Covach (1997b) investigates progressive rock. These theorists, however, have carefully chosen to analyze popular musical genres that emphasize the musical parameters (for example, harmony) that are fundamental to art music aesthetics. This application of art music theory to popular music succeeds up to a point (to the extent that certain popular music shares specific parameters with art music), but has little application to other genres of popular music, such as dance styles, which emphasize rhythm. Furthermore, these theorists tend to give very little social context to their analyses, as if they assume that popular music is as autonomous as art music. Their decontextualized discussions thus seem as one-sided as those by scholars who discuss social context exclusively.24 A more encompassing analytical model can be found in the writings and analyses of proponents of the "new musicology." Susan McClary (1991), for example, discusses both musical language and social context. McClary's writings, however, never systematically work through an entire musical genre or oeuvre of a performer. Instead, she chooses isolated popular pieces (mostly single songs by various performers) as a means to further her feminist arguments.25 Sheila Whiteley (2000) similarly analyzes disparate pieces from various genres to illustrate her feminist contentions. To approach popular music in terms of genre is an especially fruitful avenue of investigation because it brings together various analytical models. It can incorporate not only sociological approaches (such as ethnographic interview, Marxist structural paradigms, and analyses of lyrics that deal with race, gender, memory, and relationships), but also engage the music itself. Scholars such as Walser (1993) and Adam Krims (2000) successfully approach popular music via genre: heavy metal and rap, respectively. They both analyze the musical elements of a popular song within its genre as a socially signifying discourse.26 Their work is 15 therefore unique in their approach to genre. This is particularly evident in contrast to other publications on such specific popular music genres, such as Rockwell's brief history of art rock (1992) and Rose's subcultural investigation of rap (1994), which neither analyze musical parameters nor discuss generic social meanings. The interpretation of both music and lyrics within the context of genre is a project that has only just begun in popular music. Although popular music studies have opened up remarkably in the last several years, it is clear that to find a practical approach to analyzing contrasting styles of popular music, much scholarship remains to be done. Toward this end this dissertation will analyze selected songs by Jane Siberry, representing a range of genres. Considering what an active and enduring performer Siberry is (her first album was released in 1981 and she remains working to this day), there has been relatively little written about her music. As can been seen in the Bibliography, the literature consists mostly of short (in some instances, only one-page) interviews (Druckman, 1990) and reviews of albums (Stern, 1993) or concerts (Straessle, 1985), none of which analyzes the music of Siberry's songs. There are also short overviews of her oeuvre by Adria (1990), Gaar (1992), Lucy O'Brien (1995), and Barclay et al (2001), as well as a more extensive interview with Siberry by Karen O'Brien (1995)—although this interview is more about feminism than about music. What follows therefore is the first extensive investigation of Siberry's music, one that combines musical analysis, ethnographic interview (Siberry 2001), genre studies, and cultural criticism. Siberry as a Rock Auteur As mentioned earlier, it is my contention that throughout Siberry's oeuvre there are consistencies in the choices she makes in her negotiation of different genres. In particular, 16 Siberry tends to problematize certain musical parameters to create a level of complexity not expected from generic conventions. Moreover, the lyrics of songs in different genres return repeatedly to certain topics including art, nature, relationships, miscommunication, isolation, hope, and time. Throughout this dissertation it will be argued that in terms of both lyrics and music, Siberry's approach to genre is that of a rock auteur. Auteur theory originated in 1950s Parisian film criticism, which in turn borrowed ideas from literary criticism. This theory viewed the art cinema "director as the creative source of meaning" and approached "the director's output as an oeuvre, a repetition and enrichment of characteristic themes and stylistic choices" (Bordwell, 44). Auteur theory began as a mere politique des auteurs, a policy of favouring particular film directors by essayists in magazines of intellectual film reviews. The most influential of these journals, Cahiers du cinema, commenced publication in 1951. By 1954 Andre Bazin, a former graduate student in English literature, assumed the editorship of the magazine and made the director-as-author the central project of the reviews therein. Before becoming the editor, Bazin had been an influential film critic, calling for "a cinema of authorship" as early as 1943 (Bordwell, 45). The film reviews in Cahiers were principally exegetical, showing "how a director's characteristic stylistic and dramatic patterns reflect underlying themes" in the film narrative (Bordwell, 47). The auteur director was one whose plots were complex, abstract, or non-linear; who used special avant garde film techniques and camera angles; and whose meanings were hidden and difficult to grasp. While Cahiers was not the only Parisian magazine containing intellectual film reviews, it was certainly the most influential journal in film until the 1970s, firmly establishing auteur theory in film criticism in Paris, Oxford, and New York City (Bordwell, 47). Rock critics began to draw on basic tenets of auteur theory in the 1970s to further an 17 argument against mass cultural theorists F. R. Leavis and Theodor Adorno, who claimed that popular music was "escapist" for listeners and a mere "culture of profit" for producers.27 The auteur critics argued that rock did not provide an "escape" for listeners of mass cultural products, like pop music, but rather an "enrichment" via unique products, similar to art music. With such a view it became a given that in order for rock to be art, rather than entertainment, a song—or preferably an album-had to be "illuminating." The listener had to "work" to understand the author's intent, rather than consume passively (Frith 1983, 53). Rolling Stone rock critic Jon Landau defined the work of the listener as "searching," commenting that as a critic his "concern has always been with the search for the author in rock music, the search for the source behind the music, the search for continuity in all of the musician/artist's work" (Landau, 14). In other words, auteur rock musicians create "complex symbolic structures that relate directly to the musician's own experiences and are a genuine challenge to the listeners" (Frith 1983, 52). As in film, however, critics arguing for rock as an art form masterminded by an auteur had to circumvent the fact that rock is produced by many people (for example, songwriters, musicians, producers, engineers, record executives, and a promotional staff) rather than by an individual creator. To combat this practical obstacle, Landau borrowed the theoretical loophole used in film criticism. Like the art film, he claimed, artistic rock was the product of a single auteur, because "the criterion for art in rock is the capacity of the musician to create a personal, almost private, universe and to express it fully" (Landau, 15). Toward this end, it did not matter whether the rock auteur was either a singer, writer, instrumentalist, producer, or engineer. What was important was that the auteur had an artistic vision to whom all the other contributors were subject. Like the director in film, the rock auteu/s music represented a unique voice, whose 18 individuality was usually marked by treating musical and poetic parameters in more complex ways than those heard in pop music. The necessity of complexity in the music and lyrics of rock auteurs had a precedent in the protest lyrics of the folk revival. Once listeners had experience working through the complexity of folk-revival lyrics they were ready for the musical complexity of folk rock and progressive rock.28 The transference of discourse from folk revival to folk rock and progressive rock made it easier for the auteur rock advocates to solidify their positions as rock journalists. The logic was that in order to appreciate, for example, the poetry of Bob Dylan, . . . insight was needed by the listener as well, a notion that suitably flattered the new intelligent rock markets. Excellence was increasingly measured in terms of musical, lyrical, and emotional complexity, in terms of artistic qualities that differentiated rock from the banalities of teenage pop (Frith 1983, 30). Compared to folk rock, pop music came to be denigrated by the rock press as drivel for the teenage mass-market. Tellingly, it was only after experiencing the sophisticated songs of the folk revival that rock criticism developed aesthetic criteria that explicitly contrasted the ideology of the rock auteur and its audience of urban sophisticates with that of mass music-making for teenagers (Frith 1983, 31). Musicians who became canonized as rock auteurs, then, were not only such folk revivalists as Joan Baez and Bob Dylan, who exhibited poetic virtuosity, but also folk rock musicians like Simon and Garfunkel and the Mamas and the Papas, who expanded the musical vocabulary of rock. The band most instrumental in solidifying the rock-authorship concept was the Beatles. Their Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967) paved the way for increasing levels of compositional complexity that would later inspire the aesthetics of progressive rock. As singer-songwriters, the Beatles almost singlehandedly facilitated the incorporation of auteur theory into rock criticism. Whereas in early rock 'n' roll, singers such as Elvis Presley were rarely the authors of their songs, the Beatles not only played instruments, they also wrote all of their later songs. As such, it became natural to conceive of the singer-songwriter as the auteur of the music, and the songs as his or her own personal expression. By the 1970s it had become routine to equate art with personal confession. Self-consciousness became the measure of a record's artistic status; frankness, musical wit, the use of irony and paradox were musicians' artistic insignia—it was such self-commentary that revealed the auteur within the machine. The skilled listener was the one who could recognize the artist despite the commercial trappings; this became the professional job of record reviewers (Frith 1983, 53). Despite much artistic experimentation in 1970s art rock, it eventually became clear that most rock had not been that illuminating, indeed, most mainstream rock had actually been pop, commodities produced for the mass market via a star system. Because many musicians who had been conceived of as rock auteurs had not been committed to creating unique products, they were soon absorbed into the music business machinery along with other pop stars (Frith 1983, 53). In the end, "rock's claims as art are based not on the cultural form itself but on the achievements of a handful of disparate individuals-artists despite their means of cultural production" (Frith 1983, 54). As a result, many rock musicians who became millionaires were often viewed as "selling out" by their hometown or initial audiences. It was difficult to believe that rock musicians could be auteurs when they were marketed in the same manner as pop stars. Indeed, their commercial success defined them as "popular" musicians.29 As rock reverted back to being conceived of as a form of pop culture in the 1980s, the discourse of the rock auteur waned. By the 1990s it ceased to be used in the rock press altogether, except in isolated instances. Andrew Goodwin, for example, defined rock as an "authentic" creation of a defined "author" who possessed "the ability to actually play" an instrument, in opposition to pop as a product manufactured by a conglomerate that acts as the 20 master behind the "puppet" frontmen (Goodwin 1990, 267 - 268). Only non-mainstream artists with a cult following, such as Kate Bush, could continue to be thought of as rock auteurs. Indeed as late as 1988, Bush was discussed as an artist who had "expanded the notion of auteur" (Kruse 1990, 456). The idea of a rock auteur also lingers in some general perceptions. Performers, for example, are habitually referred to as "recording artists," rather than entertainers, unrelated to the level of complexity in their product or their level of musicality. Furthermore, "those now being inducted yearly into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, are both authors and performers of a defined repertoire and style" (Headlam, 321). Indeed, now and again the concept of authorship is resurrected (see Headlam 1995) because there remains a stream of rock authors to whom "authenticity" is more important than making money and "selling out." Indeed in rock criticism, "authenticity" in an auteur is in part defined by his or her lack of commercial success. Siberry is one such auteur. Her lack of mass popularity allows her, like Kate Bush, to retain her status as an auteur in rock discourse. In Siberry's case, the term is more applicable than for many other rock performers because she not only writes and plays her own songs, but also produces her own albums. In addition, auteur theory informs Siberry's self-conception, then and now.30 Both her music and lyrics are complex. While a discussion of artistic processes riddles the lyrics of her early songs in particular, an auteur paradigm is also evident in the music of Siberry's songs. Although she is capable of creating consonances with conventional generic parameters (as will be seen in Chapter 6, in her negotiation of the funk genre), Siberry makes a point of problematizing certain musical parameters to create a level of complexity not usually expected of most popular genres. As such, Siberry has aligned herself with a stream of post-Beatles singer- 21 songwriters that value in their songs both innovation and a level of complexity that is antithetical to the accessibility of a three-chord pop style.31 Siberry sheds light on her creative process in the final verse of "seven steps to the wall" from The Speckless Sky (see Appendix 1, Lyric 1). In the lyrics of this song she explains: "all my life/where there's white/I have words/so I write/what I hear . . . it is thin/but it's clear." Although the imagery here is obviously an allusion to the writing of lyrics on a blank sheet of paper, the idea of "writing what she hears" has a larger resonance with the approach to genre heard in her music. In this regard, the phrase "I write/what I hear" (from which the title of this dissertation is taken) works on two levels. Not only does Siberry utilize the generic conventions that she hears literally in the air at concerts and on the air in radio, she is also true to a personal vision of creative music-making, as she functions as a singer-songwriter. As such, Siberry writes the sounds that she "hears in her head" regardless of conventional generic expectations. Thus, as a rock auteur, while Siberry utilizes generic conventions, she is not limited to or by them. Instead, she subverts listener expectation as she pleases, according to her personal artistic vision; and this is part of what makes her music interesting and complex. Siberry's biography as well as her auteur approach to songwriting will be discussed in Chapter 1. To demonstrate elements of continuity and change in Siberry's approach to genre, I will analyze in the subsequent chapters five songs by Siberry that engage contrasting genres. The first song analyzed in Chapter 2 is "la jalouse" from Bound by the Beauty (1989). While this song is taken from the middle of her oeuvre chronologically, it represents her negotiation of the folk-revival style, which is the genre engaged on her debut album, Jane Siberry (1980). Thus it represents both Siberry's roots as a musician and a genre to which she often returns (particularly on Teenager and Hush). 22 In Chapter 3, "goodbye" from The Walking (1987) will be analyzed. This rock/pop song evokes the electro-pop genre, one far removed from her folk-revival roots in terms of form and density. This is the same style employed in her first Canadian college-radio hit "Mimi on the Beach," but here it is done with a more serious tone and in a more complex manner. Despite the incongruous relationship between the electro-pop and folk-revival styles, in this track Siberry retains key folk-revival parameters, in direct opposition to the aesthetic criteria of the rock/pop genre. The third song to be analyzed is "everything reminds me of my dog" from Bound by the Beauty (1989), which is Siberry's first album to juxtapose contrasting genres within a single recording. Bound by the Beauty negotiates such diverse domains as Latin and folk, to which "everything reminds me of my dog" adds the genre of country-pop. Although country-pop is not as far removed from the folk-revival genre as electro-pop, the tongue-in-cheek tone in this song subverts conventional genre expectations as pastiche, an approach not found in "la jalouse." In Chapter 5, "Maria", which engages the jazz idiom, will be analyzed. Siberry's auteur treatment of cool-jazz parameters departs even more radically from convention than her treatment of folk revival, as if Siberry were subverting fundamental practices of the jazz idiom itself. In contrast, in Chapter 6 "Flirtin' is a Flo-thing," which negotiates the genre of funk, conforms more to genre expectations than any of the previous selections. Siberry's adherence to conventions here may reflect the fact that funk's generic expectations are based upon African- diaspora aesthetics, a cultural paradigm far removed from folk revival. It seems more likely, however, that Siberry conforms to funk conventions as pastiche precisely to highlight her target of certain funk lyrics with her use of tone. Again, conclusions will be drawn about the relationship of the cool-jazz and funk genres to the folk-revival genre. Finally in Chapter 7,1 will draw conclusions concerning the consistent musical choices used by Siberry in her negotiation of genre throughout her repertoire as well as discuss the implications of Siberry's divergence from certain genre expectations. Notes for the Introduction 24 1 . The assumption that the European classical or art music canon (from about 1600 - 1900) consists of "transcendent" works—that is, pieces by men such as Corelli, Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, and Schoenberg, whose genius is so profound that their music is timeless and universal and transcends the bodily concerns of this world—has been attacked by "new musicologists" such as Susan McClary and Robert Walser (Walser 1993, 59). McClary traces the history of musical autonomy back to Pythagoras, pointing out that the music of Bach in particular is seen to have "nothing to do with his time or place . . . that his music works in accordance with perfect, universal order and truth" (McClary 1987, 14 - 15). According to Walser, however, that the art music canon is nothing more than a construct is made clear by the fact that, despite the vast differences among the works in the canon, they are all seen as interchangeably prestigious. As Walser points out, "aristocratic and bourgeois music; academic, sacred, and secular; music for public concerts, private soirees, and dancing—has one thing in common: its function as the most prestigious culture of the twentieth century" (Walser 1993, 60). Walser notes, along with Christopher Small (1987), that the present-day meaning of prestige, thrust upon works that have been taken out of their original contexts and placed within this construct, "has almost completely effaced original social and political meanings" (Walser 1993, 60). 2 . In this document I will be differentiating between the terms "pop" and "popular" (although etymologically speaking, the former is merely a diminutive of the latter). I will use the term "popular" to evoke the entire gamut of popular musics (including rock/pop, jazz, R&B, country, folk, punk, rap) regardless of each idiom's actual popularity on a mass level. I will use the term "pop" in reference to the domain of (dance) music that is associated in the rock press with naive lyrics about boy-girl love, as well as crass commercialism, mass consumption, teenage fun, and suave studio techniques (Frith 1983, 31). 3 . Siberry's "negotiation" of a genre refers to how she employs a genre. Negotiation connotes everything that is involved in the process of engaging a genre, from approaching its pre-existing conventions before writing a song to adopting them wholesale within a completed song. It also includes the possibility of evoking a genre in a song only partially by alluding to some generic signifiers, but alter other generic conventions in ways that may challenging a listener's expectations. 4 . In literary criticism, the modernist concept of a formally organized "work" has been replaced with the postmodernist concept of a formally organized system of signs called a "text." The text differs from the autonomous work in that it is a semiotic system that exists within a socio- historical context. In any given socio-historical setting, different readers come to a text with different values and perceptions. Disparate readers therefore "read" contrasting meanings from the text. A text and its context therefore interact in a dynamic, dialectical way (Kent, 153). 5 . Simon Frith frequently talks about "pleasure" in rock music, but Richard Middleton investigates the use of this term most thoroughly. Middleton discusses Roland Barthes' use of 25 plaisir as repetition and jouissance as disruption, only to conclude that "it seems likely that plaisir and jouissance are actually dialectically intermingled processes;.. . they are continually active, in listening as in life, forever teasing and slipping" (Middleton 1990, 291). 6 . Although he gives no citation, Todorov is here borrowing Hans Robert Jauss's concept, which is in turn borrowed from Edmond Husserl (Jauss, 141). 7 . "Joy of repetition" is a variation of a phrase borrowed from the Prince song "Joy in Repetition." 8 . Walser includes art music in his definition of "mass cultural texts." He makes the point that '"classical music' is and always has been commercial" (Walser 1993, 141). By this statement he means that both popular and art music are mediated by the same mass-market processes. For instance, "heavy metal and classical music exist in the same social context: they are subject to similar structures of marketing and mediation, and they 'belong to' and serve the needs of competing social groups whose power is linked to the prestige of their culture" (Walser 1993, 102). Indeed, in art music "orchestra advertising, music appreciation books, and record promoters campaign to erase historical specificity in order to stimulate consumption" (Walser 1993,4). 9 . A text, then, does not contain inherent meanings, but rather merely evokes certain meanings that are ultimately accepted or rejected by the reader, who comes to the text with a priori assumptions. This definition of a text stands in contrast to the structuralist idea of the work, whose meanings are inherent in its stable structures. 10 . While generic meanings can only be formed by society through the acceptance (via purchasing) of individual songs (often via albums), the music industry contributes to generic stability by constantly reproducing clones of songs and artists that imitate what is currently popular (for example, boy bands). Macro-deviations from that which currently sells are avoided altogether, while micro-deviations are emphasized as fashionable novelty or individual artistry. Therefore, while what is popular changes frequently, in an attempt to control production, the music business hangs on tightly to specific images and genres by promoting only variations on that which it already owns. 11. An obvious example of a literary code used by both authors and readers is the "Once upon a time" structure from which we identify that what follows is a fairy tale. An example from art music of the common practice era is a perfect cadence, which can be thought of as a code signifying repose. 12 . The concept of the text has been applied beyond literary criticism to virtually all areas of culture. A musical piece therefore is just as much a text as a novel. Similarly, the person listening to a musical piece is just as much a "reader" as one who reads a novel. A competent reader notices, moreover, that apart from his or her own response to a text, there is an additional interaction between a given text and other texts. "One text is necessarily read in relationship to others and . . . a range of textual knowledges is brought to bear upon it" by the reader (Fiske 1987, 108). This interaction between a text and its historical precursors and contemporaries is called "paratextuality" (Genette, 1). Genette outlines five different types of interactions, 26 including intertextuality (quoting), paratext (secondary signals or promotional materials), metatextuality (commentary), architextuality (generic allotment) and hypertextuality (transformation). His attention to nuance creates extremely helpful categories (Genette, 1 - 7). 13 . Just as music analysis functions as one discourse representing another (Roman numerals for chords or numbers for pitches), so language can represent the meanings provoked by a musical text (Walser 1993, 30). 14 . A few examples discussing musical meanings negotiated in musical texts include: Leonard Meyer's Emotion and Meaning in Music; Peter Kivy's The Corded Shell: Reflections on Musical Expression; Susan McClary's Feminine Endings; Lawrence Kramer's Music as Cultural Practice, 1800 -1900; Robert Walser's Running With The Devil; Catherine Clement's Opera or the Undoing of Women; Christopher Small's Music of the Common Tongue; and John Miller Chernoff s African Rhythm and African Sensibility. For a summary of more general hermeneutical approaches to music, see Beardsley (1981). 15 . My definition of genre is what Franco Fabbri calls a "system," namely "a certain set of musical events being considered . . . in relation to its sub-sets." In contrast, he defines genres as musical events "considered in relation to other opposing sets" (Fabbri, 53). These are what I have called "domains" or "idioms." 16 . Another name that is sometimes use for the R&B idiom is "soul." More commonly, however, "soul" refers to a specific genre of R&B from the 1960s. The term "R&B" is an abbreviation of "Rhythm and Blues." When used to refer to the larger idiom, however, the diminutive is almost always employed. "Rhythm and Blues," on the other hand, denotes a specific genre of R&B from the late 1940s and 1950s. 17 . Walser argues further that art or classical music is unified by codes of "prestige" that are associated with contrasting genres (Walser 1993, 60). Similarly, jazz styles are unified by codes of individual improvisational prowess that are affiliated with such genres as Dixieland, swing, bebop, cool jazz, hard bop, free jazz, and fusion. 18 . With the use of such contrasting genres, one might wonder why Siberry's music continues to be—or ever was initially—discussed in the rock press, rather than magazines specifically addressing folk, pop/rock, R&B, or country. Indeed, Siberry's music has never exhibited the characteristics of the earliest genre of rock (that is, rhythm & blues), that are generally used by critics as criteria for rock aesthetics. Instead, it is my contention that, despite Siberry's lack of "blues orthodoxy," her songs are considered rock because they comply with a second criterion of the domain, namely, that rock is art which transcends commerce (Martin 1998, 22). Most rock criticism is based on the premise that rock—since the Beatles, at least—is a type of popular music that is artistically superior to pop music, which, in its emphasis on boy-girl romantic love, panders to the teeny-bopper market and is considered at once naive and crassly commercial. While it is self-evident that rock is less innocent than romantic pop music, there is a certain naive romanticism in rock criticism itself that maintains rock's non-commercial status as a criterion defining the genre (Stump, 206). Although with its millionaire supergroups (such as the Rolling Stones or Nirvana) it is clear that rock is just as commercial as pop, the dichotomy between art and commerce is maintained in a 27 mythology particular to rock; namely, that its biggest stars "transcend" commerce by virtue of their status as artists (Stump, 183). (While jazz criticism also defines itself against a pop other, it maintains the idea that commercial success waters down the purity of jazz as an artform. Thus early Louis Armstrong is preferred to later Armstrong's more popular efforts.) 19. By "complexity" in a song I mean that Siberry has added a level of variation, irregularity, or difficulty beyond the generic expectations, which challenges listeners in terms of oral comprehension and performers in terms of facility of execution. 2 0 . The terminology of "consonances" and "dissonances" with a genre was suggested to me by Dr. Alan Thrasher. 2 1 . See Middleton (1990) for a summary of the various approaches to popular music. 2 2 . Rock critic Simon Frith comments: Critical accounts of popular music still depend on the Adorno/Benjamin positions. Out of Adorno have come analyses of the economics of entertainment in which the ideological effects of commercial music making—the transformation of a creative people into a passive mass are taken for granted.... From Benjamin have come subcultural theories, descriptions of the struggle for the sign: youth subcultures are said to make their own meanings, to create cultures in their acts of consumption (Frith 1983, 57). 2 3 . Richard Middleton, for instance, cites examples of songs by rock legend Mick Jagger and country star Tammy Wynette (particularly, "Stand By Your Man") that are enjoyed by the very same people that disapprove of the less than progressive approach to female characters heard in their lyrics (Middleton 1990, 263). 2 4 . Indeed, the scholarship of these theorists has only exposed the fact that there is not yet a pragmatic analytical methodology in popular music studies. Now that music theorists are involved in popular music studies, the discipline essentially has become divided between two camps: those such as Covach (1997b), Burns (1997), Hamm (1979), Mellers (1973), Forte (1995) or Wilder (1972), who apply the analytical techniques of art music to popular song, and those such as Hennion (1990) or Tagg (2000), who seek other means of analysis, mostly sociological- although Tagg's approach is semiological, while Hennion's is ethnomusicological. Theorists in the latter group do not utilize conventional music theory because they believe that the analytical tools themselves prioritize the parameters emphasized in art music aesthetics over those considered significant in popular music. For example, in art music analysis, harmony, tonality, counterpoint, and form are prioritized over rhythm, timbre, and pitch nuance. The application of art music analysis to popular song thus impoverishes popular music (Middleton 1990, 104). Because the latter faction has eliminated the tools of the former, neither camp has come up with a feasible approach for analyzing the vast majority of popular music styles. 2 5 . John Covach also makes this point (Covach 1997a, 80). 2 6 . Krims does not make an argument for music as cultural "resistance" in the way that Fiske and Walser do. The concept of cultural "resistance" comes from subcultural theory (itself based 28 on the writings of Walter Benjamin). The "resistance" theory is that youth cultures make their own meaning, in effect creating culture in their acts of consumption (Frith 1983, 57). The possibility of purchasing cultural products with discrimination lies in direct opposition to the writings of another member of the Frankfurt school, Theodor Adomo. Adorno assumed that purchasers of mass music were passive consumers, taking pleasure in consumption for its own sake. Simon Frith points out that a distinction needs to be made between the different ways in which people use culture to "escape." Against Adorno's idea that consumers use mass cultural products exclusively for a momentary escape from with their isolation, is the possibility of transformation, to use culture in a way that empowers people and brings them together to create social change (Frith 1996, 20). 2 7 . There were earlier arguments against mass cultural theory in the 1960s. Rock critics such as Jon Landau and Greil Marcus postulated that rock 'n' roll music from the 1950s had expressed more than a culture of profit and its listeners engaged in active rather than passive consumption. Because there was no distance between the performers and listeners attending rock 'n' roll dances, they formed a "material community" that functioned as folk would. In this way, rock could be viewed as folk rather than pop music and, as such, be redeemed from the mass cultural criticisms associated with pop. When both rock 'n' roll and dance music went out of vogue for the youth culture in the early 1960s, however, it became apparent that a material folk community had never actually existed (Frith 1983, 49). A better argument for rock as folk music was also made in the 1960s. Again it was postulated that rock did not represent a mass cultural product because it was a folk form. In this scenario, however, rock was thought to express the needs and desires of an ideological, rather than material, community. The ideology espoused by rock culture was countercultural—first with the hippies of late 1960s and then in the late 1970s with the punks, Britain's angry, unemployed youth (Frith 1983, 51 - 52). In each instance local musicians expressed the views of their community in opposition to the status quo, which was symbolized musically by the commercialism of the pop music industry. After Woodstock (the moment epitomizing hippie countercultural ideology) and the Sex Pistols signing with a major label (A & M, which led to a tour in the United States), the musicians from their respective communities achieved both commercial success and fame. Instead of funneling their money back to their community, however, they left behind those for whom they had once spoken. As such, the musicians became out of touch with the communities they represented; and their music could no longer be considered a "folk" form. Indeed, rock music could only ever be considered a folk form before its local musicians became stars and "sold out" (Frith 1983, 51). Rock as a folk form, therefore, could only function as an intermittent theory. 2 8 . Indeed, Franco Fabbri argues that "attention to the aesthetic poetic factor . . . distinguishes 'art' music from the others, as it distinguishes 'progressive rock' from 'hard rock,' the 'chanson d'autore' from 'pop song'" (Fabbri, 57). 2 9 . Since rock's auteur ideology had been mapped on to a depiction of the music as a form of "resistance" against a popular other, rock's own commercial success presented a threat to its auteur orthodoxy. 29 3 0. It may seem contradictory that Siberry's approach to composition is influenced by both a postmodern aesthetic (in her negotiation of several contrasting genres and her use of parody) and a modernist auteur concept. The fact that she has elements of both approaches in her early and later songs is, I believe, a product of her particular historical situation. In the popular culture of the early 1980s, much "progress" discourse remained in effect, as postmodernist concepts had not yet trickled down into every musical genre. Indeed, as is evident in Chapter 3, electro pop's raison d'etre was completely bound up in an excitement over progress via new technology. Postmodern ideas finally became entrenched in popular culture by the 1990s (with the rise of grunge). These ideas clearly influenced Siberry's approach to genre; however, certain modernist constructs (such as a stubborn uniqueness and a love of complexity) remain with Siberry to this day. 3 1 . Rock criticism has traditionally supported innovative musicians and defined its canon in opposition to what it conceives of as simplistic pop drivel. For this reason, even musicians (such as Joni Mitchell) that have never played rock (in the sense of blues-based music) can be conceived of as part of the rock canon. Thus, despite (or perhaps because of) Siberry's use of contrasting and non-rock genres, she is conceived of as a rock auteur. 30 CHAPTER 1 BIOGRAPHY OF SIBERRY Siberry has never succumbed to compromise, even if it has meant trading mainstream success for artistic independence. Then again Siberry-who once actually said, "I'm interested in how to translate polymorphous ideas into the flat medium of a pop song"—wouldn't know how to find her way to the mainstream with a search party and a road map (Pevere & Dymond, 164). According to Siberry, being taken out of piano lessons as a child was perhaps the beginning of her career as an innovative songwriter: I started piano lessons when I was four, but my mom pulled me out of the class a year later. Piano was my first instrument. As soon as I learned how to climb up on the stool, I was playing it, improvising as I went along. When I took lessons, my teacher gave me songs to learn for the next class. She always scolded me for playing pieces I made up instead of practicing what she wanted me to. For example, I would do my own version of 'Edelweiss' from The Sound of Music, using the piano to create what I imagined to be the sound of flowers. But my teacher didn't value that, so I went home dejected after each lesson. My mom pulled me from the class, which was the smartest thing she could have ever done for me (Ouellette, 44). Continuing to play piano in her parent's house, Siberry followed the practice of many other little girls growing up in Etobicoke, Ontario (a suburb of Toronto). What made Siberry different from other children was that she played the piano without any supervision, merely improvising as she went along. Through the process of trial and error, rather than formal instruction, Siberry developed a fascination with singing and harmony. Without coaching, Siberry felt free to pursue her own musical vision. The solitary nature and single-minded determination of Siberry's musical experimentation was evident already at an early age: 31 When I was very young, I had these blue shiny slippers with soft soles and big eyes that rolled. My hands weren't big enough to play the big chords on the keyboard, so I used the slippers to sweep across it. I'd just blow for a half an hour. Sometimes it was really abstract, just a collection of sounds. Or I'd play the same rhythm over and over because it sounded good to me (Ouellette, 45). Being a shy child, Siberry only improvised when no one in her family was in the house. Eventually, she wrote down snippets of music with a system of self-invented notation, one she has kept using throughout her career: I have my own script that I use when I'm writing my music down for myself. I developed it out of necessity, so I wouldn't forget melodies when I heard them in my head. My system is faster than standard notation, which I can read and write, though very slowly. In my system, if I want to make a note sound louder, I make it darker. If one note takes a long time to follow another note, I leave a long space. If the second note comes very quickly after the preceding note, then it appears on the paper right after the first. I don't use 8th notes or 16th notes. Instead, I use dots after all my notes to represent quickness. It's a primitive method, but it's very correct and makes total sense to me (Ouellette, 46). In high school Siberry was required to learn conventional notation to study music theory. She also learned to play the French horn in the school band and taught herself acoustic guitar by studying the Leonard Cohen Songbook. Of her adolescence, Siberry recalled: "I wasn't a cheerleader, but I wasn't a bookworm, either. I guess I was a sort of normal cigarettes, drugs, and boys type . . . I did a lot of living in my head during my adolescence. Yeah, I was lonely, but it was being lonely for myself (Fissinger, 66). Her first complete song ("song to my father" featured on Teenager) was written at the age of 17. This may seem surprisingly late in light of the early age at which she began improvising, but can be explained by Siberry's comments about her compositional process: I get the total idea for the songs right away, anywhere. What takes a long time is 32 translating it into music and lyrics. Sometimes it's complete and if I only had telepathy I could send the song to someone without putting it into words and music I've done a lot of free recording, which is the way I first started writing. I just put the recorder on and play, and then I listen to it later. I've always done that, since I was young. And I never really finished a song until I was 17 because I could never, never capture it (Kelley, 8). Around the same time, Siberry began performing her songs. As she recalled, her early forays into performance were a struggle. When I started playing in public when I was about seventeen I was just so used to sort of'blowing' on piano, as soon as I had to be conscious of it on-stage, I just couldn't make the leap, so people would be very curious, because I sounded like I could hardly play piano-although I could, not too badly (Karen O'Brien, 185). Leaving Etobicoke to attend Guelph University, Siberry eventually earned a Bachelor's degree in microbiology. Her post-secondary education began with studying music, but after a year she switched majors. Because she already played by ear, first-year music courses seemed stifling to her (Ouellette, 45). While in Guelph, Siberry began to perform in folk clubs. She frequently sang with Wendy Davis at a local restaurant that hosted folk music, the Carden St. Cafe, in a duo called "Java Jive." This group became a trio with the addition of bassist John Switzer, who played on Siberry's solo albums from 1981 to 1993 and who co-produced four of her albums 1 (Notes for Chapter 1 begin on p. 57). After Java Jive broke up in 1979, Siberry played at folk festivals in Ontario as a solo artist. Upon leaving university, Siberry became a waitress. Although she "could never remember drink orders," she made enough money from tips to finance her first album, Jane Siberry (1981), and to promote it with a national tour (Fissinger, 66). The lyrics of this album feature themes that pervade Siberry's early work, namely a concern with the artistic process and materialism as well as themes that run throughout her lyrics in general, such as loneliness, time, 33 relationships, and the healing power of nature. Her early lyrics are also characterized by the use of humour and fantasy in otherwise realistic narratives. After the release of her self-titled album by the independent label Street Records, Siberry signed a three-album record deal with the then-fledgling American company, Windham Hill/ A&M. This was before Windham Hill became known for its new age releases. The company gave Siberry much freedom, allowing her to stay based in Toronto and record at Duke Street Records as well as to put together her own band (which included Switzer on bass, Ken Myhr on guitar, and Al Cross on drums) for both live shows and recordings. Thus her next four albums were all released by Duke Street Records in Canada and Windham Hill in the United States, employing more or less consistent personnel. Siberry's second album, No Borders Here (1984), accrued college radio success in Canada, due in part to the song "Mimi on the Beach." The success of this single was a surprise, as at seven and a half minutes in length, it goes well beyond the three-minute standard. At this time, however, Toronto radio station CFNY had a musical format that wholeheartedly promoted punk and new wave music. "More specifically, CFNY supported practically anything British. In an attempt to fill their Can[adian] Con[tent] quotas, they opened the airwaves to a lot of independent music, daring to put adventurous indie cassettes into rotation" (Barclay et al, 45). So popular was the tune that it was also immediately put in strong rotation on MuchMusic, Canada's music video television station that was launched the same year (Straessle, 33). National exposure on MuchMusic greatly facilitated Siberry's popularity in Canada, especially in small towns where radio did not take as many chances on adventurous music as in Toronto (Barclay et al, 55). Videos for "You Don't Need" and "I Muse Aloud" offered further promotion of the album; and Siberry's American performance debut took place at the Ritz in New York City in 34 1984. In the end, Siberry's sophomore album sold 40,000 copies and won her a CASBY (the Canadian People's Choice award) for best female vocalist. What unifies the lyrics of No Borders Here is the theme of the arbitrariness of boundaries. Siberry commented: I often get a sensation of things dissolving, like dissolves in a movie. Which means that definitions around things don't exist the way you normally think they would.... I like thinking of dotted lines a lot, or dotted lines that shift back and forth, and things moving. I've always resented any kind of arbitrary boundary. And that comes from language. I mean, the borders to countries were articulated by men and they're not natural boundaries between people. And so I don't think that way, and think of myself not as Canadian but just as a type of being, and think of other people that way (Kelley, 6). The final track on this album, "Map of the World (Part 1)," reflects this notion of dissolving with a slow and intermittent vocal that creates a dream-like quality (see Appendix 1, Lyric 2 for the lyrics). The tune also initiated a trilogy of songs with the same title, the latter two being found on subsequent albums {The Speckless Sky and Bound by the Beauty). What these three songs have in common is the idea of losing oneself in a moment. Siberry says of the first song in the trilogy: "In 'Map of the World' there are three different spaces, three people describing their universes and somehow they all blend and dissolve into each other and create a fourth map" (Kelley, 6). Her subsequent album, The Speckless Sky (1985), went gold in Canada (that is, a million dollars in sales were made by the manufacturer), selling over 50,000 copies. The single "One More Colour" was a minor hit, attracting attention in part for the humorous video in which Siberry is seen walking a cow.2 With this album Siberry won CASBY awards for both album of the year and producer of the year. Siberry promoted this album by playing in clubs and concert halls throughout the country, the highlight of which was an appearance at Expo '86. At the 35 height of her fame in Canada, two documentary films about Siberry entitled I Muse Aloud and One More Colour were made by Cambium Productions in 1987. After these two successful albums, Siberry signed a record contract with Reprise Records, a subsidiary of Warner Brothers, which had to buy out the final album of Windham's three-record deal for $100,000 (Druckman 1990, 38). Warner released all of Siberry's subsequent albums from The Walking (1987) to Maria (1995). That a multinational company like Warner was interested enough in Siberry to let her remain at Toronto-based Duke Street Records shows the extent to which they expected Siberry to become a popular success. One reason for such expectations was that Siberry's image and music fit into the pop culture ethos of the 1980s. After the commercial success of Cyndi Lauper and Madonna in 1984, record companies were for the first time eager to sign women singer-songwriters with a pop sensibility. Companies had figured out a new way to market female performers, borrowing images from punk rather than folk. Women in the rock/pop genre thus had the potential to be as popular as male performers. Moreover, the 1987 success of Suzanne Vega opened the way for the popularity of singer-songwriters, such as Mary Margaret O'Hara, Tanita Tikaram, and Siberry, who wrote lyrics on unconventional topics.3 They were all "part of late-80s marketing which concentrated on 'quirkiness' or eccentricity" (Lucy O'Brien, 197). Working with a major label, Siberry's next album, The Walking (1987), was highly anticipated. It was promoted internationally with a tour in Europe and the United States that included her European debut at the Institute of Contemporary Art in London, England in 1988. Adding to the excitement surrounding the album's release was the fact that it was mixed by Kevin Killen, who was known for his work with such rock auteurs as Kate Bush and Peter Gabriel. Like Bush and Gabriel, Siberry was marketed and "sold as part of pop's High Art" 36 (Lucy O'Brien, 198). Critical discussions of this album in the rock press used the discourse of art rock. And indeed, her fourth album was influenced by art rock aesthetics in that it was less dance-oriented and used more complex poetic imagery and forms. There was for the first time little humour in the lyrics of this album, which thematically dealt with the topics of miscommunication and the ending of relationships. Siberry commented, "I was trying to get as close to what I heard in my head on to tape. It was draining in that I was breaking up with John Switzer at the time and a lot of the songs were about that" (Barclay et al, 215). Because of its introspective and art rock qualities, this album met with less airplay, harsher reviews, and poorer sales than its predecessors. After the commercial failure of The Walking Siberry made a concerted attempt to simplify her compositional style on Bound by the Beauty (1989). The phrase lengths of the songs on this album were more regular and the forms were simpler: It was a different stage in my career, where I was examining certain boundaries- pushing them and seeing what they brought.... At a certain point I cleared out all the clutter and didn't even bring my own lighting person. I also didn't wear jewelry for a long time in photos (Barclay et al, 216). The poetry on this album is more succinct and concrete than that of The Walking. The tone of the lyrics is also more hopeful, with a return to the theme of nature and the use of humour heard in "bound by the beauty" and "everything reminds me of my dog," respectively. Not surprisingly, this album proved more popular in sales than The Walking. To preview Bound by the Beauty, Siberry toured folk festivals in 1989 with her guitarist, Ken Myhr. After its release the following year she went on a 50-concert tour in Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain, the United States, and Canada. The image of the "fragile, winsome and whimsical female singer-songwriter" prominent 37 in music marketing the 1980s did not continue as a useful marketing technique in the 1990s (Lucy O'Brien, 197). With the rise of grunge music in the early 1990's, quirky female performers such as Cyndi Lauper who "just wanted to have fun" failed to maintain their popularity.4 By the 1990s the images used to market female musicians had changed from the arty eccentric of the 1980s to that of ironic blues stylists like Sheryl Crow (ibid). While Siberry is not even remotely influenced by the blues, she can be ironic. Her next album When I was a Boy (1993) was edgier than anything she had released previously. It was also a three-year, trans-continental project. Siberry had put together an album-length demo in Vancouver in 1991, but the response of Warner executives had been, as she put it, "cautious" (Ouellette, 46). Siberry was not satisfied either, because it sounded too much like Bound by the Beauty. She thus wrote seven new songs and released those on the 1993 album. A few months before completing When I was a Boy, Siberry performed as the opening act for the premiere of Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells II in Edinburgh, Scotland. Surprisingly, the audience hated her new material: I was dumbstruck. I came back to Canada and went up north and cried for two weeks. Then something snapped. I took all the power back that I had put outside myself trying to please [others]. The worst show of my life has become the best show because it's given me the ultimate freedom to care only about what I think is really good. How my career does is secondary (Barclay et al, 250). Although the audience response to this concert made Warner executives nervous, Siberry was determined to release the album as it was. I started taking hold of my creative activities again, because often I would have ideas or I'd like to do this or that but then someone would say, 'No, you can't do your own video because we do it', then they don't do it because you're small potatoes so you end up doing nothing. So I went back into that very healthy state and independent street-style of doing things really cheaply; of taking my power 38 back into my own hands. To go back to where I was when I first was free—you have an idea and you do it. You never have anyone to ask. I've gone through the record company and other directors and people who are really too busy to do their homework or become familiar with your work.... Every time I said, 'You do it, you must know better than me', it would backfire and I'd end up with work that wasn't right. So I'd have to redo things and they'd cost more money (Karen O'Brien, 188). When I was a Boy differs from Siberry's previous albums in three respects. First, many of the new songs incorporate explicitly dance-oriented rhythms for the first time. Not surprisingly, this album has been Siberry's most commercially successful album to date. In the United States, this is the only Siberry album of which most people have heard. The singles "Sail across the Water," "Temple," and "Calling All Angels" were all minor hits there. Second, Siberry consciously introduced into her lyrics "universal" themes such as love, religion, and mythology. As she says: People have rejected formal religion and after years of looking for something that fits, they've come round full circle to valuing elements within religion, like symbols, that work on the same level as poetry and music—without taking on board the formal structure itself (Karen O'Brien, 197). Third, Siberry recorded several of the songs with other recording artists for the first time, namely, with Canadians k. d. lang (on "Calling All Angels") and Holly Cole (on "The Gospel According to Darkness" and "An Angel Stepped Down"). In addition to experimenting with new sounds and topics, When I was a Boy harks back to practices Siberry had embraced at the beginning of her career. Instead of producing the album by herself, Siberry opted for outside producers, including Brian Eno, whose association added more than a little prestige. Furthermore, at this point Siberry left behind such longtime collaborators as Ken Myhr and John Switzer. To promote the album she performed solo, billing the show: "The 39 'It Ain't A Concert' Concert." In addition to the songs, Siberry wrote a number of spoken-word poems and stories, produced her own videos, and emphasized audience interaction. The tour received mixed reviews. Many journalists wondered why there had not been more music in the program. "On the heels of her best album, it was an odd way to promote herself, perhaps ensuring that she was eventually destined to operate outside of any commercial expectations whatsoever" (Barclay et al, 250). After finishing promotions for When I was a Boy, Siberry was invited by Peter Gabriel to Bath, England to record three songs for Gabriel's label, Real World Records. Siberry's presence there with other musicians from around the world was a matter of some prestige. She further built upon her American cult following in 1994 when the soundtrack to the movie The Crow hit the top of the American album charts. This disc featured a Siberry track entitled "It Can't Rain All the Time." That same year Siberry also participated on two tracks of the Indigo Girls' album, Swamp Ophelia, the follow-up to their most successful album, Rites of Passage (1992), which had reached number 21 on the Billboard album charts. Siberry's next album, Maria (1995), again branched out artistically, foregoing the use of dance styles and hiring all new personnel who were known for improvisation, including pianist Tim Ray, who has his own jazz band called Blue the Orange, and Christopher Thomas, who formerly played stand-up bass with Betty Carter. While the lyrics of this album continued to evoke biblical and nature imagery, they also introduced new themes of regeneration and childhood. For example, the album is unified throughout by a recurring motif in the lyrics of "Mary had a Little Lamb." Despite touring across Canada and the United States with the new band, this album did not sell well (particularly when compared with the sales of her prior album). While the poor sales disappointed Warner, Siberry herself remained ambivalent. She commented about this album: "In my mind, I'm not working in the commercial realm, so I wouldn't know if I'm making mistakes for radio or whatever. I have a good feel for warmth and to me, that's what radio should be about" (Menzies, 36). What is and what ought to be are two different things in the music business, however; and when Siberry's contract was up in 1996, Warner dropped her from their label. Siberry had offers from other labels, but instead, like Ani DiFranco, Aimee Mann, Loreena McKennitt, and other contemporary female musicians, Siberry chose to embrace artistic freedom and started her own record label, Sheeba Records, on 17 May 1996. Sheeba has released all of Siberry's subsequent work to date.5 Since it only took three days to record Maria, Siberry had left-over studio time and quickly recorded an album of songs she had written as an adolescent, aptly entitled Teenager (1996). The lyrics of these songs contain topics typically associated with youth, such as family and first love. They also indicate Siberry's early concern with nature, angels, and love lost. The song about a cow, "bessie," is the narrative precursor to "The Mystery at Ogwen's Farm" from Jane Siberry (See Appendix 1, Lyric 3 for the latter). After recording Teenager, Siberry moved to New York City and recorded A Day in the Life (1997), an album whose conceit is to sample 24 hours from Siberry's busy life in New York City. Snatches of various musical works-in-progress are interspersed with telephone calls from musicians Patty Larkin, k. d. lang, and Joe Jackson as well as conversations with cab drivers. That same year Siberry recorded her New York Trilogy of live albums, Tree, Lips, and Child. The Christmas release of Child (1997) features a collection of traditional Christmas songs as well as Siberry's own seasonal compositions.6 After she toured Canada, the United States, and Europe, Sheeba ran into financial trouble, and Siberry realized that she could not run a 41 Toronto-based company while living as an artist in New York City. Accordingly she moved back to Toronto, laid off her staff, learned bookkeeping and administrative skills, and got her company in order as a one-woman business. When Sheeba was back on its feet two years later, Siberry released the other two albums from the New York Trilogy. Tree (1999) is a collection of the songs that Siberry had written for various films, but also features songs with lyrics that continue Siberry's concern with nature. Lips (1999) in contrast, is Siberry's first album that explicitly addresses themes of sex (in "Hotel Room 417") and feminism, in the song "Mimi Speaks," which is the sequel to "Mimi on the Beach" from No Borders Here. Siberry's next release Hush (2000) could not be more different from Lips. Hush is a collection of traditional Celtic folk songs and American Spirituals arranged by Siberry. As such, like most of the songs on Child, these tunes were not originally written by Siberry. Nonetheless, the arrangements, using lush layers and synthesizers, are clearly reminiscent of Siberry's style from the 1980s. Placing traditional music in such a context was completely novel for Siberry and perhaps the folk genre in general. Siberry's most recent release, City (2001), is a compilation of songs previously-released on other artist's albums. This album includes not only the studio versions of her music for films ("It Can't Rain All the Time," "Calling All Angels," "Slow Tango," and "All the Pretty Little Ponies"), but also the songs released on Peter Gabriel's Real World label (such as "My Mother Is Not The White Dove" and "Harmonix/I Went Down to The River"). The recording also contains collaborations with such diverse artists as Frank London, Joe Jackson, Hector Zazou, Michael Grey, Nigel Kennedy, Takafumi Sotoma, Morgan Fisher, and Ghostland. Snippets of "When I Think of Laura Nyro" and "The Bridge" heard earlier on A Day in the Life, are recorded in full on this album. 42 The New York Trilogy and Hush were for a time only available through the Sheeba website. All of her albums, however, are now available in certain record stores. Siberry's present-day status as an independent musician is actually a return to the street approach of 1981's Jane Siberry. Since that time changes in technology, marketing, and distribution have made the indie approach even more tenable. For example, in 1999, 85% of Sheeba's record sales were through the Internet (Varty, 89). While she presently employs staff members, Siberry was solely responsible for every aspect of production and distribution at Sheeba Records from 1997 to 1999. Running a business by herself involved a lot of non-musical work for Siberry. She not only retooled her Web site, she also stuffed envelopes with electronically-ordered albums and merchandise. As Siberry commented, "Picking up my own telephone and asking 'Where's that T- shirt I ordered?'. . . was a very good thing. I've been too busy to be shy about it, and it's changed me for the better, I think" (Varty, 89). She added, "Not all artists want to be so involved. But a regular record deal seems old-fashioned now somehow" (Siberry 1999, 6). Genre and Siberry's Approach to Songwriting Considering the changes that have taken place in the popular music industry in the last two decades, the fact that Siberry's oeuvre spans the 1980s, 1990s, and beyond is quite remarkable. Siberry's artistic longevity is particularly notable because few of her songs cater to the mainstream pop music format of a three-minute or four-minute song with a catchy bass hook. On the contrary, Siberry's songs tend to change key, metre, tempo, and dynamics; contain spoken sections and angular melodies; create multiple-voiced narratives; and address topics other than romantic love. They also use complex formal structures that typically last around seven minutes in length, or even up to 20 minutes long, as with "Oh My My" from Maria. Speaking about the 43 extended song "Sweet Incarnadine" from When I was a Boy, Siberry commented: "It is not a song song. It's more of a piece. I get more satisfaction out of those kinds of vehicles to pour myself into than just a song" (Ouellette, 47). Whether shorter songs or longer "pieces," Siberry's approach to songwriting has never been dictated by commerce or convention but rather by a personal artistic vision. As she describes it, inspiration arises from a strong personal desire: I write so I'm not bored. I write things that interest me and stimulate me and that I'd like to hear on the radio. I write because I love to and it's so much a part of me that it just makes me feel alive. So I write for myself (Kelley, 10). Adhering to her personal vision has kept Siberry from achieving widespread popular success. When asked if she is tempted to write songs that follow generic expectations and are thus more commercially viable, Siberry replied: Whenever I've tried to be like someone else, I fail. It's happened in the past when I've tried to dance like someone else to look cool or sing like another singer I admire. As a result, I've developed this survival mechanism that prohibits me from trying to emulate another person. It's as if there are chains that wrap around me and force me to do it my own way. It's a mechanism that keeps me true to myself (Ouellette, 48). While on the one hand being true to herself involves writing music that is challenging for a mass market audience, on the other hand Siberry denies writing music that is deliberately complex or draws upon specifically avant-garde tendencies. When I'm composing and I feel my mind kicking in to want to deliberately break rules, I go the other way. I don't like the attitude of breaking rules just for the sake of breaking them. That's when the music becomes clever and leaves you cold. I may be a rule-breaker, but it's only an aside to follow my own vision (Ouellette, 48). 44 Regarding the complexities in her songs, Siberry contends that her music is relatively accessible. According to her, the melodies of her music are not angular, but "catchy." Despite her use of unusual forms, irregular metres, and uneven phrase lengths, Siberry explains: "That's just the way I hear things, musically and metre-wise. It's very natural to me" (Kelley, 6). If their non-commercial nature and indie production make Siberry's songs difficult to market, so too do the variety of genres she has utilized on her albums since 1989.7 Such diversity was not always typical of her recordings. Her first (chronologically written) albums, Teenager and Jane Siberry, evoked the genre of folk revival. Her subsequent albums from 1984 - 1987 were even more consistent in regard to genre negotiation, perhaps aided by the continuity in personnel on No Borders Here, The Speckless Sky, and The Walking. These three albums all used the electro-pop genre. This dense and highly-produced sound (similar to synth-rock) can be heard in the contemporary music of Peter Gabriel, Sarah McLachlan, and Prince. As mentioned earlier, Siberry's musical affinity with the mainstream of the 1980s is probably what got her a record contract with a multi-national label like Warner. At this time she had a lot in common with her contemporaries. Indeed, early in her career Siberry was compared to such singer-songwriters as Kate Bush, Laurie Anderson, and Suzanne Vega, as well as Joni Mitchell from the prior generation. While sharing some vocal mannerisms with Mitchell (such as her use of range and vibrato), Siberry is less confessional in her lyrics than Mitchell and other 1970s singer- songwriters. As Siberry explains: I always distance the songs. I feel people can tell how personal they are. I've never really enjoyed music that is too direct and too personal. I usually try to distance it from myself enough to be comfortable through having slightly impossible, having unrealistic things happen (Kelley, 4). 45 As in the songs of Bush and Vega, the differentiation between Siberry and her narrators (sometimes in terms of age and gender) is clear. While Siberry's songs are similar in this regard to those of Vega, Siberry's electro-pop music is far more melodically and formally complex than Vega's folk rock. In its use of layered synthesizers and samplers, Siberry's music is therefore much closer to that of Bush's. Siberry was also influenced by Anderson's music, specifically her interest in electronic instruments and stylized live performances (using props and choreography). Siberry also adopted Anderson's use of spoken word sections in her songs from the 1980s: A lot of times if I'm writing a song, there's another element that I want to bring into it that's sort of almost like a tangent but still makes sense with the whole content. It doesn't even make sense to write it into a verse like the one before, so you spin it off into a talking part. Then it's well balanced. But I'm definitely careful with the talking on record because I don't think it wears very well (Kelley, 6).8 Siberry's style from the 1980s, then, can be heard as both drawing upon and paralleling the idioms of a number of contemporary singer-songwriters. In 1989 with the release of Bound by the Beauty, Siberry abruptly changed her compositional style to one using sparser lyrics and conventional forms, albeit still more complex than mainstream pop songs. In addition, she also simplified her production style. The dense electro-pop textures were gone and the vocals were no longer multi-tracked as they had been from 1984 to 1987. These changes in Siberry's personal style again reflected what was occurring in the mainstream. During the late 1980s Melissa Etheridge, John Cougar Mellancamp, and others cultivated a more acoustic sound, rejecting the electric guitars prevalent in the stadium rock of the 1970s and the synthesizers that dominated the early 1980s. In a similar vein, Bound by the Beauty was recorded live in a studio that was built in the middle of an apple orchard and whose sign on the door read: "No Computers Allowed." As Siberry recalls, "There was no 46 fixing mistakes. This was a huge relief, knowing that 'what we'd played was what it would be' and the work would not go on forever towards (perceived) perfection" (Siberry 1999, 11). A simplification in production style was a wise move for Siberry, for her strength both as a recording artist and live performer has always been the intimacy and honesty she projects as a singer. Ironically, Siberry was reluctant to give up her multitracked vocal style of the early 1980s (Druckman 1985, 36). She felt the same reservation in the production of the songs on Maria, commenting: In many cases, I would have liked to have doubled the vocals because sonically it can be much more exciting to hear. Some of the songs could be amazingly arranged with vocals. Like to have stacked harmonies on "See the Child" would be really exciting. Vocals are very pleasing to people—having them come from different sides and doubling them with harmonies—so it was a bit hard to let go of that option; but I didn't feel it was an option (Menzies, 36). Siberry replaced her earlier electro-pop sound with the multiplicity of genres featured on Bound by the Beauty. This album includes songs negotiating such diverse idioms as country ("bound by the beauty," "everything reminds me of my dog," and "something about trains"), folk ("la jalouse"), and Latin ("miss punta blanca" and "are we dancing now? (map 3)"). After three consecutive albums featuring exclusively electro-pop tracks, such generic diversity on a single album is quite striking. It is almost as if, in deciding to leave the confines of the electro-pop genre, Siberry could no longer limit herself to working within a single genre; rather, she seems to take pleasure in juxtaposing contrasting genres. Indeed, the light tone on Bound by the Beauty (which will be discussed further in Chapter 4) suggests that Siberry's approach to genre is one of play. Siberry's 1990s output continued to exhibit this generic diversity, going beyond the previously mentioned genres to engage funk, cool jazz, and art rock as well. After the diversity 47 of Bound by the Beauty, however, her subsequent albums concentrated more on single genres. This is not to say that every song on a given album adheres to one genre; but that there are enough songs on an album to create an overall generic unity. For example, Lips includes numerous funk songs such as "Freedom is Gold," "Flirtin' is a Flo-thing," "Say it," and "Hotel Rm. 417." 9 The funk genre is also clearly demonstrated on When I was a Boy in such songs as "Temple," "All the Candles in the World" and "An Angel Stepped Down." Tree focuses on art rock in the choral song "Slow Tango" and such chamber pieces as "Adam and Eve" and "Burning Ship." Maria, in contrast, employs the jazz idiom, most overtly in "Caravan," "Maria," and "Lovin' Cup". Finally, Teenager marks a return to the folk revival genre. "Let's not talk now," "puppet city," and "we should be there by morning" are even better representatives of folk-revival than the songs from Jane Siberry. Hush and Child represent a different type of folk revival in that they contain mainly traditional songs arranged, but not written, by Siberry. Whereas Child is restricted to Christmas music, both traditional songs and new ones written by Siberry, Hush consists exclusively of folk songs. Unlike the songs on Child, the folk songs on Hush are arranged in a non-traditional manner, using electronic instruments and in some cases additional formal sections. Having outlined the various genres that Siberry has negotiated throughout her oeuvre, it is interesting to hear how Siberry perceives her own use of genre: I think there is a subconscious thing that happens. Whatever my molecular shape of the day is will give me a predisposition towards a certain shape of music and that's how it happens. Now, why I would be a certain shape that day I think is part of a greater design; you know, when you are open to writing music. So it is sort of a subconscious thing that happens; although I have been known to deliberately write a country song for when I'm at a folk festival workshop or just being silly (Siberry 2001). 48 The fact that Siberry can "deliberately write a country song" shows that she is familiar enough with the musical parameters associated with a given idiom to be able to write within the confines of a genre. In an interview, Siberry agreed that her employment of genre is more intentional when she is thinking about recording or instrumentation. But she was quick to add: "I pretty well just wait until I hear something in my head and then do it. There's a mixture of thinking about it, but I really have come to trust what I hear in my head and not mess with it" (Siberry 2001). In summary, Siberry has pursued two different approaches to genre. The first approach is a homogeneous or extended use of one genre that is evident in her negotiation of folk-revival and then electro-pop, heard on the albums from the 1980s. The break with folk revival to employ electro pop represents a further foray by Siberry into developing her own personal style or authorial voice. The more Siberry broke with the generic expectations of the electro-pop genre, the more her songs were marked by the increasing use of extended forms and unconventional metres. The use in her lyrics of humour and fantasy gradually declined over the span of this early repertoire, while the presence of obscure imagery and concern with the artistic processes gradually increased. The second approach to genre that Siberry employed is a heterogeneous juxtaposing of or playing with several diverse idioms (namely, folk, country, and Latin), first on Bound by the Beauty and then subsequent albums. In the lyrics of this later repertoire there is no longer use of obscure imagery. Instead, a new realism and economy of words emerges. The use of humour also returned when Siberry began to employ contrasting genres. It was as if in these later works Siberry let go of the pretensions of seriousness and a concern with art to embrace an aesthetic of play, employing whichever genres she chose and in whatever manner she liked. The chapters that follow discuss these two approaches by analyzing five songs in the chronological order in 49 which Siberry has chosen to engage contrasting genres. Recurrent Techniques and Themes in Siberry's Lyrics As a rock auteur, one can expect from Siberry's oeuvre a repetition of characteristic themes and stylistic choices. The latter will be investigated at length in subsequent chapters. The following discussion will focus on recurring techniques and themes found in her lyrics. Such a discussion could form a monograph unto itself. These topics will only be reviewed below for the sake of brevity. Two particular areas will be discussed: Siberry's use of humour and her creation of a multiple points-of-view approach within a song. The most accessible stylistic device that characterizes Siberry's lyrics is her use of humour. Comic touches in Siberry's early work can be found in "The Waitress" from No Borders Here (see Lyric 4 in Appendix 1). 1 0 In this song Siberry plays with the stereotype of the struggling musician or actress who is forced to take a day job as a waitress to pay the bills. Part of the stereotype is that, as an artist, the performer conceives of herself as above manual labour and, as such, gives terrible service. Siberry, however, inverts this stereotype. Instead of doing her job grudgingly, the performer does her utmost to be an excellent waitress. In the chorus, the performer quips: "I'd probably be famous now/if I wasn't such a good waitress," suggesting that her day job has become more important to her than the pursuit of her performance career. In the first two verses the performer describes how keeping the restaurant clean has become more than just a way to pay the bills. Clearly, the waitress has taken the maxim 'cleanliness is next to godliness' to heart, so that not only does she "have to clear your table" and "empty ashtrays," but she also becomes convinced that these are a moral imperative: "it's right to keep them clean." The idea that the stereotypical artist, a character often associated with slovenly 50 dress, a messy apartment, and liberal morality, could see cleanliness as a moral directive is used here to comic effect. The narrator further describes how she takes her job home with her to the point that she has "nightmares" about not being able to find the "section" in which she works. She has even become "a drag at parties," because she has to clean up the empty beer bottles or she becomes "upset." Since artists generally talk about a day job as a necessary evil that exists to pay the bills, a place they leave without a thought, the idea that it would give the narrator nightmares completely subverts the very purpose of the job. Indeed, that a day job could change the way performers function in their leisure activities (where they are "more" themselves than at work- here, at a party) is a cause for both laughter and irony. In the final verse the irony is felt all the more keenly when it becomes clear that the pressure the narrator feels to excel at her day job is not a product of the management but rather is self-imposed. She says "I have to know the regulars/well I don't have to/but I like to know their names." The lyrics of this song are an excellent example of Siberry's use of humour. Not only is irony present, but also the subversion of conventional pop culture stereotypes. Further instances of humour in her later song lyrics can be seen in the discussions of "everything reminds me of my dog" in Chapter 4 and "Flirtin' is a Flo-thing" in Chapter 6. A less accessible stylistic device that characterizes Siberry's lyrics is the use of a multiple points-of-view approach. Siberry's earliest songs (from Teenager and Jane Siberry) do not employ this technique. Rather they form linear narratives. It is only as Siberry developed her personal voice using the electro-pop genre that a multiple points-of-view approach began to appear. An example of an early linear narrative can be seen in "Above the Treeline" from Jane 51 Siberry (see Lyric 5 in Appendix 1). This song describes the narrator out for a walk with her dog, Wolf. They go "across the road" to a "trail that leads up through the forest," and, after pausing at the end of the treeline, finally out onto a snowfield. This physical journey parallels a psychological voyage. At the beginning of the excursion the narrator comments: "I had so many worries on my mind." After walking past the treeline and on to the snowy moon-lit field the narrator gains peace of mind, feeling that "somehow everything is alright." This ode to nature is a topic that recurs throughout Siberry's oeuvre. She explains, "I have always been very reverent, with a very devotional nature towards Nature. I kneel before the altar of beauty in any form; it could be a tree, or an office tower. But if you find beauty in it, that's my God" (Karen O'Brien, 193-194). After foregoing the wordy sentence structures evident in her earliest lyrics, Siberry developed a more economical style that characterizes her mature lyrics. This style (evident first in The Speckless Sky) was based more on a series of images than on any linear narrative. The images consist exclusively of sentence fragments that are so brief that their meaning is not always immediately apparent. Indeed, at the height of Siberry's early period (on The Walking) some of the images used in such songs as "the white tent the raft" and "lena is a white table" are quite obscure. Siberry commented upon her attraction to an economy of imagery: "I like the idea of fragments, just caught. I like the idea of a sense of'caughtness' because then you get a sense of a 'before' and an 'after,' so you only have to say a little bit and the rest is inherent around it" (Karen O'Brien, 193). 1 1 Almost as soon as Siberry dispensed with linear narratives, she began to experiment using a multiple points-of-view approach. If "mein bitte" from The Speckless Sky represented Siberry's first exploration of multiple voices, by "the bird in the gravel" from The Walking (See Appendix 52 1, Lyric 6) her use of the technique had reached maturity. Siberry's later works have retained the use of multi-voiced narratives. 1 2 Siberry commented on her non-linear approach to telling a story by saying, "Not everything that happens to us follows a linear pattern. It's more important to communicate in the nonlinear realm, where there's so much more going on than meets the ear" (Ouellette, 46). An excellent example of communicating a non-linear phenomenon through a narrative with multiple point-of-view is the moving "Grace Hospital" (See Lyric 7 in Appendix 1). This song reveals what goes on in the minds of several patients on the seventh floor (the terminal wing) of Grace Hospital. Against the assumption that people in the same hospital, facing an identical illness will be feeling similar emotions and going through a standardized experience of grief, Siberry reveals several unique attitudes and personalities. Although only the characters of Daniel, Joe, and Mrs. Bergman are named, it is clear that there are other characters present at the hospital. First, someone is "walking down the corridor" to get to the end to smoke a cigarette. Second, another person is looking out the window at the end of the corridor, imagining the thoughts of "a man in traffic below." Third, Mrs. Bergman represents the elderly person who repeats the same stories to people over and over, without realizing it. Her isolation is emphasized by the fact that her thoughts frequently return to the idea of receiving some correspondence in the mail, while her loneliness is accentuated by the fact that her only companion is her dog. Fourth, the thoughts of an angry person (perhaps Daniel) are revealed, as he reflects bitterly upon the hospital board, the colour green, the mail-hungry Mrs. Bergman, and her annoying dog. Fifth, a picture is presented of an old man who has lost track of time. His condition is so advanced that he is hallucinating (from the morphine) that his (probably deceased) wife is present as a young bride. Finally, a character is presented who has 53 hope (drug-induced or not) that he and the others are "gonna kick this thing." The contrasting emotional responses presented through the thoughts of several character vignettes are much more indicative of real human experience than the physical appearance of the patients might suggest. Through the use of a multiple points-of-view approach, Siberry manages at once to capture the sad, hopeful, strong, and despondent emotional states that lie behind the face of interchangeably-dying patients. In addition to the use of certain stylistic techniques, Siberry's song lyrics exemplify the characteristics of a rock auteur in that they exhibit recurring themes. Again, it is impossible here to discuss all of the themes that resurface throughout Siberry's oeuvre, but the two most important ones are those of human alienation and nature. The former theme will be looked at in the analysis of "la jalouse" in Chapter 2 and "goodbye" in Chapter 3. 1 3 Regarding the latter theme, Siberry's discussion of nature can best be heard in such songs as "when spring comes" and "the long pirouette" from Teenager, the title track from Bound by the Beauty, and "Above the Treeline" mentioned earlier. Whereas there are themes that remain throughout Siberry's oeuvre, there are some that appear only in her early lyrics and others that are heard only in later songs. As mentioned, a critique of commerce and a concern with artistic processes are found in many of Siberry's early lyrics.14 The former is evident in "mein bitte" from The Speckless Sky (see Appendix 1, Lyric 8). In this song Siberry contrasts the hardworking, but happy carpenter of the verses ("I'm at this workbench every day (i never miss a day)... (i can fix anything that you like)/I'm humming a tune while i wait... in my work i take great pride") with the big-business attitude articulated by the narrator of the chorus. Siberry comments upon the differences between the motivations of the two characters. The carpenter is viewed positively by Siberry. In fact, she seems to imply 54 that his attitude is the more natural of the two, citing his love of music and by linking his thoughts with nature imagery. In the most melodic section of the song he says: "my shop is a long meadow/in a winding landscape . . . with a few cows/and a babbling brook." The attitude of the big businessman, however, is clearly criticized by Siberry. The negativity of this critique is implicit in the obviously jeering tone of the (unnaturally) spoken chorus: "i need more things/i need more money/ don't want to work/want things for free/cut corners here/make more that way/i have no pride." A concern with artistic processes can be heard in "seven steps to the wall" from The Speckless Sky (see Lyric 1 in Appendix 1). In this song there is a man imprisoned in a room that is only seven square feet large. He paces about wanting "to write something down . . . to sing a song/or paint something." Despite the fact that the only thing in the room is a chair and table, the man is still inspired to create, by viewing the sun and dust and hearing choral music in his mind. In the final verse, it becomes clear that not only this man but also the narrator of the song (and perhaps by extension, Siberry herself) wants to write something down (see p. 21). She says: "all my life/where there's white/i have words/so i write/what i hear." She concludes humbly: "it is thin/but it's clear." Interestingly, lyrics with a feminist orientation can be found only very early and late in Siberry's career. 1 5 None of these songs is militant in its rhetorical stance. Rather, they merely discuss topics that concern women, such as the socialization of women or the interaction between women and men. In contrast, in Siberry's later repertoire, discussions of commerce as well as the artistic process that were so important to her early lyrics completely disappear. Instead, songs about love (such as "Love is Everything" and "Sail Across the Water" from When I was a Boy and "Up the Loggin' Road" from Tree) and hope (such as "Oh My My" from Maria and "It Can't 55 Rain All The Time" from Tree), which had been absent in her early lyrics, come to the fore. Along with recurring lyrical themes, there are rhetorical devices that are used consistently throughout Siberry's later song lyrics. The most accessible is the use of concrete imagery that shows rather than tells the listener what she means. Instead of stating ideas in a linear manner, a picture is used to describe a concept, moment, emotion, or scene. "At the Beginning of Time" from When I was A Boy (see Lyric 9 in Appendix 1), for example, uses water imagery, that never actually mentions the word "water." The lyrics of this song are set before the beginning of time, but they are not so much concerned with the concept of timelessness, as with the technique of describing a scene through the absence of such concrete references as weather, communication, animals, light, and fear. Siberry envisions the moment before time as a group of people "waiting in the darkness," sitting in silence "each in our own boat" without masts. 1 6 The boats are on the water, which is the only thing present "before there were waves." 1 7 A final rhetorical device that can be found only in her later repertoire is the use of biblical allusions. 1 8 An example of a song employing this technique is "Caravan" from Child (see Lyric 10 in Appendix 1). As in "At the Beginning of Time," the use of imagery here is concrete, but subtle. The biblical allusion is not employed to preach, but rather as an artistic tool. The song describes in retrospect the journey of two young boys in a caravan. The imagery of "that star" and "kneeling," of the "throne" and "a dream" as well as that of "three wise men" is clearly borrowed from the biblical story of the journey of the Magi to Bethlehem to see the Christ child; but this allusion is never explicitly stated. The use of recurring themes as well as her subtle attention to detail in the use of rhetorical devices (such as concrete imagery and biblical allusions) and stylistic devices (such as humour and multiple points-of-view) in her lyrics marks Siberry as a rock auteur. Siberry's auteur status 56 is not limited to her poetic inclinations, however. 1 9 Let us now turn to analyses of her music to see how an auteur stance is manifested in her approach to various genres in songs throughout her career. 57 Notes for Chapter 1 1 . These include No Borders Here (1984), The Speckless Sky (1985), The Walking (1987), and Bound by the Beauty (1989). 2 . A minor hit is one that places in Billboards top 100, as opposed to its top 40. 3 . After years of playing the folk circuit, Suzanne Vega's 1987 album Solitude Standing reached number 11 on the Billboard pop chart. This was due mainly to the popular success of her single from that album: "My Name is Luka," a narrative told from the point-of-view of an abused child. 4 . Nirvana's nihilistic "Smells Like Teen Spirit" from Nevermind for example, reached #1 on the Billboard charts in 1992. 5 . See the Discography for the full details of the dates and record companies used for each Siberry album. 6 . Child is the only double-CD release in Siberry's oeuvre. 7 . Siberry's negotiation of contrasting genres is probably in part modeled on the career of Joni Mitchell, as singer-songwriter from the prior generation. Mitchell began her career in the folk- revival genre with such albums as Songs to a Seagull (1968) and Clouds (1969). After the height of her popularity with the albums Blue (1971), For the Roses (1972), and Court and Spark (1974), however, Mitchell embraced the jazz idiom. With The Hissing of Summer Lawns (1975), Hejira (1976), Don Juan's Reckless Daughter (1977), and Mingus (1979) Mitchell ultimately lost both popular and critical success. On Wild Things Run Fast (1982) and Dog Eat Dog (1985) Mitchell turned to pop music, again with disappointing reviews compared to her achievements mid-career. It is only with A Case Of You (2000) that Mitchell has returned to both the jazz idiom and critical acclaim. 8 . While Siberry uses the spoken word in single sections of certain songs, Anderson often has entire songs that are spoken (such as "Born, Not Asked" and "Walking and Falling" from Big Science). Because Anderson came from a performance art background, her music is less influenced by popular song than by the high art canon. Indeed, her albums are condensations of far larger works. The fact that Anderson had an isolated hit in England with "O Superman (for Massenet)" was more of a fluke of timing than an intentional pursuit of the mass-music market. 9 . Funk is a genre of R&B characterized by prominent up-tempo, syncopated bass vamps, soul vocals accompanied by syncopated (horn) riffs, an emphasis on the downbeat (called "groove," as opposed to emphasizing every beat, as in disco), a single and often complex harmony, an even subdivision of the beat (as opposed to the use of triplets found in jazz and early soul) and lyrics making frequent social commentary, often of a black nationalist nature. 10 . Other songs utilizing humour are: "This Girl I Know" from Jane Siberry, I Muse Aloud" from No Borders Here, and "miss punta blanca" from Bound by the Beauty. 58 1 1 . Siberry's ideas here are in harmony with a contemporary school of poetry known as imagism, founded by American poets such as William Carlos Williams. Imagism has been kept alive in the work of Siberry's Canadian contemporary, the poet and novelist Michael Ondaatje. In an interview in which he makes explicit his interest in using images as an organizing structure, Ondaatje could very well be speaking for Siberry: In one mural, [Mexican artist Diega] Rivera shows a factory worker holding a wrench in a certain way. Across the room in a linked mural, we see a foreman holding a pencil in a certain way. [Likewise] a story can be knit together by images. This seems to me a less didactic method of building a theme (Slopen, 48- 49). My thanks to Bill Fledderus for bringing up this point as well as the quotation, taken from: Beverly Slopen, "Michael Ondaatje," Publisher's Weekly 239 (Oct. 5 1992): 48 - 49. 12 . Other examples of multiple-voiced lyrics are: "red high heels," and "lena is a white table" from The Walking; "All the Candles in the World," "The Gospel According to Darkness," and "An Angel Stepped Down" from When I was a Boy; and "Hotel Room 417" from Lips. 13 . Similarly, the theme of loneliness can be found in the lyrics of "The Magic Beads" and "In the Blue Light from Jane Siberry, "the taxi ride" from The Speckless Sky, and "the valley" from Bound by the Beauty. The theme of miscommunication is best heard in "ingrid and the footman"from The Walking. 14 . A critique of commerce can be heard best in: "Marco Polo" from Jane Siberry and "extra executives" from No Borders Here. A concern with artistic processes is evident in: "Writers are a Funny Breed" from Jane Siberry, "symmetry (is the way things have to be)" from No Borders . Here, and "the empty city" from The Speckless Sky. 15 . These include "puppet city" and "o my sister" from Teenager, "Mimi on the Beach" from No Borders Here, "Adam and Eve" from Tree, and "Mimi Speaks" from Lips. 16 . The setting of this song could be interpreted not only as the beginning of the world, but also as the beginning of a new life. In other words, "waiting in the darkness/each in our own boat" could be a description of a baby in utero. 17 . Siberry recalls earlier using such a "negative" descriptive technique in "one more colour" from The Speckless Sky: "The speckless sky" is not just the idea of a clear sky. It's more the idea of defining things by the absence of something. So within the song . . . there is the goat-less ledge, the honk-less geese—all sorts of negatives and positives that define each other by not being there (Kelley, 6). 18 . Biblical allusions can be heard in "the valley" from Bound by the Beauty, "Calling All Angels" and "An Angel Stepped Down" from When I was a Boy, "Begat Begat" from Maria, "Are You Burning Little Candle" from Child, and "Adam and Eve" from Tree. 19 . Indeed, these features are also characteristics of such pop artists as Alanis Morissette. 59 CHAPTER 2 THE FOLK-REVTVAL GENRE Folk revival is a genre of folk music in which Siberry recorded her first self-titled album in 1981. It remains a genre to which Siberry frequently returns, as in the example of "la jalouse" from Bound by the Beauty (1989). Before examining Siberry's approach to the folk-revival genre, the use of the term "folk revival" requires some explanation 1 (notes for Chapter 2 begin on p. 78). In popular culture—for example, in the Grammy award categories—the repertoire and style characteristics of folk revival are not distinguished from that of traditional folk song (Shaw, 131). Folklore scholarship, however, makes a distinction between the two. Traditional folksong is often defined as songs passed on by non-professional musicians through oral transmission, whereas folk revival music is usually performed by professional musicians who read music (Stekert, 165). The term "folk" is equally problematic. It derives from the German concept of "das Volk" which originated with Johann Gottfried von Herder (1744-1803). Herder held a somewhat mystical conception of"das Volk" as peasants or uneducated, rural artisans who produced music unaffected by industrialization. He believed that "Volkslied" emanated collectively from the spirit of the people. In an attempt to study folk culture as a whole, Herder collected books of German song as well as European songs in German translation. His ideas led to widespread folk song collecting in the nineteenth century. For example, in 1888 the American Folklore Society was founded by literary scholar Francis James Child (1825 - 1895) and anthropologist Franz Boas (1858 - 1942). Child in particular was renowned for his systematic study and collection of over 300 British folk songs in a five-volume work entitled, English and Scottish Popular Ballads 60 (1883 - 1898). These songs, which came to be known as the "Child Ballads," were highly valued by collectors in both Europe and America. Based on a combination of Herder's ideas and English nationalism, the English Folk-Song Society was founded in 1898. Early collector Cecil Sharp idealized the people he called the "folk," viewing their music as "the product of a highly stable, conservative, and rural society unaffected by industrialization, literacy, or urban tastes" (Porter, 217). In English Folk-Song: Some Conclusions (1907), he linked continuity, variation, and selection as the key features of origin and transmission in folk music.2 Sharp also outlined a theory of English folk song that prioritized modal melodies (Gammon, 327). These ideas came to define early folk music scholarship.3 The study of English folk music was further aided by the founding of the International Folk Music Council (heretofore, IFMC) in 1947. This organization was formed in London to study melodic classification, historical sources, and organology in the folk music and dance of Europe (Porter, 215). Composer Ralph Vaughan Williams, the first president, introduced Cecil Sharp's turn-of-the-century ideas into discussions on the nature and role of folk music. After the Second World War, however, his purist ideas became increasingly untenable and outdated, due to the influence of radio, records, and, later, television. The second wave of folk revival in England was lead by A.L. Lloyd and Ewan MacColl, with the encouragement of the American Alan Lomax, who brought together the two political left-wingers. Lloyd tried to understand folk song as a historical process, and combined the ideas of Sharp, international folklore scholarship, Bartok, and Marxist historical writings in his influential book on Folk Song in England (1967). MacColl was successful at interesting young English musicians looking for an alternative to popular music for performance in folk clubs. At 61 the height of the British folk revival in the 1960s, thousands of folk clubs provided a public platform for traditional performers (Gammon, 332). Lomax was also instrumental in the second wave of folk revival in the United States, along with Pete Seeger, who founded the folk magazine, Sing Out. The folk revival in the United States was even more widespread than in England among college students and intellectuals in the 1950s and 1960s, as will be discussed later. By 1960, several countries in Western Europe had begun to issue recordings of their indigenous traditional music through universities, research units, and major record companies such as RCA and Victor. Frequently the motivation behind this documentation was to assert national identity in the face of American-inspired pop music emanating from urban centres. The attitude that folk music had to be captured before vanishing could also be found in the JEMC. For example, by 1954 the stated aim of the JEMC, recorded by Maude Karpeles, was to assist "in the practice, preservation, and dissemination of folk music" (Porter, 216). Simultaneously, the colonial need to "save other people's musics before they disappear" found in folk scholarship began to change, as creativity and social consciousness became a part of popular culture in the 1960s (Middleton 1990, 146). European scholars such as Bose began to refer to "folklore" singers, by which they meant the professional disseminators of folk genres as a means for political expression in urban centres. Scholars such as Boskovic-Stulli, Gusev, and Ffeimann went so far as to concede that this "folkloristic music" need not be negatively compared to traditional folk. They argued that folkloristic music also formed an equally viable tradition, albeit self-consciously arranged for stage performance rather than in an earlier social context, such as singing on someone's front porch. This new practice was simply an old set of musical behaviours adjusted to fit a changed context (Porter, 219). 62 By the 1970s the need for a greater sophistication in depicting the contexts, uses, and purposes of folk music was recognized as an essential component of ethnomusicology. This discipline sought to determine "what music people were actually singing, and not what music scholars ideally believed them to sing" (Porter, 220).4 One of the fruits of this research was that in 1980 the IFMC changed its name to the International Council for Traditional Music (ICTM) to broaden the spatial and temporal dimensions of the music that had hitherto been studied as folk. It became apparent that, outside of Europe, "folk" music was an unused and irrelevant term. Indeed, what had been called "folk" was no longer conceived of as communal music that was transmitted orally (Porter, 219). Furthermore, the scholar's role, how he or she affects human subjects in an ethnographic study, became an important aspect of scholarship, as it entered the postmodern period. Scholarship turned away from positivistic methods of data collection and analysis of folk song (Porter, 222). "Studies of the internal characteristics of such music, however, cannot provide the whole answer, since concepts of value, context, performance, and use collectively outweigh purely stylistic questions" (Porter, 229). Put another way, in popular culture, the meanings associated with traditional folk music have been appropriated into the folk-revival genre. While this conflation of folk and folk pop has been dismissed by folklore scholars, it remains significant. This is particularly the case when it comes to the meanings being negotiated by the average reader of a folk revival text.5 For example, the way I will be using "folk revival" here describes exactly the repertoire and aesthetic criteria that Mark Miller refers to simply as "contemporary folk music" (Miller 1992, 476) and what Douglas White calls "folk and roll" or "pop rock and folk fusion music" (White 1998, 165).6 Having said that, and because the term "folk revival" has more specific connotations than 63 the popular use of the term "folk," the former is the one used here. Over the years, however, "folk revival" has been used in various ways. Folklorist Ellen Stekert (1966) has conveniently outlined these usages. In the 1930s and 1940s folk revival referred to left-wing political groups who sang at union meetings and hootenannies both protest songs from traditional oral folk culture and new songs, composed by rural singers such as Woody Guthrie, Aunt Molly Jackson, and Leadbelly. New songs were also composed by urban singers or "imitators" such as Alan Lomax and Pete Seeger (Stekert, 157). Not surprisingly, during the repressive McCarthy era there was a turn away from protest and politics to collecting and singing traditional rural folk song. Traditional folk song was again performed by both urban singers such as John Jacob Niles, Peggy Seeger, and Burl Ives as well as rural singers such as Jean Ritchie, Hobart Smith and Frank Proffitt. Throughout the 1960s, adapting traditional folksong to an urban style and audience was undertaken by the next generation of revival singers, who Stekert said fostered "the new aesthetic," including Joan Baez, Judy Collins, and Peter, Paul, and Mary (Stekert, 160). For the folk-revival singer-songwriters or "urban pop utilizers," however, expressing oneself through the songs of traditional rural folk was ultimately dissatisfying (Stekert, 158). Singers such as Gordon Lightfoot, Bob Dylan, and Joni Mitchell thus began to write their own songs that were increasingly more concerned with the self than with social protest (Whiteley 2000, 75). Nonetheless, "in the public mind these singer-songwriters became synonymous with the idea of a 'folksinger' " (Miller 1992, 483). At first the folk-revival songs by these singer- songwriters were written in the image of folk revival from the 1940s and 1950s, but this did not last. After the Newport Folk Festival of 1965, folk revival fell out of public favour, while folk rock rose to prominence with bands such as the Byrds, the Mamas and the Papas, Simon and 64 Garfunkel, Neil Young and Crazy Horse, and Buffalo Springfield.7 Even from this brief survey, therefore, it is clear that the term "folk revival" has vastly differing associations. The way in which Jane Siberry negotiates the folk-revival genre in "la jalouse" (and the way in which I will be using this term) is as an "urban pop utilizer." 8 Before discussing how well "la jalouse" exemplifies the genre of folk revival, however, we must analyze folk revival as a "genre prototype" to reveal the parameters most conventional in this genre (Paltridge, 2). First of all, folk revival has intentionally simple musical parameters. The melody covers a small range and usually moves in conjunct motion. It is usually also modal and sung with a straight-tone vocal timbre. Unlike traditional folksong, which is performed unaccompanied, folk revival is accompanied by understated acoustic instruments, frequently just a guitar strumming triadic chords to keep the beat (Middleton 1990, 90). Intimately associated with this musical simplicity is a sense of democracy between the singer and audience. This democracy is manifested in the informality of the live performance context of folk-revival. For example, the singer is usually in a small venue with sparse staging, wearing street clothes (as opposed to concert attire). Again, it is because egalitarian camaraderie is the aim of folk revival that its performance context is kept informal and intimate. The musical and performance parameters of folk revival are also kept simple to foreground the lyrics, which usually form a narrative (in line with traditional folksong balladry) that often implies either a moral lesson, as in the broadside ballad tradition, or a socio-political one, as in the protest song tradition (Middleton 1990, 229). More than in early folk revival, however, the romantic idea of the poet as genius was thrust upon the folk-revival singer- songwriter from the 1960s onwards (Stratton, 45).9 For these "urban pop utilizers" there is a certain expectation of virtuosity in the lyrics, particularly regarding social content. This 65 virtuosity results in a corresponding reverence for the folk-revival performer. As cultural theorist John Fiske points out, "the veneration of the author-artist is a necessary correlative of the veneration of the text" (Fiske 1989, 125). In performance, therefore, the folk-revival audience is usually seated (that is, not dancing) and listens with careful attention to the poetry of the lyrics. Such rapt attention can be found in performances of folk revival because central to the aesthetics of the genre, at least at the height of folk revival's popularity in the early 1960s, is the idea of "authenticity" (Middleton 1990, 127), namely, that singers through their songs speak a timeless "truth" about the way of life of "the people." 1 0 Audiences continue to believe that folk revival speaks the "truth" about their lives because folksongs are evocative symbols of the past, a time when life was simpler and more honest (Bohlman, 130). Philip V. Bohlman suggests that all folk revival is an overt and explicit act of authentication. In fact, he argues that revival is the ultimate collapse of time and space because it fully admits of the efficacy of that collapse for creating contemporary meaning. Revival relies heavily on new symbols masquerading as the old.... The revivalist assumes that the audience will simultaneously imagine one set of values, strip those values from the music, and allow new . . . values to assert themselves (Bohlman, 131). For urban audiences, then, a modal melody with acoustic accompaniment, socially relevant lyrics, and an informal performance setting are among the parameters that signify that what they are hearing is folk revival. Genre in "la jalouse" by Jane Siberry Siberry's song "la jalouse" both adheres to, and departs from, the conventions of folk- revival. 1 1 Siberry borrows from the folk-revival genre in her negotiation of music, lyrics, and live staging practice, but breaks away in two specific ways. At the same time, she evokes two 66 further elements that do not overtly suggest folk revival. The creative tension resulting from Siberry's loose engagement with folk-revival conventions meets her aesthetic goal of creating a sophisticated play with genre types. Before analyzing the dissonances with folk revival, let us look at four factors in "la jalouse" that suggest the folk-revival genre. First of all, the melody of "la jalouse" (see Figure 2.1 below and Appendix 2, p. 237) is consonant with melodic practices of the folk-revival genre. Like traditional folksong, the melody is modal in the chorus (A aeolian in section B, mm. 9 to 14) and in the verses. In section A, mm. 1 to 8, the melody begins in D ionian and then changes to D dorian. Unlike traditional folksong, the bridge sections (C and D) actually change mode, in this case to D minor in mm. 15-19. Modulation is not part of traditional folk song practice; but it is typical of folk revival. For example, modulation is heard in Gordon Lightfoot's "Ribbon of Darkness" (Fowke, 48 - 49) and Joni Mitchell's "Night in the City" (Fowke, 56 - 57). Furthermore, although the melody of "la jalouse" is for the most part conjunct (except for the leap in the head motif), the range is almost an octave and a half (see the transcription in Appendix 2). This range is larger than that of traditional folk song, but is typical of folk-revival songs such as Joni Mitchell's "Both Sides Now" (Fowke, 54 - 55), which has a range of an eleventh. Figure 2.1 - Tonality in "la jalouse" Form: A B C A B D A B Key: D-d dorian a aeolian d D-d dorian a aeolian d D-d dorian a aeolian Secondly, the phrase lengths of "la jalouse" are consonant with the folk-revival genre in that they are typical of the asymmetries found in that style (see Figure 2.2 below). For example, Ian Tyson's "Four Rode By" (Fowke, 42) and Joni Mitchell's "Both Sides Now" (Fowke, 54) each 67 consist of both four- and three-bar phrases. Gordon Lightfoot's "Did She Mention My Name" consists of four-, six- and three-bar phrases (Fowke, 50), and Leonard Cohen's "Suzanne" consists of four-, two- and three-bar phrases (Fowke, 58). These asymmetries are either structural or resulting from the addition of extra beats to the end of a phrase, which is found in the loose sense of timing in both traditional folksong and folk revival. Figure 2.2 - Phrase Lengths in "la jalouse" Form: A B C A B D A B No. of mm.: 8 6 5 8 6 6 8 6 Furthermore, Siberry's subtly changing tempos (for example between sections B and D) successfully creates the organic ebb and flow experienced in both traditional folk song and folk- revival phrasing. For instance, after two 4-bar phrases of A material in "la jalouse," one expects two more 4-bar phrases of either BA or BB. And indeed one does get B material; however, it is six measures long. This is too long to fit the established pattern of four and too short to form the conventional group of eight measures. The subsequent bridge material only adds to the conventional ambiguity of phrase length; the C section is five measures long. Not only is this too long to be a 4-bar phrase, it is also asymmetrical. After the repetition of sections A and B, we hear the final bridge (section D). Like the B section, section D is again a 6-bar unit. Thirdly, Siberry's live staging practice is typical of folk-revival conventions. When I saw her perform in Toronto in 1990, she and two other musicians were seated on stools in a small hall wearing street clothes. There was no backdrop on the stage and the audience was seated in close proximity to the performers. Furthermore, the audience at the concert of the Bound by the Beauty 68 tour that I attended was seated and paid close attention to the performance. This was evident in their silence during the songs and their laughter at the humorous stories Siberry told between songs. The feeling of camaraderie that night was strong. Siberry had a cold, and a couple of times she could not reach some of the high notes. After one such failed attempt, one of the audience members called out in support, "We love you, Jane." It was clear from such interactions that Siberry had an unusually high level of camaraderie with her home audience that evening. Fourthly, the lyrics of "la jalouse" (see Lyric 12 in Appendix 1) are consonant with the conventions associated with the folk-revival genre. Like a traditional folk ballad, the lyrics here tell a story with a moral, namely, that extreme jealousy hurts a relationship. But the moral emerges from a much more complex set of lyrics than one would find in traditional folk song, a complexity typical of folk revival. For example, in the lyrics of a traditional folk ballad, the rejected lover laments, whereas in "la jalouse" the lament is inverted as it is the narrator (the "I", not the "you") who broke up the relationship; and although the couple reunites, they remain unhappy. The narrative in "la jalouse" is further complicated by the fact that there is some question as to the identity of the jealous woman of the title. At first it appears that "la jalouse" is the protagonist's lover, ("la jalouse/i told you to go/you trick me with all your lies you . . . drag me into your stinking pit.. . jalouse/don't cry, baby/just get out and never come back"). It is not until after the second verse that it becomes clear that it is the protagonist herself who is the jealous one: "i knocked the table over then i/i grabbed your shoulders then i/i threw you as hard as ever." By not naming or identifying the lover, but referring instead to "the jealous one" the song retains a focus on the narrator and the struggle is basically between the narrator and her 69 jealousy rather than the narrator and her lover. To put it another way, the song seems to set up a "self versus other" conflict, but then flips it into an internal conflict between "me" and "the jealous part of me." Part of the complexity of these lyrics is that the narrator conflates her lover and a personification of her jealousy. She is so internally focused that she is blind. This self- centredness is characteristic of jealousy, so perhaps this is the lesson of the narrative. Finally, the complexity of Siberry's lyrics is evident in the transformation of the narrative from a love-lost ballad into a statement about the nature of jealousy, by focusing on the temporal experience of jealousy itself via memory. In Siberry's narrative, the protagonist feels a lack of closure about being jealous of and subsequently unfaithful to her lover. Although her past infidelity meant nothing to the narrator, she is still haunted in the present by the jealousy she feels toward her lover. The listener too participates in this present-tense jealousy by re- experiencing it with the narrator via memory. The listener discovers that the jealousy felt by the narrator wreaks havoc in her relationship with her lover. To begin with, her jealousy makes her mistrust her lover ("you trick me with all your lies . . . drag me into your stinking pit"). In addition to casting suspicions in the first chorus, jealousy colours the protagonist's recollections of the past in the second verse. The narrator is torn between thinking good and bad thoughts about her lover. At one moment her lover is her friend ("mon amie") and the next, in a savvy wordplay not unlike she loves me/she loves me not, her lover is her enemy ("mon [sic] contre amie"). 1 2 The narrator repeatedly tries to dismiss her negative thoughts with "i told you to go." She instead concludes that her lover is her enemy and, in the climax of the song, chooses to remember likewise: "something you said tipped me off to who you were/we were talking in the kitchen/i closed my eyes i put the glass down/i knocked the table over then i/i grabbed your 70 shoulders then i/i threw you as hard as ever." The fact that this past-tense description is the most narrative of the entire song makes it clear these are the memories of the narrator. The blow by blow description of this violent event (emphasized with the repeated phrase "then i"), causes the listener to re-experience the memory along with the narrator and to therefore participate in the act of jealousy itself. The recollection of physical violence shows the extent to which jealousy consumes the narrator. 1 3 Clearly this is not just a song about a woman who felt jealous of her girlfriend ("mon amie"), and now has resolved the situation; but rather one about a narrator whose character is most frequently defined by jealousy. The unresolved nature of the narrator's jealousy is evident even in the final verse of the song. Although the couple is back together ("here, have some wine"), the narrator still talks down to her lover, saying, "where would you go anyway," as if she is the exclusive centre of her lover's universe. Realizing the inappropriateness of this comment, the narrator abruptly changes the subject. She suggests: "let's talk about old . . . let's review some things." But, as if catching herself idealizing the so-called "good old times," the narrator stops herself mid-sentence and remembers how, in fact, her jealousy has hurt her relationship with her lover. In the final chorus she now sees that it is precisely her jealousy that caused her infidelity. The narrator says: "you made me crazy lose my mind/now i can't remember why." In a small act of redemption the narrator points out that her infidelity did not reflect her lack of love for her lover: "i don't even like the guy," she confesses. So, although the narrator remains the jealous one of the title, she has at least gained some self-awareness by the end of the song, and toward that end (presumably) tells the listener her tale as a moral lesson. Siberry commented about the end of "la jalouse:" What I did hear in my head at the end of that song, was a girlfriend of mine and I, we really hit these windows of understanding and then laughed until we couldn't 71 stop. And that's how I wanted to end the song when she says "i don't even like the guy." It's almost like a French farce. So that was very powerful, but it didn't fit in with the song, these windows of understanding (Siberry 2001). By subverting the cliche happy ending, the complexity of the lyrics further exemplifies folk- revival. There are two parameters pertaining to "la jalouse" that allude to the folk-revival genre, but that are not strictly conventional. First of all, the timbre of the vocal is consonant with folk- revival in that Siberry utilizes a straight-tone vocal production throughout "la jalouse" and sings in close proximity to the microphone. 1 4 This method creates the feeling of intimacy so important to folk revival. Yet in various sections Siberry slips from her chest voice into falsetto —a practice dissonant with folk-revival convention, which uses a full-voiced timbre throughout.15 Breathy vocal production is more typical of jazz singers such as Helen Merrill than of folk-revival singers. While there are many pop singers who are unable to sing full-voiced in their upper register, Siberry is not one of these. For example, a full-voiced approach to the higher notes can be heard in mm. 24 and 41 of "la jalouse" (see Appendix 2). The occasional breathy tone colour in this song therefore is clearly an intentional vocal device. Contrary to timbral expectations found in art music aesthetics, Siberry does not reserve her most full-voiced timbre for the violent and angry narrative of section D (see Appendix 1, Lyric 12). She instead sings with her fullest voice in the first two A sections, those in which the narrator is most conscious of and antagonistic toward her own jealous nature ("lajalouse/i said no/la jalouse/i told you to go"). It is as if a full-voiced tone production is associated with the times when the narrator is grounded and can perceive her relationship with her lover most objectively. , In contrast, Siberry saves the sensual, breathy timbre for the sections which have to do 72 with' the narrator giving in to a state of jealousy. First of all, the breathy timbre used in the first and final B sections helps clarify the confusing personification of the narrator's jealousy, as if her "Jealousy" was an entity in its own right that sucks the narrator into a downward spiral: ("you trick me with all your lies . . . you drag me into your stinking pit. . . you made me crazy lose my mind"). Siberry describes the complexity of the lyrics here by saying: "I am reminded of. . . lyrically, where she is talking to part of herself on the other side of the table" (Siberry 2001). Secondly, the middle B section is sung in a breathy manner to portray the actual process of "Jealousy," the narrator's alter ego, seducing the narrator. The narrator says: "something you ["Jealousy"] said tipped me off to who you [the narrator's lover] were" [namely, the narrator's "contre amie"]. Finally, Siberry's breathy vocal production is used to indicate "Jealousy" actively at work in the middle of otherwise-narrative phrases. The breathy timbre is employed at the "then i" repetitions to separate them from the rest of the phrases in section D, as if it was "Jealousy" who committed these violent acts, and not the narrator herself. Similarly, a breathy tone colour is used in the final A section, when the narrator slips into "Jealousy"'s trap of remembering the old times as good, when they were not ("let's talk about old . . . let's review some things"). Related to the use of a breathy vocal timbre is Siberry's breaking up of the vocal line after the revelation of violence in section D. The interruption of the vocal phrase with rests in mm. 44 and 47 to 52 creates the effect of a catch in the voice, as if the narrator is sobbing in remorse. These subtle uses of vocal timbre by Siberry are not only helpful in clarifying the obscurity of pronouns used in "la jalouse," but also in colouring the meaning of the lyrics. Such a nuanced use of timbre, however, is not conventional to the folk-revival genre. Usually folk revival is sung with a consistent tone colour and uninterrupted phrases. Individual words are not given colour with the addition of rests. Secondly, the instrumentation of "la jalouse" is largely, but not entirely, consonant with the folk-revival genre. The song consists of a single vocal accompanied by what sounds like an acoustic guitar in the foreground of the mix.1 6 Tellingly, when Siberry went on tour to preview this album, she played at several folk festivals in Canada and the United States. When I saw her in Toronto, she performed with only guitarist Ken Myhr and piano/accordion player Teddy Borowiecki. In her rendition of "la jalouse" the latter sat out. The recording done for the album features two other instruments besides guitar: stand-up bass and drums, both unusual in folk revival. These instruments cause a blurring of genres. The bassist often just plays pedal tones, but his presence creates an instrumentation associated more with a small jazz combo than with folk revival. The fact that the drummer uses only brushes further creates an aura of the cool-jazz ballad. Indeed, if the guitar had sounded more electric, this song could quite possibly be heard as a jazz quartet. This is perhaps not surprising since the performance context of both the folk revival song and the small-combo jazz ballad share the parameter of the intimate vocal. Siberry commented of "la jalouse," One important thing I didn't add to it was samples, because the record was conceived as an acoustic album. The whole record was off the floor. The previous record, The Walking, was very heavily manipulated. The overall benign sound of Bound by the Beauty was not manipulated. I didn't have any samples (Siberry 2001). While both jazz and folk revival are conventionally recorded "off the floor," the instrumentation in "la jalouse" complies with neither genre. Rather, it is a hybrid of the two. Finally there are two parameters of "la jalouse" that are overtly dissonant with the conventions of the folk-revival genre. The first is form. The form of "la jalouse" has folk- 74 revival elements, but these are problematized with the intrusion of pop music elements. Although "la jalouse" is in the form of a folk ballad (that is, it utilizes a traditional verse-chorus structure), it contains not one but two bridges (sections C and D, respectively). The form of "la jalouse" is thus ABCABDAB (see Figure 2.2 above). While the presence of one bridge (section D) is typical of the genre of pop music, Siberry departs from pop music conventions by inserting an additional bridge (section C) early in the song, before contrast is even required. The presence two bridges (C and D) adds a level of formal complexity not typical of folk revival. 1 7 The second parameter that is dissonant is the use of mixed metre. Although mixed metre is common in traditional folk balladry, it is not conventional to the folk-revival genre. In "la jalouse" the presentation of the mixed metre is particularly odd because all the sections of the song are in conventional 4/4, except for the D section, which alternates between 4/4 and 3/4 (see Appendix 2). The metric alternation here coincides with the most narrative and confessional section of the lyrics (that is, the repeated "then i" phrases). The fact that the mixed metre only occurs in a single section, however, is dissonant with both traditional folksong and folk-revival conventions. Furthermore, the metric alternation in section D results in an additional measure that artistically replaces the oddity of the earlier five-bar bridge (section C) with a more normative six-bar transition (section D) back to the final return of sections A and B (see Figure 2.2 above). This artistic working out of compositional "problems" is again atypical of both traditional folk balladry and the folk-revival genre. Therefore "la jalouse" contains parameters which have both consonant and dissonant associations with the conventions of folk-revival. The consonant fits with the folk-revival genre, however, are more important signifiers than the dissonant parameters, those that suggest the jazz and pop genres. Overall, the folk- revival genre dominates. Paramount to evoking folk revival is the complexity of the lyrics, 75 which transforms the narrative from a love-lost moralizing ballad, into a folk-revival statement about the nature of jealousy. The performance context, in which there is a democratization between the audience and performer via the small venue, sparse staging, and informal stage craft, is also of the utmost importance in establishing the feeling of camaraderie conventional in folk revival. The change of mode and especially the intimate vocal timbre in the wide-ranging melody are clear markers of folk-revival conventions as well. In contrast, the two elements in "la jalouse" that less clearly suggest the folk-revival genre are not that noticeable. Siberry's instrumentation (which unexpectedly uses jazz bass and drums in addition to the conventional voice and guitar combination) is more prominent than her subtle use of vocal timbre. Finally, the parameters that are most dissonant are perhaps those least striking to the average listener. The formal structure is problematized with two pop-derived bridges, and mixed metre in section D. The fact that the irregular phrase length of section C becomes artistically worked out in the subsequent section D would not likely be noticed by casual listeners. All these generic consonances and dissonances lead to one major question: why, with such a close fit with the other folk-revival parameters, does Siberry complicate those of metre, form, and to a lesser degree, instrumentation? Certainly the song would have been sufficiently interesting without breaking the conventions of folk-revival. The answer, I contend, has to do with Siberry's attitude towards genre itself. Although as a musician she comes out of the tradition of folk revival, Siberry cannot blindly follow the conventions of that genre. She needs to add an additional layer of complexity to the parameters of metre and form. The reason for this need is that from early in her career Siberry has understood herself to be a rock auteur. While her music is not blues-based like rock 'n' roll, Siberry has chosen to 76 align herself with the rock tradition of the artistic singer-songwriter by consistently adding complexity to certain parameters in the genres she employs. In doing so she creates songs that stand directly opposed to the simplicity of the three-chord pop style, a move also foundational to rock criticism. Despite the current conflation of rock and pop, Siberry has retained the concept of the rock auteur and continues to write, record, produce, and market her own musical and lyrical materials. She has complete artistic control over her songs and creates new forms within a range of contrasting genres. Furthermore, in employing a rock auteur stance, Siberry is not as obligated to conform to the generic parameters outlined in the folk-revival prototype as a folk purist would be. Having these freedoms does not, however, require flaunting them in every song. And so in the example of "la jalouse," the fit with the stylistic prototypes is quite consistent, with the exception of the parameters of instrumentation, metre, and form. Thus, from the example of "la jalouse," it is evident that Siberry has a complex attitude towards genre. Although she intentionally complicates generic parameters in this example of folk revival, Siberry can ultimately convince an audience that they are hearing the folk-revival genre because of the sense of balance in her music and intimacy in her performance. Siberry explains, "There's an innate truth, a ferret-, weasel-like wisdom within the inarticulate listener that recognizes balance or not, and . . . there is a bit of truth to the female singer-songwriter" (Karen O'Brien, 191). These nebulous qualities—call them, mood—are evident on the recording of "la jalouse." They are all the more potent live. Add to this sense of mood the poignant narrative in the lyrics of "la jalouse," and it becomes clear that Siberry is quite capable of creating an overall consonant fit within the folk- revival genre. Herein lies her power as a performer to her fans. Siberry knows this and has repeatedly named the creation of mood as her prime artistic intention (Adria, 125). It seems likely that 77 Siberry works within and comes from a "discourse community" that embraces folk revival because its audience values the sort of aesthetic values (for example, intimacy) that Siberry shares with them. At the same time, however, the employment of contrasting genres on other albums allows Siberry to create a variety of musical products while retaining unity within her compositional method. Nowhere is this more clear than in her negotiation of the electro-pop genre. 78 Notes for Chapter 2 1 . My use of the term "folk revival" is merely a shortened version of such terms as "folk-music revival" (which would include instrumental music such as bluegrass) and "folksong revival" (which refers mainly to the urban revival of sea shanties and folk ballads—often specifically Child ballads—as well as new songs). In the past the term "urban" was positioned in front of both of the two latter terms to distinguish this music from traditional rural folk genres. As pockets of undisturbed rural areas have become virtually impossible to find in Western Europe and North America, however, it has come to be understood in folklore scholarship that almost all folk revival today is urban (thus rendering the adjective unnecessary) in that, traditional or otherwise, it can only be mediated within an urban context. 2 . Sharp's theory of folk music is based on a Darwinian model, which included concepts of: continuity, that the past and present are lined by the passing on of tradition; variation, that melodies are altered by performers; and selection, that songs are chosen according to communal taste. 3 . Although the first revival (1903-1914) emphasized songs rather than instrumental music, during the First World War many of these early collectors died. In fact, so great was the loss of leadership that, by 1932, the English Folk-Song Society became subsumed by the English Folk- Dance Society, calling itself the English Folk Song and Dance Society (Gammon, 338). 4 . For example, early collectors published more modal songs than major and minor, disregarding what they had notated in the fields (Gammon, 327). 5 . As discussed in the Introduction, genre is a particularly helpful paradigm for making sense of the world (and in this instance, music) in postmodern society. Comparing one genre to another clearly shows alternate ways of dealing with specific musical parameters. Thus comparing different genres immediately lays bare the unspoken assumptions associated with the meanings of a genre, hiding behind the rhetoric or naturalized discourse of the genre. Although genres change over time, the fact that terms for them exist in everyday language shows that they have a "stabilized-for-now" place in the world (Schryer, 107). Negotiating the meanings of a musical genre thus becomes a dialectical process for the reader. Delineating musical parameters is necessary to distinguish genres, while the analysis of genre conventions helps a listener to place the significance of musical details (Walser 1993, 28). 6 . One might ask, with such confusion over the term "folk" and in light of the rejection of the term by folklorists in 1980, why I would invoke the term here at all. The answer is that the term still exists in popular culture (as can even be seen in Mark Miller's definition). It seems self- evident that Carolyn Miller is correct to "insist that the 'de facto' genres, the types we have names for in everyday language, tell us something theoretically important about discourse" (Miller, 27). 7 . The Newport Folk Festival of 1965 is traditionally seen as the beginning of folk rock because it is here that Bob Dylan first performed live with an electric, rather than acoustic guitar. Although the audience at the folk festival was outraged and booed Dylan offstage, in negotiating 79 the style of folk rock Dylan's career improved dramatically. Subterranean Homesick Blues (1965) was the first of Dylan's albums to place in the pop charts (Shaw, 131). 8 . It should be noted, however, that Siberry's album, Hush (2000), negotiates folk revival in the manner which Stekert calls "the new aesthetic." The songs on this album are not newly-written by Siberry, but rather are arrangements by her of traditional English folk songs and American spirituals. The fact that these songs are traditional, however, does not mean that they are closer to a traditional folk music performance aesthetic; and the fact that these are only arrangements of traditional folk song makes them no less compositional in scope. For example, "The Water Is Wide" is a folk song with four strophes that begins with a piano and nonsense-vocable introduction that leads into the performance of the first strophe by a single straight-tone vocal accompanied only by piano. So far this is a relatively convincing negotiation of folk revival, but what follows only takes the listener further and further away from the solo performance aesthetic of folk revival. There is a piano instrumental before the second strophe, and when the second strophe begins, not only is there a multi-part harmony in the vocal, but to the piano accompaniment is added a synthesizer wash. Following the second strophe, the folk melody is repeated by an oboe as the introductory material (the vocal accompanied by piano) simultaneously returns. In the third strophe the melody is again in the multi-part vocal, but now, in addition to the piano accompaniment, there is an oboe obbligato. Another instrumental is heard before the final strophe, which again consists of piano accompaniment, oboe obbligato, and another multi-part vocal. The piece ends with a piano and synthesizer tag, and the last sound heard is a sustained note on the synthesizer. There is perhaps nothing more ideologically dissonant with the "authenticity" of folk song than the sound of a synthesizer; yet this album was not only marketed as a collection of traditional folk song, but also nominated for a Juno in the "Best Traditional Solo Album" category in 2001. 9 . Stekert points out, for example, that early folk-revival singer-songwriters, such as Woody Guthrie and Aunt Molly Jackson, were celebrated as the living voices of the "noble savage," rather than for their skill as performers or writers of folk song. On the contrary, Guthrie and Jackson "were unskilled performers both in terms of the traditional aesthetic with which they were raised and in terms of the urban aesthetic within which they were subtly required to produce" (Stekert, 154). 10 . The notion of "authenticity" that formerly held together contrasting definitions of folk song by folklorists (they could at least all agree that folk was not pop) has since been debunked, as has the notion of "the people" (Fiske 1989, 24). Middleton has summarized the deconstruction of the authenticity myth (Middleton 1990, 139). The notion of "authenticity" remains, however, because it is a "practical" way of categorizing different types of music in the oral tradition (Nettl, 11). Furthermore, Simon Frith points out that the "problem" of folk "authenticity" is solved in the experience of the folk festival. The folk fest "offers the experience of the folk ideal, an experience of collective, participatory music making," which makes a concerted "attempt to deny the actual (communal) separation of folk stars and folk fans" (Frith 1996, 41). 1 1 . A better example of a Siberry song which contains an overall consonance with the conventions of the folk- revival genre is "puppet city" from Teenager (See Lyric 11 in Appendix 1). This song consists of a single straight-tone vocal accompanied only by acoustic guitar. The 80 lyrics of this song, addressing the socialization of women in society, also contain the requisite socio-political insight. It is instructive to note, however, that despite the overall consonance of this song with folk-revival conventions, Siberry does problematize the parameter of form. The form of "puppet city" is ABABA'CAB; thus, the conventional stanza-refrain structure is marred by a pop-derived bridge section (C). 12 . The use of French in the lyrics of "la jalouse" creates more than just a savvy word play here (literally, "against friend" as enemy). It also introduces and explains gender ambiguity in the characters. When reading the lyrics, it becomes clear that the female narrator (evidenced by her reference to herself with the title, "la jalouse") cheats on her female lover ("mon amie," who would more correctly be called "ma contre amie") with someone who, not only she does not really like, but who, in addition is a "guy." Of course, this nuance of gender is not evident aurally (since ami and amie sound identical). Nonetheless, it would not be possible to achieve the same effect using an English lyric, which has gender-neutral nouns. The use of French in the lyrics, along with the breathy quality of the vocal, could also be an allusion to the French torch singer tradition. Commenting on the unprecedented use of French in "la jalouse" Siberry said, "I was looking for something a little bit softer than the word jealousy . . . Maybe I was thinking of something like that from the French tradition." [The French torch song tradition?] " Maybe" (Siberry 2001). 13 . In an alternate reading, it could be that the narrator is "tipped off to the jealous part of herself and rather than throwing an actual person "as hard as ever," she is really getting rid of the jealous part of herself. 14 . My thanks to Serge Lacasse for bringing up this last point after a paper I presented at the conference for the Canadian chapter of IASPM at the University of Western Ontario in May 2001. 15 . The following analysis of vocal timbre in terms of breathy/not breathy is a rather simplistic binary approach to timbre. However, in an attempt to expand the limits of timbral representation in Western discussions of music, this is a starting place. Along with Adam Krims, I find an analysis like this more "culturally relevant" to listeners than the use of "spectrographs, or other such 'scientific' measuring devices" (Krims, 53). 16 . While the guitar in "la jalouse" sounds like an acoustic guitar, the song, in fact, uses two different instruments: a classical guitar and a carefully filtered electric guitar. That Siberry would alter the sound of an electric guitar by applying a chorus effect in order to make it sound acoustic shows to what extent she has embraced the folk-revival genre over that of folk rock. 17 . While Siberry tends to complicate the forms of her songs to create a dissonance with folk- revival convention, there are also examples of folk-revival songs that are consonant with folk- revival formal conventions. "Above the Treeline" from Jane Siberry, for example, never veers from the stanza-refrain structure conventional to folk revival (See Appendix 1, Lyric 5). The form of this song is AABABABB'B' (The B' here indicates a half-chorus, and it should be conceded that the second B' has an extended ending or tag). There are other parameters in this song that are dissonant with folk revival, however. The instrumentation, for example consists of not just a single, straight-tone vocal with piano accompaniment, but also synthesizer, bass, and 81 drums. In addition, there are multi-part harmonies used in the B section vocal. This instrumentation is more akin to folk rock than to folk revival. CHAPTER 3 82 THE ELECTRO-POP GENRE This chapter investigates Siberry's approach to the electro-pop genre of pop/rock 1 (notes for Chapter 3 begin on p. 105). The combination of the term "pop/rock" here is, in part, anachronistic. While today there is frequently little distinction made between pop and rock, in the decade preceding the rise of the electro-pop genre, the difference between them was a point of heated contention. With the popularity of electro-pop in the early 1980s, however, the lines between the pop and rock began to blur for the first time since the late 1960s. Thus, while it is appropriate to speak of the electro-pop genre as one influenced by both rock and pop, it is also important to note that at its coming of age the old rhetoric concerning the difference between rock and pop was still in the air. Even while a new generation of rock critics were embracing and defending what was conceived of as the "new pop" they were in essence bestowing upon pop the authenticity of rock aesthetics (Goodwin 1990, 268). Indeed, from the rock press in the early 1980s a critical discourse began to emerge from the theories of postmodern and poststructuralist French thinkers Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault and Jean Baudrillard and the English sociologist Dick Hebdige. Clearly for progressive rock, with its obsession with transcendence, performance and authorship, this caused chaos. Celebrated instead were disco and pop, musics in which the main component was "the beat".... It was not simplicity that was celebrated, but the whole idea that popular music meant, represented, stood for and conveyed nothing apart from itself. Much piffle was also written about the mind/body dimension of the music (body objective—mind subjective) (Stump, 263 - 264). Despite the acceptance of pop by certain rock critics, a discourse that opposes pop and rock remains even today. No rock critic, for example, would even consider calling the Back 83 Street Boys a rock band. Similarly, no one would dare to call Pearl Jam a pop act (despite their obvious popularity). The difference between the two bands is clearly delineated by their respective styles and in how and to whom they are marketed. On the other hand, there are a myriad of bands that straddle this line, who can be heard as either rock or pop.2 The prevalence of bands representing the middle of the pop/rock continuum today has effected how we (re)categorize earlier bands in hindsight. Bands such as ABBA, who once represented pop music exclusively, have now gained more prestige in rock criticism. Indeed, an entry about the band is included in The New Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock and Roll (1995) after years of being omitted. From the vantage point of 1970s rock criticism, however, Siberry's switch in the 1980s to the electro-pop genre from that of folk revival would have seemed like a leap in the wrong direction: from intelligent and artistic to inarticulate and commercial. The "progression" is more logical, however, when viewed through the discourse of the next generation, that of the rock intelligentsia of the 1980s who embraced pop music.3 These critics argued that just as folk revivalists came to accept folk rock, so should progressive rockers come to accept synth rock. The "authenticity" of a genre did not necessarily change with a switch in technology or instrumentation. An auteur remains an auteur despite a change of medium. A rock auteur's engagement of pop music in the 1980s, then, was no more "selling out" than when folk-revival singer-songwriters chose to embrace folk rock. Even for rock critics who accepted pop music, there can be little doubt that while only three years separated Siberry's first and second albums, the difference between the two was rather dramatic on first hearing. The juxtaposition of the folk-revival genre heard on Jane Siberry with that of electro-pop heard on No Borders Here is indeed arresting. Not only is No Borders Here a 84 completely new (non-acoustic) sonic world for Siberry, but it also connotes novel social meanings. After all, no instruments were more antagonistic to the acoustic "authenticity" of folk revival than electronic instruments, especially the synthesizer and drum machine.4 Siberry's foray into pop/rock on No Borders Here, however, was not a complete change. Almost half of the tracks on her debut album used the synthesizer in three basic ways. It is used either for effects (in "The Sky Is So Blue"), as a monophonic line to fill out a harmony (in "Above the Treeline"), or as a background wash to create sonic filler (in "In The Blue Light"). In no way does the synthesizer overshadow the acoustic guitar (or piano) that is placed in the foreground of the mix. Only the longest song on the album, "The Magic Beads," uses the synthesizer as both melodic filler between verses and a sustained harmonic wash during the verses, in such a substantial way as to anticipate Siberry's exploration of the electro-pop genre on No Borders Here. The use of the electro-pop genre came to define the Siberry's personal sound throughout the early 1980s.5 Siberry created some of her most serious and poignant songs in that genre, but also revealed tracks that are very playful in tone and exhibit humorous lyrics (for example, "I Muse Aloud" and "Waitress"). Electro-pop is characterized by heavily over-dubbed production techniques, the use of effects (such as echo, reverb, vocoder, etc.), and the employment of electronic instruments. In particular, the use of the digital synthesizer (such as the Fairlight) provided a novel synthetic sound, and quickly became a signifier of modernity in rock music at that time. Toronto visual artist and singer-songwriter Kurt Swinghammer recalls, Jane Siberry was pretty remarkable for achieving this really state-of-the-art big band—she had a Fairlight guy, and any time you saw a TV screen on stage, that was pretty significant at that time; [a Fairlight] cost $60,000. That was a real achievement, but her records from that period sound really dated because of it; time-capsule type sounds. The drum sounds are very specific, Linn drums. But at 85 the time it was very impressive (Barclay et al, 214). While the incorporation of synthesizers into the world of rock in the 1980s came to signify modernity, this move was rather surprising. For although the incorporation of digital synthesizers is a logical extension of the use of analog synthesizers found in progressive rock (which had its heyday in the years 1967 - 68), progressive rock had long been defunct by the 1980s.6 It had been replaced in the 1970s by such guitar-based genres as glam or glitter rock (David Bowie) and heavy metal (Led Zeppelin). These rock genres did not use analog synthesizers because of the association of those instruments with disco. Disco is a genre of pop music that was popularized in the late 1970s by such mainstream bands as the Bee Gees and ABBA after being watered down of its associations with the black and gay underground. Certain rock intelligentsia at the time, however, continued to define rock in opposition to pop music. Disco was ridiculed mercilessly in the rock press. The back pages of Rolling Stone magazine, for example, ran ads for shirts sporting the slogan "Disco Sucks" (Frith 1983, 21). In such a climate, one would have expected rock critics and musicians in the 1980s to shrink away from embracing the "inauthentic" synthesizer and its association with disco and an indiscriminating mass audience. What happened instead was that the digital synthesizer, with its user-friendly recording applications, was conceived of, and marketed as, something completely new. The synthetic sound of electronic instruments in the early 1980s came to epitomize all that was chic, urban, and modern—the very latest in scientific and musical progress (Middleton 1990, 90). In addition, the new sound was employed with a coldness and irony that was a reaction to the personal confession which had come to be conceived of as the self-indulgence of the singer-songwriter tradition. As a result, both disco and progressive rock became affiliated with what was soon 86 perceived as old-fashioned analog technology. The new digital technology supplanted the old analog and thereby dated the older musical styles, despite the common denominators between the respective styles.7 For this reason, in part, disco and progressive rock were criticized harshly in the rock press (Goodwin 1990, 269). It was as if these once-modern styles were now perceived as errors in judgement, like buying a Beta VCR~a stigma that remains to this day in the case of progressive rock (although there is now a renewed, albeit underground, interest in the older sounds). Because synthetic sounds came to be used prominently in various genres produced by the musicians active in both rock and pop in the 1980s, the differences between rock and pop began to blur. Lush studio production and the use of synthesizers that had most recently been associated exclusively with pop music (and continued to be so, exemplified in the early 1980s in performers such as Chicago, Lionel Richie, Air Supply) were suddenly embraced in rock. Instead of electric instruments, particularly the electric guitar, which was a signifier of rock, electronically synthesized instruments, such as synthesizers, drum machines, bass, keyboards and even synthesized vocals, were now included in rock. The pervasive use of electronic instruments in the synth rock genre created a sound that was sonically interchangeable with various pop genres. The supposed sonic leap in the mainstream from electro-pop and electro funk to punk, new wave, and synth-rock was at the time more of a hazy continuum.8 Common to all types of popular music in the 1980s [were]: washes of synthetic strings, sudden bursts of synthetic brass, bell-like or chimelike chordal backdrops, metallic-sounding sequenced ostinato patterns, throbbing synthetic bass lines, and the unmistakable synthetic resonance of drum machines or electronic drums (Macan, 193). The sonic blurring between musical genres aided by the uniform electronic sound created 87 an unprecedented capacity for cross-over success in the early 1980s. An artist like Prince, for example, could write and perform songs in such contrasting genres as funk, soul, rap, and house and still be considered a rock star, in part because he could actually play—rather than just sample- -instruments (Goodwin 1990, 268).9 While his music usually retained the use of electric guitar, his overall sound was unified by the foregrounding of electronic instruments. Indeed, the prevalence of electronic instruments in early 1980s created for the first time in rock history a moment in which one could not hear the difference between rock and pop. While differences between rock and pop were not manifested sonically, they remained in the lyrics. Indeed, there was a mixture of lyrical topics in electro pop. As rock radio stations began to incorporate pop songs on their play lists, antagonistic outlooks could be found in electro-pop lyrics. Subject matter turned to more mundane topics such as romance and personal relationships as well as to socially conscious lyrics that reflect the political coming of age of.. . environmentalism, attempts to address problems of urban decay, advocacy of the homeless, etc. (Macan, 194). As such, vapid love songs (such in REO Speedwagon's "Keep on Loving You," which hit #1 in 1981) associated with the pop tradition, were heard alongside the deeper offerings that drew on the singer-songwriter tradition by employing such topics as psychology, religion, mythology, science, feminism, and art. (These topics were addressed in the lyrics of mostly non-mainstream songs by such singer-songwriters as Kate Bush, Peter Gabriel, Brian Eno, Laurie Anderson, and Jane Siberry-although Peter Gabriel's album, So, went to #2 in the Billboard charts in 1986.) Even styles affiliated with gay disco were eventually resurrected and played on radio stations that had formerly been reserved for guitar-based rock. (The Pet Shop Boys, for example, had hits with "Domino Dancing," "Opportunities" and "West End Girls" in 1986 and "It's a Sin" and 88 "Always on my Mind," and "What Have I Done To Deserve This" in 1987, while Erasure had hits with "Chains of Love" and "A Little Respect" in 1988). The unprecedented mixing of various musical genres (and their affiliated subcultures) within rock and pop had to do, in part, with the opening up within rock of "intertextuality." 1 0 To an unprecedented extent, rock now allowed itself to borrow from contrasting subcultures and idioms (Reynolds, 468). No longer was rock exclusively a guitar-based, working class music. Instead it mixed and matched sounds and images from such disparate idioms as R&B (in the funk genre), pop (as represented by the singer-songwriter tradition), and punk. While the use of what has been called "intertextuality" was a mode of irony learned from the "bricolage" in punk, its use in marketing electro-pop videos and stars was largely responsible for the success of the genre (Hebdige 1990, 62). Like punk, music videos from the 1980s were characterized by the juxtaposition of unrelated signs and images. The rise of video, aided by the inauguration of MTV on 1 August 1981, created a new generation of image-oriented electro-pop musicians. While on the one hand the unprecedented emphasis on image opened the doors for a new generation of teenie-bopper heart-throbs (such pop stars as Wham and Duran Duran) and performers with an eccentric, post-punk fashion sense (exemplified by Boy George of Culture Club and Cyndi Lauper); on the other hand, it also created a space for women such as Annie Lennox (of Eurythmics) and Madonna to challenge "romantic myths constructed around the feminine" (Whiteley 2000, 149). Indeed, aided by video, 1980s pop/rock produced a veritable stream of new performers who produced what was for a time considered "new pop." What made this music "new" was not so much its highly produced sound as the unprecedented emphasis on topics outside that of cliche love lyrics. New pop musicians addressed topics other than love or sex, such as hope, feminism, 89 "dreams, obsession, visions, and crime" (Reynolds, 470). For pop, this concern with novel topics in the lyrics marked a paradigm shift. Indeed, in Britain, pop music from the early to mid-1980s "depended mainly on the notion of pop as an 'art' form, rather than, as in previous punk days, rock as a 'folk' form" (Redhead, 10). New pop eventually spawned the larger marketing category of "adult-oriented pop," but in the early 1980s the synthetic sound of new pop was intimately bound up with the electro-pop genre (Reynolds, 469). It would be useful to pause here and point out the important consequences that the rise of electronic music had for the entrance of women such as Siberry into rock. Until the 1980s, women's participation in rock music had been remarkably limited. They were exempt almost altogether from performing in genres such as art rock, glam rock, progressive rock, and heavy metal, being instead relegated to the role of girlfriend or groupie (Press, 293). In the exceptional instances where women did become mainstream rock performers, they usually only broke through the glass ceiling (an excellent example of this is Janis Joplin) by assuming the tough-girl role of posturing as "one of the boys" (Whiteley 2000, 66). My argument here is not that there were no women in rock until the 1980s, but rather that the few who succeeded in rock before this decade formed not a tradition of women in rock, but rather a mere handful of notable exceptions. The number of female practitioners, however, grew throughout the 1980s, until so many women had joined the rock genre that the grappling with "problems of image and representation and a revolt against conventional femininity... was to find its real voice in the 1980s' generation of female rock artists" (Whiteley 2000, 69). Prior to 1980, women often participated in rock by assuming male roles. At this time women could never have found a voice in rock based on the "girl group" model of pre-teen pop or in the tradition of the female country star. Even if they were prettily made-up women, such 90 rock musicians as Grace Slick of Jefferson Airplane, Joan Jett, and Pat Benatar consistently embraced male images of toughness. In the case of Chrissie Hynde (of the Pretenders) androgyny was even espoused. The same toughness was evident in punk performers such as Siouxie Sioux (of Siouxie and the Banshees) and even Deborah Harry (of Blondie). 1 1 It is telling that punk star Patti Smith quit performing altogether when she became a wife and mother. Despite success in punk, music where "anyone could play," Smith could not contradict her androgynous image and simultaneously maintain her fame. 1 2 The sonic blurring of genres in the early 1980s allowed female singer-songwriters, many of whom had apprenticed in folk-revival or punk, to cross over into rock via the virtually- indistinguishable genres of synth-rock and electro-pop. The participation of women in rock increased throughout the decade until the concept of "women in rock" became a veritable trend in the mainstream press (Gaar 1997, xi). Siberry was a part of this trend, a woman who crossed over from the folk-revival to the electro-pop genre by embracing the new digital technology. Before discussing Siberry's electro-pop music, a few words about the new technology are in order. Electro-pop was defined by the use of heavily over-dubbed production techniques facilitated by digital technology. Until the late 1950s, analog synthesizers had been monophonic (they consisted of only one melody per track, with no over-dubbing). By the early 1980s, not only had they become homophonic, but they could also interface with digital technology. 1 3 This new technology, pioneered by electro-pop musicians such as Thomas Dolby and Edgar Froese of Tangerine Dream, was largely responsible for the synthetic sound of electro-pop (Vail, 177). The over-dubbing of electronic instruments was greatly facilitated by the digital technology. Over-dubbing had also occurred in analog technology, but then each channel (an electric signal path) consisted of separate wire components. Musicians had to record one 91 instrument on one track and another on a second track. Indeed, every instrument or vocal line was put on a separate track. Then a recording engineer had to mix down around 16 synchronized tracks to two stereo tracks, and program volume, tone qualities (equalization and spectrum alteration), spatial effects (echo or reverb, if recorded flat), and stereo positioning. With digital technology, two or more voices, each already with their own distinct tone qualities, could be layered (the digital equivalent of analog over-dubbing) with a harmonizer and sounded from one key depression of a synthesizer, without mixing from tape. Furthermore, within this interfacing, MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) channels could share wiring (Vail 281). In fact, with the new technology, two or more distinct sounds, each from a different synthesizer, could be layered together and assigned to the same channel. Needless to say, the sharing of channels in digital technology became a much more efficient system than over-dubbing separate channels. Thus, layering became a more viable sonic option in the 1980s. The technique of layering instruments heard in electro-pop was also frequently evident in the vocals of the genre. Even if the vocals were not filtered through a synthesizer as in "Mr. Roboto" from Kilroy Was Here (1983) by Styx, the straight-toned vocals of solo artists were usually digitally processed with a harmonizer to form layered harmonies and/or multiple-voiced (that is, polyphonic) lines. The use of such an electronic processor resulted in an artificial sound. The use of echo also created a spatial effect that added to the effect of density. With analog technology a single singer had also been able to over-dub his or her own vocals on top of each other in harmony without the need for other singers, but this process required an engineer to mix down the separate tracks. The layering of vocals with a harmonizer was not only made more efficient with digital technology but also became a task that many artists eventually performed themselves (without a recording engineer). The facility of recording digitally meant that the 92 electro-pop vocal was more frequently layered than in prior styles. Because of the novelty of a vocal sound imbued with so many synthetic effects, the electro-pop genre became associated with artificiality. Since the digital technology that created the artificial sound was identified with scientific precision, the genre became affiliated with a lack of emotion and with "objective intellect" (Goodwin 1990, 265). Not surprisingly, many rock auteurs concerned with both scientific and musical progress gravitated to this genre. Thomas Dolby, for example, had a hit with "She Blinded Me With Science" from Blinded By Science (1983). Performance artist Laurie Anderson also released her first recordings in the early 1980s in the electro-pop genre. Like the Styx track mentioned above, Anderson sought to highlight the use of technology on her auteur albums. Not only were her song lyrics oriented toward science (for example, "Big Science" and "Let X be X" from Big Science), but the synthetic sound of her songs also emphasized the use of technology. She frequently spoke (rather than sang) her songs into a harmonizer to drastically alter the pitch of her voice. She also used an electric violin "fitted with tape heads, 'played' by a bow strung with pre-recorded tape" (Gaar 1997, 443). 1 4 In a "dance" segment of one of her performances she rigged her body with sensors in different places so that she could play a drum machine by touching parts of herself. Anderson commented: "Half of my time is spent either fixing things or reading manuals . . . because electronics are really my interest" (Gaar 1997, 444). Anderson's attraction to synthetic sounds was also reflected in the clothes she wore, which were often made of shiny materials. In addition, because "objective intellect" (and its association with economic power) had historically been ascribed to men rather than women, Anderson wore large suits and ties. 1 5 Siberry also embraced aspects of the electro-pop genre in her performance and composition. She wore shiny synthetic clothing and used synthesizers predominantly on her 93 albums from the 1980s, beginning with No Borders Here. The shift to synthesizers indicated not only a musical switch from acoustic to electronic instruments but also the embrace of a modern aesthetic characteristic of the electro-pop genre. The change also involved a move beyond the first generation of analog synthesizers, such as those used on her debut album, to digital synthesizers, which enabled the sampling of both musical and non-musical sounds onto a computer. Siberry commented, "During my second recording, No Borders Here a Fairlight was brought in for two songs. I was cautious. But I liked the sound of precision. And I loved the 'Caught' then 'Moveable.' Cut and paste" (Siberry 1999, 10). While Siberry was attracted to the precision of the synthesizer, in her embracing of the electro-pop genre she did not emphasize its associations with science, "objective rationality," and emotional control, as Anderson had. Rather, Siberry began to use the synthesizer for the artistic freedom that it provided her, particularly the ability to sample pre-recorded sounds. When asked if she thought that, because the synthesizer was a machine, it was more objective and less personal than acoustic instruments, Siberry replied, Oh no. Not at all. It's a freedom; and sometimes you can have more feel on a synthesizer because you play it yourself. I know exactly how my voice works and I know the sounds that I can create. And sometimes you can have a harder time getting that reediness of an oboe or the right sound from a string player; and a sample will give a closer approximation than a live sound will. So I see it as a freedom (Siberry 2001). Siberry's view of technology as a means to artistic expression is echoed by industrial music performer Paul Schutze. He sees a continuation between the stance of progressive rock and that of 1980s pop/rock, particularly in the figure of the musician/studio producer: These mammoth orchestral samples. That's where the virtuosity comes in. It's not the guitar or the keyboard anymore. The fetishization of equipment's still around. 94 The thing is, the producer's art hasn't yet been admitted to being one of virtuosity.... The extraordinary achievement of Prince as both studio wizard and musical miscegenator marks him down as—ironically for his blackness, pop sensibility and unashamed show business obsession—Progressive's 1980s dark side. As a devotee of both mechanical sonic contrivance and human visceral response, Prince's aesthetics transpose Progressive mores to a postmodern plane (Stump, 287 - 288). Both Prince's and Siberry's use of technology to enable artistic freedom, contrasts with Anderson's approach to technology as experimental play. Anderson commented: "A lot of my work comes from just playing around with equipment, seeing what it will do" (Odintz, 215). In contrast, an interest in artistic expression is evident even in Siberry's approach to the vocals in the electro-pop genre. Siberry consistently tries to downplay the use of technology in her electro- pop songs. Instead of foregrounding the synthetic sound of machines and altering her voice, she foregrounds her own vulnerability by insisting upon the very human quality of her vocal. Siberry's "humanizing project" is all the more apparent in an electro-pop context, since this pop/rock genre seeks to dehumanize music through the use of synthetic machines, like the vocoder (Middleton 1990, 262). Emphasizing the human aspect of her music is a continuation of the aesthetic of intimacy transplanted from Siberry's folk-revival roots. Furthermore, unlike Anderson's concern with science, Siberry's electro-pop lyrics centre on discussions of art and the artistic process. In the 1980s, Siberry released three electro-pop albums: No Borders Here, The Speckless Sky, and The Walking. While No Borders Here was new-wave oriented in its up-tempo musical energy, ironic humour in the lyrics, and Siberry's punk-influenced image (she dyed her spiked hair bright red, ignoring her mother's advice), these parameters gradually faded away in the two subsequent albums as Siberry more deliberately aligned herself with the electro-pop stream of rock auteurs. By the time of The Walking, Siberry's music was characterized by both the 95 parameters defining electro-pop (namely, the heavy layering of synthesized sounds, the use of multi-tracked, straight-toned vocals, and the emphasis on theatrics in her live staging practice) and those associated with the rock auteur. Genre in "goodbye" Siberry's song "goodbye" from The Walking (1987) is an excellent example of how she manages at once to embrace the technology of the electro-pop genre and to retain a folk-like intimacy. Thus, while the musical parameters of "goodbye" are generally characteristic of the electro-pop sound, they also manage to clearly assert emotions in a highly technological style. Specifically, the recording process, instrumentation, and live staging practice of the song suggest electro-pop, while the vocal production is unconventional, clashing with electro-pop expectations. By using the latest in studio technology, "goodbye" is a typical electro-pop song. For The Walking Siberry abandoned the live-band recording method of her earliest albums and instead painstakingly sampled parts into a computer layer by layer. As such, the computer was used "as a tape recorder for 'live' playing and also for sequencing from scratch" (Siberry 1999, 10). The instrumentation of "goodbye" is also conventional with the electro-pop genre. "Goodbye" (see transcription in Appendix 3) consists entirely of vocals and synthesizers, with the addition of bass, drums, and piano from mm. 30 - 55 and guitar from mm. 22 - 24. The relative brevity of the samples of the acoustic instruments indicates that they are added merely for colour rather than utilized throughout the song as conventional signifiers (of jazz and folk-revival, respectively, for example). In addition, the process of starting with a light texture and adding more and more layers is 96 typical of the conventions of electro-pop production. For example, Peter Gabriel uses this layering technique in the song "San Jacinto" on Security (1982) and Laurie Anderson uses it on "O Superman (for Massenet)" on Big Science (1982). The simultaneous use of contrasting synthesizer sounds in Siberry's song (bamboo synth, bell synth, water synth, organ synth, and generic synth) is also typical of the practice fostered by the use of digital technology. 1 6 The live staging practice of "goodbye" is a third aspect of the song that clearly matches electro-pop conventions. When Siberry toured with this album, what one saw was not so much a traditional rock concert as a theatrical show with a marked performative aspect, like that of a Laurie Anderson show. In addition to sporting shiny clothes, Siberry wore a head microphone to enable dynamic interactions with the rest of her band (particularly her backup singers), as opposed to sitting by a microphone on a stand and wearing street clothes, as she had with her folk-revival repertoire. 1 7 Not only did this tour contain choreography, but there was also a set. The backdrop on the stage included a laundry line (an important feature of the song "the bird in the gravel") that served many other visual purposes throughout the show. In contrast to these consonances in recording technique, instrumentation, and live staging practice, the vocals of "goodbye" include some use of vibrato, a dissonance with electro-pop conventions. The use of tone colour for dramatic effect in mm 30-31 goes against the very notion of "rational intellect" associated with electro-pop. Electro-pop songs most commonly distance the vocal sound, to make the timbre less human by altering the vocal track with effects (such as heavy echo, layering, and reverb) or by filtering it through a synthesizer with a vocoder. Siberry, however, does none of these things. The prominence of her very human sounding and frail voice is the most striking dissonance with electro-pop conventions. In a genre that emphasizes synthetic sounds, Siberry's vocal timbre retains the intimate quality of folk-revival, 97 departing from the aesthetics of electro-pop. Furthermore, although one would expect extensive vocal harmonies to showcase the digital technology (particularly since Siberry uses this technique elsewhere in her oeuvre, as we shall see in chapter 6), there are no vocal harmonies to be found in "goodbye." While the use of harmonized vocals is found on other tracks from this album ("the bird in the gravel"), polyphony can only be heard in section D of "goodbye." The vocal conventions of "goodbye" are thus dissonant with electro-pop conventions in their dramatic use of vibrato, the intimate vocal timbre, and the de-emphasis on layering. While the standardized form of electro-pop rarely deviates from pop conventions (e.g., the music of the Eurythmics), Siberry's approach to form in "Goodbye" is innovative, frequently diverging from formulaic generic expectations. As such, it can be heard as an example of an auteur song whose lyrics and music express complex emotions in innovative ways. The complexity of "goodbye" has similarities to the approaches used by other electro-pop auteurs of the time (Peter Gabriel, Kate Bush, the Police, among others). Although these artists did not shape a distinctive musical style, they shared the common approach of adding complexity to certain musical parameters and were marketed in a similar manner as "new pop" performers. In Synchronicity (1983), for example, the Police incorporated a rhythmic and metric complexity that is more akin to jazz or ska than to rock. 1 8 So too in "goodbye," the form, metre, and key are all problematized to fit with the aesthetic of complexity that characterizes the songs of rock auteurs in the 1980s. More specifically, in "goodbye" the form, metre, and key all work together to bring out the shifting narrative voice of the text. To begin with, the form of the song deviates from electro-pop standards. Mainstream electro-pop songs typically have a verse (A) and chorus (B) with some kind of shorter contrasting 98 or instrumental material called the bridge (C), combining together in a form like ABABCBB. The form of "goodbye," however, is more varied: introduction/ABA'CA'CDEA"/ coda. Even if one were to conceive of the repeated A section in "goodbye" as a chorus structure, the amount of variety in the other sections (except for the repeated C section) is foreign to electro-pop. More unusual yet are the facts that section D consists of an extended vocalization—something which rarely happens in mainstream electro-pop—and that section E is by far the longest section of the song. The use of metre in "goodbye" is related to the form in several ways. The unconventional form is complemented by the free rhythmic feel caused in part by the use of shifting metres. The almost continual expansion and retraction in the beats per measure makes the song seem wave-like. An additional metric flexibility and complexity is caused by the prolonged echo in the bamboo synthesizer, which produces a heterophony that makes hearing the metre difficult. 1 9 The in-and-out quality of this shifting sense of time (or downbeat) links up well with the formal repetition of the melodic themes.20 While the form is sectional in nature, the delineation of metre is not (see Figure 3.1). The shifting and flexibility of metres tends to occur within sections rather than between sections, except in the extensive use of 3/4 in sections D and E. As seen in Figure 3.1, the song's introduction is in 4/4, a metre that remains for the first A section and until the final measure of B (see m. 13 of Appendix 3), which anticipates the expanded 6/4 that characterizes the return of the section A melody. This gradual increase in the length of the metre is short-lived, as there is a return to 4/4 in m. 16 of section A. Like section B, the C section remains in 4/4 until expanding in the final measure (m. 21)~this time to 5/4. The third statement of section A again contracts from 6/4 to 4/4 beginning at m. 24 in anticipation of the 4/4 return of the second C section. This metric contracting anticipates the shortening of the 99 metre found in sections D and E, which remain firmly in 3/4 until the final measure of section E (m. 55). The 5/4 in this measure leads into the 6/4 reprise of section A" (beginning at m. 56). For the first time the metre of the chorus shortens with each subsequent measure (5/4 in m. 57 and 4/4 in m. 58) as if to anticipate the coda, which ends in 4/4. Figure 3.1 - Metre in "goodbye" Form: Intro. A B A' C A' C D E A" Coda Metre: 4/4 4/4 4/4-6/4 6/4-4/4 4/4-5/4 6/4-4/4 4/4 3/4 3/4-5/4 6/4-5/4-4/4 4/4 #ofmm.: 4 4 5 4 4 4 4 10 16 4 16 What is interesting about this wave-like metrical pattern is that the intensity of the music does not increase where the metre is expanding and where the texture is most layered (as in sections BA' and CA'); rather, the intensity increases as the metre is retracting and the texture (in terms of the number of instrumental layers) is diminishing in sections C, D, and E. In fact, the climax of the piece, beginning on the dramatic downbeat of section D, has the simplest instrumentation of all. There is at this point only a single synthesizer with the vocal, accompanied by a bass and drum that sound on the downbeats of each measure (until section E). The rich sound here is not achieved by adding more and more layers, but rather through increased volume, high tessitura, and an agogic accent. Raw emotion breaks through the layers of technology. The intensity is maintained throughout section D by layering a second vocal track on top of the first. The lack of narrative found throughout the lyrics of "goodbye" is characteristic of the electro-pop genre and of Siberry's lyrics on The Walking and the other electro-pop albums.21 In 100 this regard Siberry's electro-pop songs are unlike her earliest songs, which negotiated the folk- revival genre and used a linear narrative (see Appendix 1, Lyric 5). The non-linear lyrics of "goodbye" (see Appendix 1, Lyric 13) enhance the building and release of tension in the music. In each A section the lyrics begin with nature images: "tiny dot" "dry, the sand," and "lonely beach." As each section continues, these landscape images become shaded with storm elements: "waves that sigh," "clouds [that] collect out at sea," and "ceaseless wind." Finally, in the B and C sections, sentences connoting inadequacy take shape: "i'm always apologizing," "a thousand pardons trail behind," and "[i] still don't understand." It is not until the end of the final C section that the narrator's sense of loss becomes fully apparent. Her unfocussed thoughts and emotion are suddenly clarified when she explains: "i went to say i love you/but instead i said goodbye." At this point, images in words are no longer adequate in describing how the narrator feels. Instead, the climactic section D consists of a sample of the sound of a bird flying away and a vocalization that strongly resembles wailing. As mentioned above, it is only in this section that the vocal becomes polyphonic. That a hallmark of the electro-pop genre would be suppressed until just this point creates an emotional effect that could not have been achieved had vocal layering been used throughout the song. Just as the sudden appearance of polyphony accentuates the effect, so, too, the wordlessness of the vocalization serves to draw attention to the following section E, the longest and most continuously "wordy" section in the body of the song. The lyrics of section E rip us away from the present-tense seashore setting and into an imagined or recalled scene in a restaurant. This abrupt change in the narrative voice heightens the experience of loss and loneliness. The narrator's sense of isolation is all the more poignant since the conversation the listener hears contains only the protagonist's half. The one-sidedness of the text emphasizes the narrator's self-consciousness about suddenly being alone: the narrator 101 goes to a restaurant and asks for a table. Instead of obliging, the waiter apparently rubs in the fact that she is alone (the narrator responds, "no just for one"), and then says that there are no free tables for the narrator. When the protagonist protests: "but I know you do/i can see some from here," the waiter refuses until the narrator recants, saying "ok then say for two." The waiter mockingly asks her if another party will be joining her, and the narrator answers in frustration, "no there's only one/don't you want my business/i will never come back here." It is unclear if the word "here" in this line refers to an actual restaurant, a memory, the relationship the narrator had with her lover, or is a symbol that encompasses all three. In any event, the final A section abruptly leaves off the restaurant narrative and returns to the present (which is evidenced by the return of not only the A theme, but also its associated use of imagery). This time the narrator talks of her "love," whom she calls a "faithless dove." Despite the fact that she gave "all the love in the world," her lover was still unfaithful to her. This revelation makes the earlier climax all the more poignant. In fact, the image of the "faithless dove" can be heard as pointing back to of the sample of the bird flying off that was heard at the beginning of section D. The key centres of the piece (see Figure 3.2) are not typical of electro-pop. Rather, their careful presentation enhances the meaning of the lyrics. The seashore introduction as well as the first A and B sections are in A major. The second A section again begins with images of "feet" and "sand," but the images become more concrete as the "clouds collect out at sea" like an immanent storm. The storm connoted by this phrase prompts a tonicization of F# minor in m. 16 (see the transcription in Appendix 3, beginning on p. 243) that abruptly ends in m. 17 (on the word "sea") with an F chord.22 The half-tone between F# minor and F major is a rather surprising slippage, but works smoothly via a common tone (A) in the vocal. 102 Figure 3.2 - Tonality in "goodbye" Intro. A B A' C A' C D E A" Coda A A A A-m Bb A-m C f# A A-tit F 1-4 5-8 9-13 14-17 18-21 22-25 26-29 30-39 40-55 56-59 60-75 In the C section the protagonist "start[s] to run" only to find that she is not managing to get across the "grey span," despite her apologies. Rather, like a runner in a dream who remains stationary, "a thousand pardons trail behind." The urgency of this running image is captured in section C as the tonality rises from the F chord in m. 17 to Bb major, thus tonally re-interpreting the once-shocking (since it came from F# minor) F chord as V of Bb. The third A section begins with more overt images of a "lonely beach" and "ceaseless wind." The starkness of the beach and the never-ending quality of wind create a sense of panic in the narrator that is demonstrated by the abrupt shift here back to A major from the Bb tonality heard at the end of section C (V of Bb). As the protagonist cries out, "[i] still don't understand," there is again a tonicization of F# minor, with the final chord slipping to F major (this time F functions as IV of C). The sense of panic continues in the second section C, as we hear the narrator now "run as fast" as she can while her heart experiences "a missed beat/a quickening." This time the melody is surprisingly stated up a full tone (from the initial Bb statement), in C major. As the narrator explains the reason for her panic: "i went to say i love you/but instead i said goodbye," the C major tonality moves by step in the bass to F, C/E, and D minor, but then in m. 29 remains on a Bb/D chord. Instead of modulating to F major, however, we next hear a B diminished/D that does not resolve up a half step to C. In the D section, there is an abrupt change from the B diminished chord to a C# minor chord (one expected C after the Bb to B- diminished progression) and the crash of the hitherto unheard bass and drum (m. 30). The sound Form: Key: mm. 103 of wailing in the F# minor vocalization (mm. 34ff) is accented by the minor second alternation between the C# minor and D# minor chords throughout this C# (as V of F# minor and [iii] of the home key) pedal section. In the subsequent E section, by contrast, the entire restaurant narrative is unified by a consistent use of A major (although chords are often made dissonant through non-harmonic tones). The final A" section also begins in A major, but as the narrator thinks about "all the love" that she gave to her unfaithful lover, the mourning key of F# minor is briefly tonicized, only to resolve again to F major. The coda finally ends with F as the tonic. Thus Siberry uses the combination of tonality, form, and metre to build up to an intense musical climax in "goodbye." The climax is precipitated by a shift in the lyrics from imagery and a non-verbal wailing, to an extended narrative, and then briefly back to the original use of imagery. While "goodbye" exhibits an overall consonance with the electro-pop genre, particularly in its negotiation of the recording process, instrumentation, theatrical staging practice and non-linear lyrics; the complexity of metre, form, and tonality as well as the mixing of narrative and non-narrative modes in the lyrics are indicative of Siberry's auteur approach to pop/rock, one dissonant with electro-pop conventions. Indeed, Siberry's approach to the electro-pop genre as a rock auteur takes precedence over a consonance with the parameters of the electro-pop vocal. Although electro-pop conventions embrace a layering of vocals throughout a song, Siberry pointedly saved her vocal polyphony exclusively for the climax of "goodbye." It seems clear that she does not break genre conventions as an end unto itself, but rather deviates from listener expectation according to what she perceives as the musical necessity within a song. Furthermore, not only is Siberry's vocal unaltered by a synthesizer to create the synthetic sound often associated with the genre, but she 104 also takes pains to foreground the humanity of her voice. In direct opposition to the mechanized and/or echoed sound of electro-pop, Siberry asserts the intimacy of her folk-revival beginnings. As indicated in Chapter 2, this same emphasis on artistic license over fidelity to generic conventions was exemplified in "la jalouse," specifically in the parameters of meter and form. It is noteworthy that meter and form are also the parameters in "goodbye" that were dissonant with electro-pop conventions. In "la jalouse," however, the subversion of generic criteria created an even weaker sense of genre cohesion than that in "goodbye." The greater generic flexibility of the electro-pop genre has to do not only with the presence of other rock auteurs writing within the new pop aesthetic, but also with the larger blurring between genres that was prevalent in the early 1980s. 105 Notes to Chapter 3 1. "Electro-pop" is a British term, used by such critics as Andrew Goodwin (1990). Its American equivalent is "technopop." I have avoided the use of the term "technopop," which Douglas White defines as "pop music with heavy use of electronic instruments," because it could easily be confused with a genre of dance music called "techno," which White defines as "electronic dance music with heavy use of synthesizers and drum machines" (White 1998, 170). Electro-pop is a genre of pop/rock, while techno is a genre of electronic. 2 . Michael Jackson, Prince, Tina Turner, Pat Benetar, the Police, Robert Palmer, The Mamas and the Papas, Don Henley, the Eurythmics, and Dire Straits have all received Grammy Awards in the rock category, but could just as easily be conceived of as pop performers. Indeed, such members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as Elvis Presley, The Beatles, The Beach Boys, Van Morrison, Simon and Garfunkel, and Rod Stewart have produced far more pop than rock throughout their careers. 3 . Such critics include Simon Frith, Simon Reynolds, and Andrew Goodwin. 4 . After Bob Dylan's use of the electric guitar in his negotiation of the folk-rock genre, electric guitar came to be considered acceptable in some folk-revival circles—particularly by those interested in the blues tradition. 5 . The continuity of genre found in Siberry's electro-pop albums from the 1980s (after Jane Siberry) forms a marked contrast to her fleeting negotiation of genre in the 1990s. The country- pop genre, for example, can be heard on only a handful of Siberry tracks. Although such songs as "something about trains" and "bound by the beauty" from Bound by the Beauty and "Up the Loggin' Road" from Tree all clearly evoke country, Siberry has other songs (such as "Calling all Angels" from When I was A Boy and "Hain't It Funny" from A Day in the Life) that do not contain the necessary country music markers. They were, however, written with the country idiom in mind. 6 . By defunct I mean that progressive rock disappeared from the rock mainstream. Of course, progressive rock never totally died. It just went underground as "prog," where it remains to this day. 7 . Progressive rock, for example, had "actually bucked, rather than upheld a traditional rockist emphasis on spontaneity and immediacy by this act of supreme aesthetic detachment." What the rock press had called the "frigid calculation" of progressive rock's studio production, in the 1980s became fashionable again (Stump, 353). Similarly, the emphasis on dancing in disco formed a continuum with 1980s pop. 8 . Often, musicians supposedly representing contrasting genres sounded quite similar. For example, electro-pop musicians at the time included such bands as Depeche Mode, Eurythmics, Wham, and Culture Club, while electro funk performers included Prince, Michael Jackson, and Madonna. Punk musicians included Patti Smith and Siouxie and the Banshees, while synth rock 106 bands included Journey, REO Speedwagon, Survivor, Foreigner, Styx, Duran Duran, and Hall & Oates. New wave, which included such bands as Blondie, Devo, and the B-52s, was a genre originally associated with the New York avant-garde and American punk music. Although new wave was visually influenced by punk, from the beginning the music of new wave was more pop- influenced, particularly in its singable melodies and the use of single rhythmic patterns (which led to the danceability that characterizes pop). Some new wave rockers such as Elvis Costello and the Talking heads, for example, based their musical aesthetic on the sound of early 1960s rock by returning to the verse-chorus structure of earlier pop, respecting the 4-minute boundary of the pop single, and utilizing older instruments such as the Vox and Farifisa portable organs, Gretsch and Richenbacker guitars, and Vox amplifiers (Covach 1997b, 5). Most new wave bands, however, utilized electronic instruments. Indeed, punk bands such as Blondie and Siouxie and the Banshees developed into new wave bands with the addition of a synthesizer to their formerly guitar-based line-up. New wave was thus more musically and lyrically complex than punk, rejecting punk's anyone-can-play ethos. (New Wave did, however, embrace punk's inclusion of women as performers rather than mere groupies.) 9 . Sampling is the digital recording of sound from a previously-recorded source. For example, rather than playing a bass line live to record it, an engineer will merely lift it from another recording. In this way, an actual bass player need not be hired. Further explanations of the digital technology used in electro pop will be addressed shortly. 10 . Reynolds is using "intertextuality" here in the sense of cultural theorist John Fiske, who defines it as the interaction of a text and its historical precursors and contemporaries (Fiske 1987, 108). Intertextuality is played out in pop music via an ironic mixing of idioms, genres, and styles from various historical eras that originally had nothing to do with each other. Literary critic Gerard Genette calls this type of interaction "hypertextuality" (Genette, 5). 11. It is interesting to note, however, that both of these women achieved success as singers backed by male band members, which is the traditional role for the pretty female musician (Whiteley 2000, 52). 12 . The tough posturing of women in punk and rock was not necessary for the success of women in R&B and pop. Aretha Franklin, for instance, was a very popular solo artist in the soul genre. Franklin's music, however, can be heard as a cross-over from a long tradition of female gospel singers, such as Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Clara Ward, Mahalia Jackson, and Marion Williams. Similarly, solo artists such as Joni Mitchell and Carole King achieved success as singer-songwriters in the 1970s without any male posturing. These women, however, began their careers in the folk-revival genre and pop music, respectively, and gained access to cross-over popularity in rock only after their associations with the long traditions of female singers in their respective genres. 13 . In technical manuals for synthesizers, the term "polyphonic" is used to describe the homophonic capabilities of synthesizers, that is, their ability to play chords, beginning in the early 1980s. 107 14 . A harmonizer changes the pitch of a vocal such that a sung melody could be heard in any range, from soprano to bass. Anderson often uses the harmonizer to sound like a man, but a man could just as easily use it to sound like a woman. In addition, Anderson frequently utilizes a vocoder, an apparatus that filters the voice through a synthesizer. 15. At this time suits were also the hallmark of electro-pop musician Annie Lennox, the lead singer of the Eurythmics. Again, fashion was more than just something to wear. For example, Annie Lennox "perceived the suit as an expression of control,... as symbolic of the Eurythmic style 'signaling music with irony. There was new technology with drum machines and synthesizers . . . this was a proper production business, hence the suits' " (Whiteley 2000, 125). The business suit iconography was made even more explicit on an album cover of a band formerly made up members of the Human League, a new wave group. Calling themselves the British Electric Foundation, they presented themselves "as suit-wearing executives attending corporate meetings" (Negus, 150). What informed this shift in fashion in part was the fact that the younger performers and consumers realized that the aging rock audience had been deluded by the ideology of rock as an art form that transcended the music industry. Instead of falling for marketing tricks such as the "supergroups" of the early 1970s, this younger generation embraced commodification and the free market. The pluralism of "postmodern pop" replaced a belief in the idea of the rock community (Negus, 151). 16 . In particular, bamboo synth, bell synth, and water synth are heard from mm. 5 - 13; bell synth, water synth, and organ synth at mm. 14-21; and bell synth, organ synth, and generic synth from mm. 30 - 55). Each of the adjectives used to describe the sounds of the different synthesizer settings were ascribed arbitrarily by myself and do not reflect any specific settings on a certain synthesizer brand. 17 . Such an interaction can be seen in the 1987 video by Cambium Productions, I Muse Aloud, which shows footage from Siberry's The Speckless Sky tour. 18 . Ska is a genre of Jamaican dance music characterized by stabbing rhythms and riff structures. It is often associated with skinheads in England in the 1970s. 19 . Indeed, the bamboo synthesizer line forms a melodic loop that is repeated several times in the introduction and final A section of the song, regardless of the changes in metre. Its characteristic lack of downbeat makes its fit into different metric lengths possible. It should also be noted that it is placed in the background of the mix so as not to disrupt the sense of metre foreground in the other synthesizer lines. 2 0 . The relationship between the vast amounts of new material and the repeated A section is also cyclical (in that the theme in section A consistently goes away and returns). 21. "The bird in the gravel," from The Walking is a good example of a lyric using multiple points-of-view, as well (See Appendix 1, Lyric 6). 22 . By "tonicize" I mean that the melody modulates, but this modulation is not confirmed by a perfect cadence. 108 CHAPTER 4 THE COUNTRY-POP GENRE Although The Walking (1987) and Bound by the Beauty (1989) were released only a couple of years apart, their respective songs differed markedly in terms of the density of the texture, obscurity of the lyrics, and formal complexity. The Walking marked the culmination of Siberry's use of the electro-pop genre and is perhaps her most poignant album to date. This recording differed from her earlier electro-pop albums, however, in that it traded her playful and humorous approach for a serious tone. Siberry joked, After The Walking I felt I had made a definitive Jane Siberry record and anything going at all in that direction felt hard and repetitive. So I thought the next best record would be a cover of Johnny Cash tunes. So, I didn't do that, but to me it was the perfect counterpoint after that record. And I think that that set the tone in me for the next record (Siberry 2001). Whereas Siberry did not record an album of Johnny Cash covers, she did turn to the country idiom for the first time on Bound by the Beauty. Indeed, she embraced the musical and lyrical simplicity of the idiom even on those tracks that are not country songs. In this regard the album was closer to the folk-revival genre heard on her first album than any of her electro-pop albums had been. There was also a return in Bound by the Beauty to humorous songs, such as "miss punta blanca" and "everything reminds me of my dog." Despite the differences between Siberry's approach to the electro-pop and country-pop genres, however, there can also be found similarities in her attitude toward each 1 (Notes to Chapter 4 begin on p. 127). Both genres have produced tracks that are very playful in tone (for example, "I Muse Aloud" and "The Waitress" from her early electro-pop albums and "everything 109 reminds me of my dog" in the country-pop genre). Not only are the lyrics of both genres humourous, but the two also contain frolicsome musical subversions of generic expectations. Secondly, both genres share a consistency in Siberry's vocal tone colour. Siberry maintains the timbre of her folk-revival roots in her use of both electro-pop and country-pop, despite the dissonances such an approach creates with the expectations of each genre. Finally, both albums exemplify Siberry's rock auteur approach to songwriting. In each of the songs discussed so far, Siberry's approach to playing with musical parameters is different. "La jalouse" added a level of complexity not affiliated with the genre prototype, while "goodbye" promoted a greater intimacy and musicality than expected in electro- pop. In the country idiom, the way in which Siberry alters musical parameters is again distinctive. Here, cliche country signifiers are borrowed to create an exteriorized version of country. Because Siberry's approach to the genre is clearly not one that embraces the "rustic" or "hard core" styles of country, her approach can be thought of as "soft shell" or "pop-like" country (Peterson 1997, 138). The country tradition has a long history of songs whose rustic elements are watered down in order to cross over to the pop charts. Siberry's country songs can therefore be considered in the "country-pop" (White 1998, 164) or "countrypolitan" (Carlin, 101-102) style. It is Siberry's view of the country idiom as a whole, however, that sets the tone of the song to be discussed. The song takes on the country tradition per se more than simply providing a generic vehicle for the narrative of the lyrics. The new simplicity emphasized in Bound by the Beauty coincided with a similar movement in the pop/rock mainstream at this time known as 'political pop.' This intelligent approach to songwriting could be heard in the mainstream in the late 1980s via folk-revival singer-songwriters, such as Suzanne Vega, Tracy Chapman, Michelle Shocked, and Sinead 110 O'Connor and "mature rock" musicians such as Bruce Springsteen, John Cougar Mellancamp, and Melissa Etheridge (Whiteley 2000, 171 - 172). These successful folk and rock-influenced musicians avoided sentimental lyrics about love and used electrically amplified acoustic guitars that were by this time considered by the rock press more "honest" than impersonal synthesizers (Middleton 1990, 90). In Bound by the Beauty, Siberry too discarded her synthesizers and returned to acoustic instruments, as discussed in her folk-revival song, "la jalouse." That song, however, is the only folk-revival track on the album. The genre most frequently represented on Bound by the Beauty is that of country. Indeed, Siberry felt that the album had an overall country sound. She explained, for example, that the song "something about trains" (see Appendix 1, Lyric 19) was "something sort-of country, east-meets-west, country & eastern" (liner notes, 18). Perhaps Siberry uses so many adjectives to qualify this song because country is a tradition with a history even longer than that of rock.2 Country music has many genres, including mountain ballads, cowboy songs, string band music, honky tonk, rockabilly, country-pop, bluegrass, new country, etc. "Country" was not the initial term used to describe this southern rural music. The pejorative term "hillbilly" was applied to the earliest country recordings from the 1920s. These included British folk ballads, gospel, and sentimental songs by such seminal singers as the Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers. Although country lyrics cover a range of topics, they can be divided into two opposing impulses represented by the aforementioned performers, respectively: those which deify home and those which glorify the wanderer (Malone 1990,5 -6). The wanderer trope in particular was popularized in the 1930s in Hollywood cowboy films set in the southwest. By this time country had combined musical traditions from the I l l southeast and southwest into a hybrid known as "country and western." The incorporation of western film iconography into the southeastern musical tradition caused this amalgam to become quite seamless by the 1950s (Peterson 1997, 90). Western images such as the ten-gallon hat, bandannas, boots, fringes, as well as south-western "verbal accent, vocabulary, grammar,... working-class identification" and specific performance conventions came to signify country "authenticity" (Peterson 1997, 225). The diminutive term "country" also came into use in the 1950s as such performers as Hank Williams, who had previously called himself a "folk musician," tried to disassociate himself from so-called "communist" folksingers singled out during the McCarthy era (Peterson 1997, 198). Rural or "hard core" country music is characterized by unblended harmonies and a nasal vocal timbre that is not formally trained. Rather this timbre exhibits a southern or south-western accent and often uses glottal attacks and even yodels.3 The lyrics of country (since the 1930s) are sung frequently in the first person, as if relating personal experiences, and use rural vocabulary and southern colloquial expressions. Although there is an infinite variety of song texts, many dealing with social issues, country lyrics most often focus on relationships, candidly "expressing love's joys and laments" (Peterson 1997, 231). The texts either uphold small-town morality or discuss the experiences of the lonesome wanderer, who is often a hard-drinking womanizer, a man either lionized or chastised by the narrator (depending upon the narrator's gender). Although the lyrical topics of home and wandering represent antagonistic worldviews, the country music business managed to envelop such dichotomies over its long history, particularly through the figure of Hank Williams, who convincingly personified the moral dualism of love and leaving, cheating and remorse, drinking and sobriety (Peterson 1997, 177). As with folk, the musical parameters in contemporary "hardcore" country are kept simple. 112 For example, the phrase lengths of country songs are divided into even four-bar phrases. The metre is usually in 4/4, with an emphasis on beats one and three. The rhythms are even as well, with little of the syncopation that characterizes most other styles of popular music. These "hardcore" parameters are also found in country-pop. The instrumentation of "hardcore" country, however, is unique. In addition to the use of drum kit, electric bass, and electric guitar that are conventional to most popular music, contemporary "hardcore" country also employs such traditional country instruments as the dobro or pedal steel guitar, banjo, fiddle, acoustic guitar, or honky-tonk piano. These instruments are associated exclusively with country music in popular culture.4 As such, their presence in a song is usually a clear marker of the country idiom. In the live staging practice of "hardcore" country, wearing attire associated with Western movies (like Stetson hats, boots, bandannas, fringes, and the like) is also a clear signifier of the idiom. Such "hardcore" signifiers are often avoided in country-pop to de-emphasize the rural features of the idiom. Creating a watered-down version of country is remarkably simple because the traditional instruments, western clothes, and rural mannerisms associated with "hardcore" country music are all things that can be used or put on and off at will. In addition, by partaking of country musical and visual cues, a non-country performer can align him or herself with the idiom. Nowhere is this more evident than in the career of Canadian singer-songwriter, k. d. lang. Lang began her musical career in performance art, but when she got bored with that medium she transformed herself into a country singer. Nearly everyone who knew lang (who is a lesbian) was surprised by not only her move to engage the conservative genre of country music, but also the manner in which she did so (Whiteley 2000, 154). Lang's use of country signifiers was quite stylized, as if to highlight their "put on" nature. Her sawn-off cowboy boots, her lensless, wing-shaped glasses, blouses with 113 rhinestone buttons, and torn stockings suggest... that she was "making herself up".... At the same time, her performances suggest irony and camp and as such, lang's excess of style can be interpreted as a humourous critique of country gender stereotyping (Whiteley 2000, 154). Lang highlighted the fact that her performances of country songs were an act rather than an "authentic" expression of small-town values. She distanced herself from traditional "hardcore" expressions of country by frequently changing her stage persona. Despite the critique of country inherent in her image and performance style, however, lang became increasingly successful in that idiom.5 She recorded collaborations with such country legends as Roy Orbison, Kitty Wells, Loretta Lynn and Brenda Lee; and in 1990 she won a Grammy for Best Country Vocal Female. In many ways, lang's approach to country was similar to that of contemporary Randy Travis, who "is among the most successful of the new-country performers because his music at once pays homage to the country past while it often seems to be gently poking fun at its conventions" (Carlin, 460). After six years of touring, however, lang abruptly left country music, releasing Ingenue, an album of jazz ballads. Lang's choice to discard country signifiers as quickly as she had taken them up indicates that, unlike Travis, she never actually embraced country as a whole but rather merely an exteriorized version of it. Her tongue-in-cheek approach can be heard as pastiche.6 "Lang's 'stylizing' of country... focuses attention on both its formal and formulaic features, and her subversion of both the staged and vocal idiom" (Whiteley 2000, 153). Siberry's negotiation of the country idiom is similar to k. d. lang's, in that she borrows certain elements to allude to country music. While Siberry does not try to challenge gender stereotypes in the aggressive manner in which lang did, the fact that Siberry uses the most cliche signifiers associated with the idiom (such as the pedal steel guitar, an unsyncopated bass line, and 114 a southern accent in the vocal) suggests that she too is engaging them in a winking manner. As with lang's songs, Siberry's songs poke fun of country music itself. Genre in "everything reminds me of my dog" In her song "everything reminds me of my dog" (heretofore, "everything..."), from Bound by the Beauty, Siberry creates a playful tone by borrowing country music signifiers in order to create a pastiche of the idiom. Because her intention is to create a humorous effect rather than evoke "hardcore" country "authenticity," Siberry subverts the expectations of the country idiom (Peterson 1997, 209). Accordingly, "everything..." has only three elements that suggest country, but five parameters that are not characteristic of country. Nonetheless, because the country-pop genre is convincingly evoked in this song, the subverted expectations remain surprising. First of all, Siberry's image for "everything..." has a consonant fit with country-pop conventions. To promote this album Siberry planned her first world tour in 1990. She chose not to headline this tour as she had in the promotion of earlier albums, but rather to appear as the opening act for lang, who was at this time already firmly established in the American country music scene.7 Lang was an excellent choice with whom to tour because, as discussed earlier, she had by that time her own tongue-in-cheek approach to country. In fact, it is possible that Siberry's approach to country was influenced by lang's model. The tour with lang fell through, however, and in the end Siberry headlined a solo tour to promote Bound by the Beauty. Siberry's image on tour was quite altered from what it had been in the early 1980s. Instead of the fashion-conscious shiny clothes Siberry had sported then, she now wore jeans and a blouse on stage (at least, that is what she wore the night I saw her perform in Toronto in 1990). Furthermore, her hair was no longer spiky and dyed red as in the early 1980s, but rather her 115 natural colour, grown longer, and curled in a more conventionally country-pop manner. In this way, her new stage look embraced a dressed-down country image such as that of Trisha Yearwood, rather than that of a new-wave musician. Although Siberry's country image was not as stylized as lang's (Siberry wore no cowboy boots or Stetson hat), it was still strikingly "down- home" compared to other female pop/rock musicians.8 Through her stage image, then, Siberry gave signals explicitly related to country conventions. Secondly, the instrumentation of "everything..." has a consonant fit with country-pop. The song does not feature "hardcore" fiddles and pedal steel guitars. It rather uses electric bass, drums, piano, and electric guitar, all of which fit with conventional country-pop. While the use of the dulcimer from mm. 57 - 61 (see transcription in Appendix 4, p. 263-4) is out of place in contemporary country-pop, it does have a connection with old-time country music. During the folk revival, many marginalized traditional country styles experienced a resurgence along with traditional folk song. Bluegrass, for example, became more popular, as did attempts to harken back to the nineteenth-century use of the dulcimer in the Appalachians (Hamm 1983, 82). The harkening back to the southeastern tradition of "hillbilly" music with the presence of the dulcimer compliments the lyrics of "everything," since the old-time country instrument is only used in a section containing a flashback in the lyrics (more on this later).9 The use of the dulcimer in this country-pop song, then, certainly does not lie outside the realm of the larger country music tradition. Thus the instrumentation found in "everything..." is similar to that heard in a contemporary country song like "Perfect Love" from Songbook (1997) by Trisha Yearwood. It too uses electric guitar, bass, and drums, but also adds acoustic guitar (which is comparable to the dulcimer here), steel guitar, and keyboards. Not only does the instrumentation of "everything" signify country-pop, but so do the ways 116 in which the instruments are employed. In particular, the use of country music figuration (see Appendix 4) in the electric guitar signifies country conventions. The types of melodic riffs heard in "everything..." are idiomatic to the country idiom as heard in the chromatic lines in mm. 12 and 46, the honky-tonk use of seconds in mm. 33 and 73, and the note bending (i.e., notes approached from below) in mm. 81 and 97. The use of rockabilly style in the piano, for example in the fills in mm. 46 and 85 as well as the repeated riff (in mm. 5-6 and following), is also typical of country. 1 0 The way in which the I - V bass pattern from mm. 5 - 6 is repeated almost throughout the song with very little variation (except in the C sections) forms an additional consonance with country music. Indeed, when there is variation in the bass, such as at mm. 12, 18, 81, 89, 93, and 101, it amounts only to slight melodic elaborations. The harmonic relationship remains the same, as do the rhythms, which are unsyncopated, as consistent with country conventions. Thus far we have seen that Siberry's image, instrumentation, and figuration all strongly suggest country conventions. These congruencies are offset by five parameters that are not characteristic of the idiom. First of all, the vocal timbre of "everything..." contradicts country expectations. "Hardcore" country signifiers such as a glottal attack, nasal tone colour, and yodel are avoided. Indeed, Siberry sounds as she always does with one notable exception. A southern accent, a "hardcore country signifier," is heard in each statement of the B section, where male vocalists Don Freed, John Switzer, and Ken Myhr join her in conventional country practice (Peterson 1997, 225). In each statement of this section the group says "git along little doggie" rather than "get along" (see Appendix 1, Lyric 11). The use of an American southern dialect by Canadians is a clear indicator that the accent is "put on." The fact that the dialect is added in only one section of the song calls attention to the artifice and emphasizes that the tradition is 117 borrowed as pastiche. This intermittent adherence to the country convention amounts to a sly wink at the audience. Having knowledge of a tradition but then choosing to take or leave it is a point of contention with "hardcore" country fans, as lang discovered. Indeed, in "hardcore" country, performers often put on southern accents as an indicator of "authenticity," regardless of whether they are from the South or not. 1 1 This sort of artifice makes the country idiom ripe for ridicule by musicians and critics from other genres. Secondly, the metre and phrase lengths of "everything..." largely correspond to country generic expectations but do exhibit some significant exceptions. Most of the phrases in this song (see Figure 4.1 below) can be divided into two 2-bar units, that is, four measures of 4/4, except for the five-bar unit of section D. Measures 57 - 59 here form an irregular three-bar unit that does not even get worked out later on since the material never returns.12 Thus it is not until more than half-way through the song that it becomes apparent that both the metre and phrase length clash with the conventions associated with country. Therefore there are far fewer deviations from country expectations here than were found in the folk revival example discussed in Chapter 2. Figure 4.1 - Phrase Lengths of "everything reminds me of my dog" form: Intro. A B A A' B C A' B' D C A A" A A A A'" no. of mm.: 8 8 5 8 4 5 8 4 7 5 8 8 8 8 8 8 6 There is an additional exception to the square phrasing and metre of country, found in the repeated statements of the B section. Added to the four-bar phrase is a one bar tag in mm. 21 and 38. This irregularity is softened somewhat in the two-bar ending added to the final statement of 118 section B' at m. 56 - 57. Rather than a phrase of 2 + 2 + 1, the B' section consists of a more normative 2 + 2 + (1 +) 2. Similarly, the metre in "everything..." is a consonant 4/4 throughout, except for the surprising moments when the metre becomes 1/4 in mm. 21 and 38, the final measure of the first two B sections, and in m. 55, near the end of the B' section. The surprising effect of this 1/4 metric hiccup (in mm. 21, 38 and 55) is clearly intentional, for there is no need for this disruption to exist. The phrase from mm. 17 - 21, for example, could easily have ended at the end of m. 20. In fact, it makes more sense lyrically. The 1/4 measure of "git a" ends as a sentence fragment. If this "git a" fragment were finished off with "long," the E7 chord could resolve to the expected tonic (A major). Closure here is intentionally avoided, however, to subvert both metric and harmonic expectations until m. 56. This disruption of metrical regularity exemplifies the rock auteur desire to comment on the country idiom. On the one hand, the drawing of attention to the incessant regularity in the phrase length and metre of the music shows how monotonous country music can sound. On the other hand, the disruption in the metre and phrase length may also be poking fun at country performers (such as Hank Williams) whose personal lives hardly exemplify the "family values" the country tradition holds so dear. In particular, the hiccup in the 1/4 bar evokes the stereotype of the country singer who regularly comes to his gigs drunk (Peterson 1997, 179). Thirdly, the use of rhythm in "everything..." both adheres and subverts the expectations of the country idiom. The straight rhythms particularly in the bass, the emphasis on beats 1 and 3, and the syncopation found in the piano riff, which consistently emphasizes beat one, are all traditionally found in country. In addition, regardless of whether the rhythms used in the vocal of "everything..." are syncopated or unsyncopated, they also emphasize beats one and three. Although there is rhythmic variation in the beginning of each phrase in section A to 119 accommodate the new lyric (for example "everything," "guy in the store," "telephones," "taxicabs," etc.), each ending of "(re)minds me of my dog" is rhythmically identical—even when the melodic entrance is delayed (as in mm. 100 -101). There is a significant rhythmic dissonance in the vocal of this song. Siberry employs syncopation and changes in rhythmic density through what Adam Krims calls "rhythmic acceleration," a technique that is typical of rap but not country. This technique appears occasionally throughout Siberry's oeuvre. Pvhythmic acceleration refers "to the increase in attack densities and greater variety of rhythmic intervals between rhyming syllables" or, in this instance, between analogous vocal phrases (Krims, 52). Placing an increasing number of syllables into the same temporal and musical space heard previously in a corresponding phrase is a recurring musical joke that Siberry enjoys. It seems clear that it is a joke because the technique appears almost exclusively in humorous songs. Rhythmic acceleration can be heard most clearly in the third verse of "symmetry (the way things have to be)" in No Borders Here, (see Appendix 1, Lyric 15 beginning at the words "even though"), but can also be found in the second verse of "trumpeter swan" on Teenager, and the final verses of "bound by the beauty" and "miss punta blanca" from Bound by the Beauty. 13 In "everything..." rhythmic acceleration can be found in the melodic phrases that precede "reminds me of my dog," such as "the guy in the store," "telephones," "taxicabs," etc.. For example, while "everything (reminds me of my dog)" in m. 9 has 3 syllables, "smiling at stranger (reminds me of my dog)" in the analogous phrase in m. 22 has five. As can be seen in Figure 4.2a, the rhythm does not always accelerate. For example, after m. 11, the number of syllables decreases from four to three (in m. 13). Indeed, after a large number of syllables, such as the five heard at m. 24, there is an even greater shrinkage (for 120 example, the two syllables heard in m. 26). The point of this technique is not that the rhythmic acceleration is ever increasing until it becomes frenetic, but rather that there is play with the number of syllables within the same space in analogous phrases of section A. Figure 4.2a - Rhythmic Acceleration Before the Phrase "reminds me of my dog" syllables: 3 4 3 3 5 5 2 8 32 3 14 3 4 2 2 3 2 2 4 5 m.no.: 9 11 13 15 22 24 26 28 30 47 49 70 72 74 76 78 80 82 98 100 Figure 4.2b - Rhythmic Acceleration After the Phrase "reminds me of my dog" syllables: 0 0 2 0 8 7 0 3 2 0 0 0 0 7 8 0 0 3 10 8 10 0 6 7 7 m. no.: 10 12 14 16 23 25 27 29 33 48 50 71 73 75 77 79 81 83 87 89 91 95 97 99 101 This same technique is also evident in the space (in the rests) after the "reminds me of my dog" lyric (see Figure 4.2b). In verse one there is only one instance of a vocal fill (the "yoohoo" in m. 14). In verse two, by contrast the space at the end of every phrase contains vocal fills (from the 8 syllables of "better let them know you're friendly" in m. 23 to the 3 syllables of "don't hit them" in m. 29). The rhythmic acceleration climaxes in verse 6 (mm. 86 - 93), with 10 syllables heard in both mm. 87 and 91. To outline systematically every instance of rhythmic acceleration goes against the very spirit of playing with language, rhythm, time, and space. Suffice it to say that the rhythmic variety heard in analogous phrases in both of these locations in Section A represents a humorous response to the confines of the straight repetition of country. The rhythmic acceleration heard in this song is thus dissonant with country conventions. 121 The lyrics of "everything..." may at first glance appear consonant with country in that they talk about the narrator's dog, a topic almost exclusively associated with that idiom, at least since the traditional cowboy song "Git Along, Little Dogies" became a Tin Pan Alley hit for Billy Hill in the 1930s. Historically, however, the southwestern tradition of the lonely cattle rustler singing about a "little doggie" refers not to a dog accompanying the cowboy but rather to "a little orphan calf... [that] often had to be carried across a saddle-pommel by their cowboy foster-fathers" (Lomax, 357). In its literal discussion of a dog, therefore, this song does not accurately represent the country tradition of the cowboy song. The lyrics of this song are about more than just a dog. When asked what she was thinking of when she wrote these lyrics, Siberry commented: I was just thinking about my dog. But after that I realized that it really could have been love or so many things, when you really get into something in your mind or brain, the ability to focus. Like when I am mixing a record, anywhere I go I am trying to adjust the balance of the sounds around me. At an intersection I will be bringing down the hum and raising the individual voices, that kind of thing. So everything reminds me of mixing or everything reminds me of my new lover. It is pretty much like rose-coloured glasses. Whatever you're really in love with at the time, everything reminds you of that. Or you know, when you really have the blues, all you see around you are struggles (Siberry 2001). "Everything..." is not a country ballad lamenting lost love; neither is it a homage to family life. In this respect, the lyrics are dissonant with the country idiom. With its catalog of things that remind the narrator of her dog, the song is more like a Tin Pan Alley list song (for example, Cole Porter's "Let's Do It, Let's Fall In Love" from 1928, "Anything Goes" from 1934 or "From Alpha to Omega" from 1938).14 List songs do not purport to be filled with deep meaning. Accordingly, the lyrics of "everything..." are light and humorous (see Appendix 1, Lyric 14). First of all, the narrator creates amusing images of her dog as being human. Her dog can smile 122 "at strangers," "laugh," use a phone and, by extension, talk ("do you want me to dial the number for you?"). In addition to transferring human qualities onto her dog, the narrator also assigns canine qualities to people. The narrator wants to pat Einstein's "fluffy head." She likens the way people dress to dogs "pissing on their favourite tree," the way "golfers teeing off to the way her dog sits by her and "shifts on his paws," and "the blank expression of a little boy with thick glasses who picks himself up from the sidewalk and stands there blinking in the sun" to the expression on the face of her dog. Finally, the lyrics indulge in comic hyperbole; for example, that absolutely "everything" in the world could remind someone of their dog or that the narrator calls her obviously friendly dog "ferocious." This latter exaggeration brings up two elements of complexity in the lyrics that are dissonant with country conventions. First, there is no linear narrative, even though the song is narrated as expected, in the first person. The song instead offers a string of non-rhyming images that remind the narrator of her dog. Secondly, the point of view from which the lyrics are told seems to vary. At one point there is a feminist critique of how it takes "guy in bars . . . so long to choose the perfect table" as if one identical table is inherently better than another. At other points the narrator seems to be a child, pretending that the tame dog that she is taking for a walk is actually a terrifying creature ("me and my ferocious dog were walking down the street"), when, really, the on-lookers think that he is a "goot doggie!" This scene from childhood does not actually constitute a change in narrative voice but rather a flashback to a childhood memory. That section D is the most linear and narrative section in the song, as well as the only section seven measures in length, sets it apart from the others, similar to the way that a memory is experienced linearly, unlike the multi-tasking of thoughts experienced in the present. That the dulcimer, an instrument used in early country, is found only 123 during this section of the song also seems to give credence to the argument that this section represents a temporal flashback. As the dulcimer is symbolic of an older form of country music, so too is the linear narrative of section D symbolic of a past memory of the narrator. 1 5 The fact that the dulcimer is heard in open fifths with the vocal also evokes the shape-note musical tradition that is reminiscent of the past. In the context of the lyrics, this musical allusion to long ago resonates with a past memory. This kind of temporal complexity is not conventional to country. Finally the form of "everything..." is dissonant with country conventions. Like other types of pop music, country tends to contain a structure made up of verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, verse, chorus, chorus, or some such variation. The form of "everything...", however, is more involved, following a design that reads: IABAA'BCA'B'DCA A"AAA"'. While this structure contains the requisite verse (A), chorus (B), and bridge (C) material, the proportions are unusual in that the individual units are very short (see Figure 4.1 above). In addition, the A' section preceding the first bridge is split in half (the other half follows the bridge), creating an even shorter sectional delineation than expected. Furthermore, there are more statements of the verse than of the chorus. In country-pop it is the chorus that contains the hook and is therefore emphasized. This song lacks a hook (except perhaps for the 1/4 "git a" bar), therefore making the chorus less enticing for the listener. This formal irregularity is complicated by repetitions of the bridge, as well as the additional material heard in section D that cannot be accounted for within traditional country forms. The few statements of the chorus along with the presence of an extra inexplicable section would create a surprising effect for the country listener who comes to the song with hitherto unchallenged formal expectations. 124 Siberry rejects the lack of formal variety found in the country idiom by juxtaposing cliche generic signifiers with an unexpected formal plan: By presenting more verses (section A) and bridges (sections C and D) and fewer statements of the chorus (section B), Siberry subverts country-pop expectations. Not only is the form of this song dissonant with country expectations, its complexity also comments upon the overused formal conventions of the idiom. Indeed, in each of the parameters of "everything..." dissonant with the traditions of country (namely, the timbre, metre, phrase length, rhythm, lyrics, and form), the deviations create a heightened level of play by the rock auteur, which comments on the pitfalls of conforming to the expectations of country. As in the songs discussed previously, however, the parameters with which Siberry creates a consonance are those most important for signifying "authenticity" in the genre. In country-pop, the parameters most significant to an audience as indicators of country are instrumentation, figuration, image, and vocal timbre. It is to each of these criteria (except for timbre) that Siberry adheres, creating for her audience a strong overall sense of the country-pop genre, despite the large number of dissonant parameters (including metre, phrase length, rhythm, lyrics, and form). Needless to say, like all country-pop, "everything" evokes few conventional "hardcore" country signifiers. In this way Siberry's audience easily recognizes the musical parameters of the song as country-pop. A recognition of genre, however, is not the same thing as a recognitiori of the playful tone Siberry takes in her approach to the country idiom. It is probably for this reason that Siberry originally planned to tour with k. d. lang. The latter's audience was already initiated into the practice of reading texts in a tongue-in-cheek manner, as pastiche. Even in lang's absence, however, Siberry still playfully engages the country idiom. Like a child dressing in adult clothes, 125 so Siberry puts on a style not her own. Siberry's use of country signifiers in this song does not pay homage to the idiom, in the manner of Randy Travis. Rather she utilizes the signifiers to critique the country idiom musically. Siberry uses such a cliche signifier as a southern dialect in the song to point out that, for her, country is an idiom that can be put on and off at will. Such an irreverent treatment of "hardcore" country signifiers not only has precedence in lang's approach to the idiom but also seems to line up with a traditional rock view of country music as "sentimental" and "self- pitying," an object worthy of criticism (Middleton 1990, 263). Rather than overt ridicule, however, Siberry takes a light-hearted approach to critiquing country music. Her overall tone is one of play, rather than ridicule. As such, it would not be surprising if (new) country audiences (those who liked lang's early work, for example) would like the song as much as listeners of pop/rock. While at first it appeared that electro-pop and country-pop have little in common, the two genres are united by similarities in Siberry's approach toward them. In both, Siberry takes artistic license by subverting genre expectations within the parameters of form and metre. Although her approach to each genre is different, her practice of deviating from genre expectation in each instance remains the same. Furthermore, contrary to the conventions of both country-pop and electro-pop, Siberry retains her folk-revival vocal timbre and the urban intimacy that it espouses. Obviously "everything..." is more light-hearted in tone than "goodbye," but nonetheless, Siberry's vocal quality itself remains a constant in each genre. In this regard, Siberry's approach to electro- pop and country-pop mirror her approach to folk-revival, which also retains an intimate vocal timbre while deviating from genre expectation by complicating musical parameters. One would think that with the shared ideas about "authenticity" common to the genres of 126 country and folk, Siberry would have held up country as a desirable genre and the electro-pop style as a synthetic and inauthentic one. On the contrary, however, Siberry seems to embrace the use of technology in electro-pop, while mocking the traditional signifiers of country. 1 6 Both Siberry's consistency of vocal quality and subversion of generic expectations retained importance in the 1990s, as Siberry went on to evoke the genres of cool jazz and funk. Chapters 5 and 6 will explore Siberry's differing approaches to these two African-American musical genres and the ramifications that this move has had upon her music. 127 Notes to Chapter 4 1. "Country-pop" is a genre of country music that combines both pop and country characteristics. This term has been chosen from among many because it is essentially a descriptor that does not connote a particular value judgement. This is important because in both pop and country traditions there are those who dislike the combining of country and pop, as if it were a watering down of the purity of either idiom. Most frequently country-pop is employed by "commercial country" artists, such as Shania Twain, Leann Rimes, Steve Earle, and the Dixie Chicks, who aspire to cross over from country into the pop mainstream. Accordingly, this genre is watered-down of its most rural country signifiers. Siberry, however, approaches country from the world of pop rather than the other way around. In doing so she follows a long tradition of rock musicians who flirt with country. This tradition, sometimes referred to as "anti-country," is one that includes the Cowboy Junkies, k.d. lang, Blue Rodeo, the Eagles, Bob Dylan, and Elvis Costello. 2 . See Malone (1968) for a history of the first 50 years of country music. 3 . Although yodeling is originally of Swiss origin, after Jimmie Rodgers used this technique it became popularly associated in America with country music. 4 . The steel guitar is conceived of as a country instrument in popular culture despite the fact that it originated in Hawaii in the 1870s and was not popularized in the United States until the 1920s. The dobro was the first steel guitar with a built-in resonator, followed in the 1930s by the electric steel guitar. The "whiny pedal steel guitar" that became popular in the mid-1950s is the ultimate country music signifier—the country music icon, if you will—defining the country sound despite a revival of the dobro and early electric steel guitars in the 1970s (Carlin, 352). 5 . Whiteley points out that "In the 1980s, country music represented the extolled image of American society, where the woman was sweet and uncomplaining, respectable, white and family-oriented" (Whiteley 2000, 168). Whiteley's thesis is that with her excessive energy and butch persona, lang positioned herself in direct opposition to country music's conventional espousal of so-called "family values." 6 . My use of this term here follows Genette's definition of pastiche as an imitation of "a style and the thematic motifs that it involves...[as] a means of actualization~and possibly of derision" (Genette, 82). Concerning its attitude toward the style, therefore, pastiche "prides itself upon paying it the least possible literal allegiance" (Genette, 78). 7 . Lang's acceptance in the American country music industry was evident in her collaboration on "Honky Tonk Angels Medley" with such country legends as Loretta Lynn, Kitty Wells and Brenda Lee (on her album Shadowland in 1988) as well as her winning the Grammy for Best Female Country Vocal for Absolute Torch and Twang in 1990, an album that stayed in the Billboard Top Country Albums chart for 104 weeks and was promoted by "a 40-stop sellout tour." It is interesting to note, however, that despite success on a popular level, the conservative Nashville radio community continued to question lang's allegiance to the idiom (Whiteley 2000, 128 157). 8 . Interestingly, this tour image was already a change from the album picture with Mac Feri found next to the lyrics of "everything reminds me of my dog," which was taken before the tour with lang fell through (album liner, 9). In this picture Siberry is standing with an old man in a cap in front of what could be a modern barn, wearing a checked shirt and overalls, the traditional attire used to connote the hillbilly image in "hardcore" country music (Peterson 1997, G2.4). 9 . The use of the dulcimer here shows Siberry's knowledge of the country music tradition. Typically, country-pop performers play down their relationship to "hardcore" country by avoiding its signifiers, but Siberry does not in this instance. According to Richard A. Peterson, flaunting an extensive knowledge of country music history is a signifier of "hardcore" country performers, who frequently comment upon their country lineage in concerts and interviews (Peterson 1997, 226). 10. It should be conceded that the free use of arpeggiation in mm. 39-41 and 62-63, for example, is not typical of the country idiom. It is more like a jazz technique, especially in light of Siberry's choice of upper extensions (such as 9ths, 1 lths and 13ths) heard in the melody sung over the piano accompaniment. Although these instances may seem like another generic allusion that contributes to the polysemic message of the text, the moments pass by so quickly that the new codes barely have time to register as such before hardcore country indicators resume, for example, in the guitar and bass in mm. 46 and 69. 11. Peterson cites an instance of such outright deception at a country concert he attended at which Karon Blackwell affected a Mississippi accent even though she was born in Chicago and worked mostly in California as a jingle singer (Peterson 1997, 225). 12 . Notice, however, that section D remains in an even 4/4. It is as if, when the lyrics form the recollection of a scene from childhood (with the child pretending her dog is "ferocious," when really she is just taking him for a walk), the phrase lengths harken back to a prior era (the folk era) in which uneven phrasing was typical. 13 . This rhythmic acceleration is played out further in a formal design Siberry often uses, in which the verses all begin in the same way but become increasingly longer, similar to "The Twelve Days of Christmas." Examples of this formal technique are found in "the lobby" from The Walking, "See the Child" from Maria, and "Grace Hospital" on Lips (see Appendix 1, Lyric 7) as well as the poem "New Year's Baby" on Child. 14 . The list song was more recently popularized (or popularized again) with the success of REM's "It's the End of the World As We Know It" from their platinum-selling album Document (1987). 15. It should be added that in the mountain or hillbilly ballads the use of multiple points of view and shifting time was common. These narratives do not make sense in a linear way. It seems unlikely that Siberry would be alluding to this trait as a conceit for the entire song, however, because the dulcimer itself is not used throughout. Furthermore, as evident in Chapter 2, Siberry comes from a more contemporary folk revival tradition that does not conventionally 129 change points-of-view in its narrative. Finally, when Siberry herself uses multi-voiced narratives in a lyric (in genres other than folk revival), she usually indicates the new voice clearly and/or uses this technique throughout the song (see Appendix 1, Lyrics 6, 7, and 8). 16. Of course, Siberry felt a need to turn away from technology later. One might say instead, then, that her faith in technological progress was replaced by a postmodern play with generic pastiche. 130 CHAPTER 5 THE COOL-JAZZ GENRE After toying with the genre of country-pop (among others) on Bound by the Beauty, Siberry turned to jazz on Maria (1995) and R&B on When I was a Boy (1993) and Lips (1999). The departure from country (which, as we have seen, has a close historical link with Siberry's folk-revival roots) to R&B and jazz was another stylistic leap for Siberry, perhaps even greater than the jump from folk revival to electro-pop had been. While folk and country are both historically associated with rural whites, jazz and R&B are linked with urban blacks. The gulf between country and jazz, however, was not insurmountable for Siberry. Her experience with electro pop had already given her insight into a genre with an urban pop sensibility. This chapter will focus on Siberry's approach to jazz. Specifically, Siberry's negotiation of cool jazz in the song "Maria" from Maria will be discussed before turning to her engagement with funk in Chapter 6. Siberry's approach to jazz follows the auteur practice of subverting some musical parameters while conforming to others. The ways in which she approaches jazz conventions, however, differ from the approaches taken toward the genres discussed in the other chapters. With the title track from Maria Siberry alters conventions that are fundamental to jazz, redefining the elements of improvisation, swing, timbre, and tonality to the point that "Maria" is not completely successful in evoking the jazz idiom. Before discussing how Siberry approaches these elements, let us review how each of the components of jazz is conventionally treated. Improvisation is often taken to be the common denominator uniting the different styles of jazz, such as Dixieland, swing, bebop, cool jazz, hard bop, and free jazz. In order for 131 improvisation to work in a group or band setting, all the players must be privy to the same musical information. One touchstone in jazz is the standard song, which is traditionally either the 32-bar chorus of a larger verse-chorus structure or a standard 12-bar blues. Before improvising, a soloist needs to know the chord progressions of the song that will be played in order to create a melody that fits with the chord changes. Since all jazz players and most jazz fans know the standard songs being played, what makes a solo interesting is how a performer departs from the original melody. In order to facilitate an extended solo, the chord changes of a chorus may be repeated several times. Indeed, when one soloist has played over the harmonies a sufficient number of times, another will take over the solo by playing his or her improvised melody over the repeated changes. Given that Siberry is a pop/rock singer-songwriter and not a jazz musician, it might seem surprising that she would engage a genre steeped in improvisation. Yet Siberry is no stranger to improvisation. She began her career in the folk-revival style, which, like jazz, is steeped in oral traditions. Because of the simple forms used in each tradition, singer-songwriters compose new songs by improvising. As a folk- revival singer-songwriter, Siberry has finely-honed improvisational skills. She commented: [Maria] was improvised. A lot of jazz players are totally into it [improvisation] and a lot of pop players are not oriented that way. [They work more with] charts, and they are just not used to shifting so quickly. And I improvise very quickly. And it is a different road. It takes training, I think, to be able to improvise (Siberry 2001). Not only does Siberry have extensive experience with improvisation, she also employs these skills with a great zeal: 132 Improvisation is not a big part of the pop world but it's part of my life, and so desperate am I to do it that sometimes I've been known to go to karaoke bars and pick some songs I don't know and then improvise with the words. But it really pisses people off, it doesn't go over big. They want you to sing it the right way; they get really upset.... Improvisation is the most exciting thing about music and it does take a lot of trust for some reason.... It's not that I want to do without discipline.... What I do takes a lot of structuring and discipline, and in the writing I'm very disciplined about sorting the wheat from the chaff, keeping stuff that I consider inspired as opposed to the stuff that comes from being clever (Karen O'Brien, 194). This passion for improvisation found a release in Maria. Siberry incorporated improvisation into every step of the recording process on this album. Not only were the songs on Maria written with improvisation in mind (for example, there are no complex changes of metre; and the phrase lengths are all symmetrical so as to create forms conducive to improvisation), many were also written via improvisation. For example, the melody of "Begat Begat" is clearly improvised from the piano riff. Furthermore, all the solos were improvised during a live recording, which was a change from Siberry's previous practices. Because jazz musicians are able to improvise music on the spur of the moment, they are accustomed to communicating musical ideas rapidly. Often jazz musicians who have never played together before sound polished on the first take of a jazz standard. There were obviously very few takes of the songs on Maria because the whole album was recorded in just three days. Recording live was a far quicker process than Siberry's usual technique of sampling songs together into a computer voice by voice, section by section, and even phrase by phrase 1 (Notes for Chapter 5 begin on p. 151). This piece-meal procedure can only be achieved over a period of months and even years, as in the case of When I was a Boy. On Maria there was no sampling or splicing, even when the album was subsequently mixed down (for volume, reverberation, and stereo positioning). The solos that were played live were those that ended up on the album.2 133 Although recording live decreased the production time of Maria, the real allure of jazz to Siberry is the interplay she experiences among the musicians. Whereas recording samples alone in the studio gave Siberry complete artistic control over the music she wanted to make, working communally with skilled musicians ironically achieved the same effect. Siberry commented on her earlier studio albums that were recorded layer by layer into the computer: There was a huge freedom there that the technology had given me. It had given me a freedom to create. With Maria, it was actually the same phenomenon, but in a different medium. I was able to bypass using the technology to get out what I heard in my head, by surrounding myself with musicians who could play what I heard in my head—so it was really fast—the best of all worlds (Menzies, 35). Siberry's initial attraction to jazz no doubt stemmed from her love of musical freedom. While composition provides a certain kind of outlet for creativity, improvisation adds an element of risk; it takes creativity to a different level. Not only does one have to make musical decisions, they must be made spontaneously, at the moment of performance. The motive behind Siberry's foray into jazz was not so much an attraction to the sound of jazz as a desire to engage the practice of improvisation that is uniquely idiomatic to jazz. While it is true that all jazz is improvised to some extent, all improvisation is not jazz. A rock guitar solo, for example, might be improvised, but it does not usually contain the swing or colour tones of a jazz guitar solo. To be considered jazz, an improvised solo draws upon particular rhythmic, timbral, and melodic conventions. One of the most important rhythmic concepts in jazz is the elusive concept of "swing." It is perhaps best described by Gunther Schuller, who calls swing a "forward-propelling directionality" (Schuller 1968, 7).3 Swing subdivides the basic quarter note pulse into a loose triplet feel. Different soloists, such as Louis Armstrong, Charlie Parker, and John Coltrane, 134 subdivide the beat to different extents. Part of the problem in defining swing is that different soloist's rhythmic concepts vary widely. Even with this variety of approaches, the practice of swing can be broken down into two schools: hot and cool. Founded by Louis Armstrong, the hot school has a more flexible rhythmic concept, taking liberties with playing ahead of, or behind, the beat. This intentional hesitation in time toys with a listener's expectations of attacks falling directly on the beat. Such hot-school players as Charlie Parker are said to swing "harder" than such cool-school players as Lester Young. Harkening back to Bix Beiderbecke, cool school musicians have a more relaxed swing feel, playing closer to straight eighth notes. Timbre is another characteristic of jazz that can be conceived of as either hot or cool. Hot playing can have the round and warm sound of Coleman Hawkins or the aggressive and brassy sound of Dizzy Gillespie. Usually hot players use a high tessitura. In contrast, cool players, such as Gerry Mulligan and Stan Getz, embrace an intimate, mellow, and often breathy tone in a mid to low range. Idiomatic to both schools, however, is the desire to muddy up the standardized pure tone, which characterizes Western art music, with distinctive timbres (Schuller 1968, 57). Hot vocalists run the gamut from the fuzzy timbre of Louis Armstrong and the brassy sound of Dinah Washington to the rich sonority of Sarah Vaughan. Cool vocalists are represented by the breathy approach of Helen Merrill, the translucent tone of Chet Baker, and the crisp articulation of Chris Connor. Whether hot or cool, jazz improvisations are characterized by a particular choice of notes and melodic figurations. Jazz solos often use the complex harmonies of the chord changes accompanying the songs by emphasizing colour tones in the melodic improvisations.4 135 Since the bebop era, jazz tends to be characterized by a fast harmonic rhythm and solos in which the musician outlines the chords (or "plays the changes") in angular and disjunct melodies. In a search for alternatives to the Western European diatonic scale, jazz musicians have always emphasized non-diatonic tones, such as blues notes (on melodic instruments) or tone clusters (in piano and guitar solos). The incorporation of modality into jazz solos, for example, in 1959 with Miles Davis' Kind of Blue, is a further product of this quest. Modal pieces usually tend to maintain a mode for at least four bars, in contrast to tonal songs, in which the chord changes at least once per measure (Porter and Ullman, 463). Genre in "Maria" "Maria" is more consonant with the sound of the cool school than with that of the hot school. In this song, however, Siberry extends her auteur approach by experimenting not with such secondary generic signifiers as metre and phrase length, but rather with concepts fundamental to jazz, including improvisation, swing, timbre, and tonality. Accordingly, "Maria" does not achieve an overall consonance with the jazz idiom. Siberry clearly follows the conventions of jazz in such parameters as instrumentation, melody, metre, and phrase length, but these signifiers are not as fundamental to jazz as swing, timbre, and improvisation are. Thus this song is not completely successful at evoking the jazz idiom. As mentioned earlier, many approaches to timbre and swing have been adopted by soloists of the cool school, from Bix Beiderbecke to Chris Connor. However, a specific genre of jazz popular in the 1950s, called "cool jazz," cultivated a more idiosyncratic sound.5 It was characterized by a use of mid- to low-range tessituras, mellow or breathy timbres, and relaxed tempos. The genre was shaped by pieces released off the recording Birth of the Cool (1949). 136 These songs emphasized unique timbral colouration evoked by such instruments as the French Horn, fluegelhorn, and tuba; mid- to low-range instruments, such as the trombone and baritone saxophone; and the innovative arrangement of jazz standards and compositions into intricate formal structures, spearheaded by Gil Evans.6 Siberry's song, "Maria," in many ways evokes the cool-jazz genre. Indeed, her experimentation with fundamental signifiers reflects Gil Evans' approaches to the genre. Because Siberry does not come from a jazz background, however, her experimentation is less successful than Evans'. Before looking at how Siberry subverts the concepts of swing, timbre, and improvisation, the parameters that conform with genre expectations in "Maria" will be discussed. First, the instrumentation of "Maria" is highly consonant with the cool-jazz genre. The song features vocal and trumpet soloists with piano, bass, and drums accompaniment.7 The use of bass, piano, and drums as a rhythm section, with a vocalist and trumpet soloing over top, is typical of the instrumentation found in small jazz combos.8 The only discontinuity with jazz instrumentation in "Maria" is the way in which the drums are used throughout the song. In "Maria" the ride cymbal is rarely used, whereas in most jazz since the 1940s it is used continually to keep time (that is, laying out the beat) in a song. Instead, the beat in "Maria" is kept on the high hat, while brushes are used either on the tom-toms (in sections I and D of the form, which will be discussed later) or the snare (A, B, A', and C). There is also some use of the sticks on the snare (D), usually incorporating cymbal work (I', I", A", and E). The cymbals are used more for effect than keeping the beat. Since the drums are in the background of the mix, however, these anomalies do not sound like a glaring dissonance with the conventions of jazz instrumentation. In the vocal and trumpet solos, the use of colour tones and melodic figuration reflects jazz 137 conventions (see the transcription in Appendix 5). Siberry draws upon a variety of colour tones, including blue notes (the use of a flatted third in the shift to A Aeolian in m. 29 is striking), 7ths (mm. 16, 28, and 32), 9ths (mm. 9, 11, and 30), 1 lths (mm. 9, 11, 16, and 40), and 13ths (mm. 80 and 94). This prominent use of upper extensions is not unique to Siberry's jazz pieces. They can also be found in such songs as "la jalouse" and "Flirtin' is a Flo-thing." Other songs, however, do not use such tones. For example, they cannot be found in "everything reminds me of my dog," which sticks closely to the diatonic harmonic language of the country idiom.9 The trumpet solos by David Travers-Smith are even more consonant with cool-jazz conventions than Siberry's vocals. In both timbre and inflection Travers-Smith is clearly influenced by the cool-jazz melodic style spearheaded by Miles Davis during the 1950s and 1960s. Like Davis, Travers-Smith uses colour tones to great effect. The use of 13ths can be heard in mm. 51, 57, 78, and 84. Some upper extensions are used as passing tones, but most are presented with agogic accents. For example, sustained 7ths in the trumpet solos can be heard in mm. 18, 20, 38, and 40 and held 9ths can be found in mm. 21, 23, and 25. Typical of cool jazz and Davis in particular, Travers-Smith's solos have spare melodies; nonetheless, his solos parallel Siberry's in that he too makes use of a single blue note in m. 23. Thus the melodic approaches of Travers-Smith and Siberry are similar to each other and consonant with cool-jazz conventions. The use of metre in "Maria" is also consonant with cool-jazz conventions. Most jazz standards are 4/4 throughout. "Maria" is no exception. Given that Siberry typically subverts metric uniformity by using mixed metres, the metric consistency found in "Maria" is more than a little surprising. It is clear that Siberry is making a concerted effort to stay within generic 138 parameters here. She does not throw in a single metric disruption, such as the measure of 1/4 heard in "everything reminds me of my dog." The reasons for this conformity to jazz expectations could be that a consistent metre is necessary to facilitate improvisational freedom. It is also possible that Siberry has an inherent respect for the jazz idiom like such other rock auteurs as Sting, Bjork, Sinead O'Connor, and Joni Mitchell, who have also turned to jazz (although this seems unlikely as Siberry radically subverts other parameters as we shall see). Whatever the reason, "Maria" remains in 4/4 throughout. Figure 5.1 - Phrase Lengths in "Maria" Form: I A B A' C I' I" A" D E No. of mm.: 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8+4 8+4 8+8+3 Mm. 1-8 9-16 17-24 25-32 33-40 41-48 49-56 57-68 69-80 81-99 The phrases of this song follow the conventional jazz length of four or eight-bar units. 1 0 "Maria" consists of sections made up of eight-bar phrases until the statement of the A" material from mm. 57 - 64 (see Figure 5.1 above), which adds a four-bar tag. These four additional measures would make for a conventional jazz ending; however, instead of ending the piece, they lead into the all-new material of section D, which also consists of phrase lengths of 8 + 4 measures. Again a four-bar tag leads to a new section (E), which, instead of following the new pattern of phrase lengths of 8 + 4, draws out the lyric (in mm. 88 - 89 and mm. 91 - 93) to create an 8 + 8 measure pattern. All these even phrases appear to have been too much for Siberry, who in the final measures lays down a three-bar tag. This ending more accurately reflects Siberry's 139 auteur penchant for asymmetrical phrasing lengths. The expansions of phrase lengths toward the end of this song—the four-bar additions in section A" and D and the three-bar addition to section E—are rare in conventional jazz composition and improvisation. As mentioned, while a four-bar tag is often added to the end of a piece, it is not usually found midway through a song. This tinkering with phrase lengths, however, is typical of cool jazz, especially in arrangements by Gil Evans and Miles Davis. For instance, Evans and Davis's composition "Boplicity" from Birth of the Cool (1949 - 50) consists of three choruses of the AABA standard. In the second chorus, the bridge is extended from 4 + 4 to 6 + 4, with the band playing the first six measures and Davis soloing on the last four. In addition, in the first and second choruses, the band's statement of the final A is extended from 4 + 4 to 4 + 6. 1 1 The subsequent solos (over the first two A sections of the next chorus) by Mulligan and Davis, respectively then loose two measures to become 6 + 8. Furthermore, Miles Davis's arrangement of "Deception" from Birth of the Cool, takes George Shearing's original AABA song "Conception" and not only plays with the title, but also adds two additional measures to point up the already unusually long A section. (The B section remains a normative eight measures in length.)12 "Deception" therefore consists of an A section that is 14 measures long, rather than the 12 bars of the original (Porter and Ullman, 240). While the phrase lengths in "Maria" depart from standard jazz arranging beginning at the end of section A", the presence of two four-bar tags and one three-bar aligns the song with the cool-jazz genre. 1 3 While the elongated phrase lengths in the concluding sections of the song are conventional to the cool-jazz genre, the presence of additional sections (D and E) makes the overall form of "Maria" dissonant with jazz conventions. Typically, jazz forms are kept simple to facilitate improvisation. 1 4 Bebop arrangements, for example, usually consist of nothing more than an introduction (the "head") played by the entire ensemble, followed by several repetitions of a 32-bar chorus (or a 12-bar blues) over which soloists improvise, and concluding with a restatement of the introduction (the "out chorus"). The resulting form conventional to bebop is as follows: head, chorus 1 to X, out chorus. While cool-jazz arrangements tend to have more complex introductions (often repeated as a bridge and/or coda) than bebop, they too follow the same basic formal procedure by repeating the body of the song (for example, an AABA chorus) to facilitate soloing. Even if soloists trade off sections (thus not soloing over the whole form or chorus) or obscure the form by soloing over bar lines and into the next section, as in "Boplicity," the body of the song is usually stated (and repeated) completely without interruption.15 "Maria" does not follow such a basic design. The form of "Maria" is IABA'CH"A"DE (see Figure 5.1 above). On a first hearing, the song appears to follow a 32-bar ABAC chorus format.16 The ABA'C initially could be heard as a chorus with an introduction (I) that has a dual function as both an introduction to the song and a transition to the second chorus. It would be unusual, however, to have a contrasting trumpet solo in the B section before a complete statement of the head of the tune (that is, ABA'C). In fact, it would be extremely rare to have a trumpet solo during the initial presentation of a melody. Furthermore, even if the introduction had served as a transition (I') to another chorus it is unlikely that it would be immediately repeated (I"). Finally, when A" returns, it does not lead back to BA'C, the earlier conclusion to the 32-bar chorus. Rather, it is extended by four bars, clearly indicating that ABA'C had never made up the chorus structure to begin with. The four-bar tag on A" leads to two new sections, each of which are also extended, by four and eleven bars, respectively. 141 Because of the sheer variety of the materials found in this song (there are six different sections and their variations), the form of "Maria" is best approached as a sectional design. In this regard the song does not conform with the formal conventions of the jazz idiom. Yet, as in the songs analyzed in the preceding chapters, the form of "Maria" challenges the expectations of another idiom (here jazz); and thus it embraces the complexity favoured by the rock auteur. The lack of a distinct chorus structure here has further ramifications for the practice of improvisation. This unusual form poses challenges for extended improvisation, as no section is repeated identically. The unusual form makes it difficult to hear which sections present the original tune and which are improvisations upon it. It is almost as if Siberry is subverting the primary characteristic of the jazz idiom, challenging its parameters to see if improvisation remains possible in the context of a varied form with no repeated section for improvisation. From an analytical perspective, the lack of a repeated chorus in "Maria" presents a problem in evaluating the solos. Given that "Maria" is a newly-composed song, and thus we have no standard with which to compare it, it is difficult to tell what exactly is improvised. One would expect the A section to serve as the main tune or head of the piece, since it is subsequently repeated two times. As such, it appears that this section could serve as the foundation for improvisation. There are, however, few differences between the three statements of section A. Indeed, the third statement is almost identical to the first (except mm. 61-62 and 64). The reason for the unchanged nature of A" could be to avoid formal confusion. The strict repetition of section A mirrors the practice of such jazz styles as bebop, in which the head and the out chorus are traditionally stated identically.17 Without a strict repetition of A, it might not become clear that section A is the allotted head of the tune. One could assume that section I is the head.18 142 With A as the head of the tune, it would be possible to view the first repetition of A as a site for improvisation. And indeed in section A' the melodic material is considerably altered. Together with the melodic changes comes a temporary tonicization of A major, which justifies the alterations, and gives a new developmental slant to this variation, providing novelty to the repetition. 1 9 Yet, with new chord changes, section A' functions as an entirely unknown section for the improviser; and thus improvisational creativity is hampered. Thus, section A does not function as a site for improvisation at all. Ultimately, the statements of section A can be heard as the head and out chorus of the tune (A and A") and an altered repetition (A'). While improvisation traditionally occurs in the chorus of a song, in "Maria," the introduction is the site of improvisation.20 It is unusual to find improvisation in an introduction, even if the section later returns. In this song, however, not only is section I repeated as frequently as section A, it is also improvised over by different soloists.21 It seems that as part of her rock auteur stance Siberry decided to differentiate between the head of the tune and the chorus, even though in bebop each of these consists of the same chord changes. As such, the head loses its function as a point of departure for melodic improvisation. In a sense, Siberry subverts the very practice of improvisation in jazz by treating the introduction as a primary structural unit and as a site for improvisation. As the site of improvisation, each statement of section I captures a different type of invention. The first statement sounds introductory, not just because it is the opening of the piece, but also because the piano part consists of a repeated riff (which is a compositional device in line with the swing "head chart" tradition). The vocal solo consists of neither a text nor virtuosic scatting. The second statement (!', beginning at m. 41) is clearly more improvisatory. In this 143 statement it is the trumpet that improvises new material. Travers-Smith uses musical gestures that are idiomatic to the cool-jazz genre. Although his choice of intervals is not derived from the head of the tune, his rhythms are. Like the A section, he emphasizes the downbeat (mm. 42, 43, and 45) as well as eighth-note pickups (mm. 41, 42 and 44). He also slides into notes from above the desired pitch (in mm. 41, 42, 44) and alternates short and long durations (mm. 43, 45, and 48). Instead of relinquishing his solo to the vocalist, however, the trumpet player continues soloing in I". It is not unusual for one soloist to take two choruses in a row. In this way, section I is further signaled as the site of improvisation for the song. At the beginning of section I", however, the pianist quits accompanying with the riff and begins interacting with the vocal solo; for Siberry has now joined the I" section as a soloist as well, creating two simultaneous solos. Indeed, Siberry could be conceived of as the primary soloist in I", over the trumpet, which continues to alternate sustained passages with runs. The fact that Siberry's solo differs radically from her initial statement of I convincingly demonstrates her ability to improvise in the style of traditional jazz vocalists, such as Billie Holiday. Indeed, Siberry's repetition of a single pitch is a technique reminiscent of Holiday's improvisational practice. (Siberry, however, extends the use of this technique for two phrases in a row). While Siberry's solo is not of melodic interest, it does demonstrate rhythmic spontaneity, accenting beats 2 and 4. Indeed, if this, our only clear example of Siberry improvising, is any indication, it seems evident that she is capable of improvisation in the jazz idiom.22 Siberry's subversion of jazz formal conventions can be explained by her use of tonality in this song. The way in which the tonal centre is obscured throughout the piece seems to be an attempt to subvert the conventional use of tonality in jazz. As mentioned earlier, the 144 employment of modes rather than the standard use of major and minor scales became prevalent in jazz beginning in the late 1950s. Modes offered an alternative to the cycling through keys that had been present in bebop. Instead of a fast harmonic rhythm, modal jazz offered players a series of modes. For example, in "So What" from Kind of Blue (1959) by Miles Davis, the AABA 32- bar chorus consists of 3 eight-bar sections of D dorian as the tonal centre or primary chief mode and one contrasting eight-bar bridge in Eb dorian. This example stands in stark contrast to the relatively complex harmonic structures heard in "Maria." Siberry's song contains modes like other jazz standards, however, the way in which the tonal centres are delineated is quite complex.23 "Maria" begins ambiguously (see Figure 5.2 below), with the bass alternating between the notes G and D. It is difficult to tell what the tonal relationship of these notes is. Is the tonal centre here D dorian or G mixolydian? When the A section tonicizes C major, it seems clear in hindsight that the introduction was in G mixolydian (creating a conventional V -1 relationship). Section B continues with a trumpet solo that seems to connote D aeolian, but the emphasis on G in the bass creates an overall G dorian sound that again affirms the initial reading of G mixolydian in section B. Ending the instrumental B section with a d minor chord in m. 24 (a minor V of G dorian), the A section returns, this time in A major, via a cunning reinterpretation of the V of D minor chord (A-C#-E) as the new tonic.24 The presence of C-sharps in this section, against what had been C-naturals, represents a significant change from the earlier C major statement. This new key raises more doubts of whether or not the tonal centre is G mixolydian, as had been supposed, or D dorian (as postulated by the alternative reading of the introduction). The jarring effect 145 created at the beginning of Section A' subsides at m. 29, when A aeolian and the C-naturals return. The new material of section C seems to favour G mixolydian after all. What follows in this G major section is an alternation between G major and A minor harmonies in each measure over what appears to be a dominant prolongation (D pedal) in the bass. With the return of section I' in m. 41, we are really back where we began, trying to discern if the tonal centre is G mixolydian or D dorian. The repeated alternations in the bass between G and A in the subsequent repeat of the section (I") leave this ambiguity still open. When section A" returns with its C major statement, the initial reading of G mixolydian as the home key again seems self-evident. This impression is only strengthened when C major (which has a TV -1 relationship with G mixolydian) continues throughout the new four-bar tag that follows the A statement from measures 65 to 68. Suddenly in this last measure, however, F# (that was earlier foreshadowed in m. 36) appears; and, by the beginning of section D, we are back to our second reading of the piece in D. While neither D dorian nor G mixolydian contain an F#, it soon becomes apparent that the mode employed here is D mixolydian. Not only is all of section D in D mixolydian, but the remainder of the piece (section E and its tag) is as well. Figure 5.2 - Tonality in "Maria" Form: I A B A' C I ' I" A" D E mode: d dorian C g dorian A - a aeolian G d dorian d dorian C D mixolydian D mixolydian While hinted at all the way through, it has not become clear until section D that the tonal centre of the piece is D (see Figure 5.2). The tonal ambiguity experienced until this point 146 explains the necessity of the extensive new material in sections D and E. "Maria" needs to be end-weighted in D (mixolydian) to confirm the tonal centre (D dorian) of the introduction. In addition to subverting the jazz concepts of improvisation and tonality, Siberry plays with the concept of swing in "Maria." Swing is the characteristic rhythmic feel in jazz created by off-beat attacks. The pickup notes are not eighths as traditionally found in Western art music, but rather the last 8th of a triplet. The consistent employment of the triplet feel or "shuffle beat" in jazz creates a forward propulsion. The difference in the swing feel between the hot and cool schools is that hot jazz heavily accents beats 2 and 4, while a cooler rhythmic approach can emphasizes either beats 2 and 4 or beats 1 and 3. An emphasis on beats 1 and 3, for example, can be found in such songs as Gil Evan's arrangement of "Moon Dreams" from Birth of the Cool (Porter and Ullman, 241).25 Because "Maria" is played with even eighth and sixteenth notes, it is not swung in the traditional sense of a shuffle beat. Nonetheless, there is a sense of forward propulsion. "Maria" thus initially sounds representative of the cool school, with an emphasis on beats one and three; but in actuality the subdivision of the 4/4 measure is not into four sets of triplets (or 12/8). Rather, because of the consistently syncopated anticipation of beat three, a lopsided two feel is created. The subdivision of this two feel is not into two sets of triplets as in swing, but rather two sets of eighth-notes grouped into threes, plus two extra eighth notes that by this time feel like an incomplete triplet. At the beginning of each measure in section A, for example, the eighth- note groupings of three can be heard on the texted syllables "ri" and "a" of "Maria." The measure continues, however, subverting the "swing" feel that is established with the 3 + 3 eighth- note groupings. The eighth-note subdivisions created in each 4/4 bar therefore become 3 + 3 + 2 147 instead of a normative triplet feel of 3 + 3 + 3 + 3. When the third eighth-note grouping is cut short, the resulting feel is an emphasis on two beats (1 and 2-and), followed by a quick three (on beat 4-and). Because the third eight-note grouping of three is interrupted, so is the pseudo-swing feel. It seems that there are not four triplets in a measure, but two plus a duple. Despite this subversion of the swing feel, the rhythms heard throughout "Maria" nonetheless form a loose rhythmic propulsion, a feel that is not found in Siberry's negotiation of other genres. This rhythmic drive is heard in both solo lines and the ensemble as a whole. In each statement of the A section, for example, both the vocal soloist and rhythm section anticipate the third beat with an eighth-note pickup that is tied over to beat three, thus not giving an attack on that beat. It is the anticipation of beat three that drives the rhythm forward. The same rhythmic propulsion caused by the anticipation of beat three is also found in: the entire ensemble in mm. 21 - 24, the piano in the first section C as well as mm. 41 - 48, and the bass in the statement of section I' beginning at m. 49.2 6 Again beat three is not attacked in many of these measures. Thus, while the pseudo-swing feel of "Maria" is not actually created by triplet subdivisions, a rhythmic propulsion is still created. This propulsion is suggestive of cool-school swing. In cool jazz, the swing feel is highlighted by having the soloists anticipate and delay their rhythms in opposition to the straighter rhythms articulated in the rhythm section. Not only is rhythmic propulsion facilitated by a soloist who creates a pattern that attacks ahead of the beat of the accompaniment, but the same propulsion is also felt when the soloist attacks behind the beat in opposition to the rhythm section. While the rhythms in Siberry's vocal generally conform to the pseudo-triplet feel (of 3 + 3 + 2) that accents beats 1 and 2-and, there are moments in her solo that highlight beats of 2 and 4. For example, Siberry can be heard anticipating the steady 148 propulsion (of beats 1 and 2-and) of the accompaniment in beats 2 and 4 of mm. 49-51 and 53 - 55 and beats 1 and 3 of mm. 14 and 30. She also subverts the later emphasis on beats 1 and 3 in the accompaniment via her anticipations in mm. 88 and 91. Finally, her vocal delays attacks by entering behind the rhythm section in mm. 15 -16, 31 - 32, and 63 - 64. The same cool-jazz approach to swing can be found in the trumpet solos. Travers-Smith, however, makes more of a point than Siberry to emphasize beats 2 and 4 and to subvert the 1 and 3 emphasis of the rhythm section. Rhythmic anticipation of beats 1 and 2-and in the accompaniment can be found as the trumpet soloist emphasizes beats 2 and 4 in mm. 21, 23 - 24, 49, 51, and 54; while delayed attacks can be heard in mm. 40, 50, 55, and 77 - 78. In "Maria," then, the light swing feel of the soloists often works in opposition to the recurring emphasis on beats 1 and 3 in the rhythm section. Siberry's subversion of an actual triplet swing feel has a larger resonance with her approach to timbre. As mentioned, the timbre of the trumpet was completely conventional with cool jazz. In addition, both Siberry and Travers-Smith used conventional melodic figuration. Siberry's uses of timbre, however, remains dissonant with cool-jazz conventions. As in her engagement with timbre heard in electro-pop and country-pop, Siberry retains her folk-revival tone colour in "Maria." This choice is particularly striking considering that in her prior negotiation of the Latin genre on "are we dancing now? (map HT)" from Bound by the Beauty she affects a breathy vocal production, not unlike that of jazz singer Helen Merrill. If Siberry had employed such a timbre in "Maria" her vocal would have been much more convincing as cool jazz. Finally, the lyrics of "Maria" are atypical of jazz conventions. Usually jazz standards are 149 narratives about love and occasionally drugs or sex. The cool-jazz genre in particular adds elements of detached irony, as in "My Funny Valentine." The lyrics of "Maria," however, neither deal with the topics mentioned above, nor form a linear narrative (See Appendix 1, Lyric 16). Rather, they are sparse thoughts that the narrator has about someone named "Maria" ("maria is on my mind"). The identity of Maria is even more ambiguous than the tonal centre of the song. Is Maria a child or a lover ("every time you run, every time you play"), an adult friend or mentor ("every time you sing/every time you pray"), an historical figure ("long ago and far away") or a religious icon ("long ago and here today")? We are never told. Perhaps the narrator knows several people who embody each different personal characteristics but all share the same name. The other equally possible option is that one person named Maria whom the narrator knows embodies each of these qualities (youth, worship, historicity, and consistency) at once. In any event, the enigmatic quality of the lyrics does tie into a certain sense of elusiveness affiliated with the urbane sophistication of cool jazz. While the use of obscure lyrics here parallels Siberry's approach to electro-pop lyrics, the subtleness and lack of narrative in the lyrics of "Maria" is different from conventional approaches to jazz lyrics. Rather than this being a song about how the narrator feels about Maria, it is a song about an altogether mysterious person, who remains unidentifiable. Although "Maria" differs from the cool-jazz conventions in some aspects of form, tonality, and the lyrics, the song is consonant with the musical parameters of melody, phrase length, instrumentation, and, most notably for Siberry, metre. While there are more parameters consonant than dissonant with cool-jazz conventions, this song shows that perhaps Siberry is 150 more reluctant to identify herself with cool jazz. That the vocal timbre of "Maria" is reminiscent of Siberry's approach to folk revival and the form of the song is problematized to reflect her rock auteur desire to alter generic conventions is not surprising. These elements were also evident in "la jalouse," which was, however, more consonant with the folk-revival style than "Maria" is with evoking jazz. Yet the attempt is clearly perceivable, especially through the introduction of two strong jazz signifiers: the complex harmonies and the cool jazz trumpet sound. Perhaps pop audiences who think of Kenny G as jazz, would hear "Maria" as jazz as well. To those expecting conventional jazz procedures, however, "Maria" would perhaps disappointingly contain only jazz inflections. While "Maria" may be seen as insufficiently conforming to genre conventions, one cannot help but admire Siberry's adventurous approach to composition, her experimentation with fundamental musical parameters, and her fearless exploration of a vast array of contrasting genres. 151 Notes for Chapter 5 1. The only album that had hitherto not been sampled into a computer once the technology was available was Bound by the Beauty, which was also recorded from live playing. 2 . Because Siberry's songs are not in the form of a chorus that is repeated in its entirety several times (rather, the form consists of an unsystematic presentation of non-repeating and varied sections), this point is important in establishing the songs on Maria as improvisations in the jazz idiom. 3 . For a more thorough definition of the difficult-to-articulate concept of swing, see Schuller 1968,6- 8. 4 . Colour tones are the notes that define the quality of the chord, for example the 3rd (indicating modality) and 7th. In jazz, it refers more often to the upper extensions of triads, namely, 9ths, llths, and 13ths. 5 . Cool jazz is also sometimes called "West Coast jazz" for its many practitioners there. This latter term is a misnomer, however, since many soloists working in the cool-jazz genre did not live in the west. Sometimes cool jazz is viewed by critics and musicians as a watered-down version of hot jazz. In part, this sentiment is based upon the fact that this genre sometimes contains the presence of European art music instruments and techniques. Miles Davis' albums Birth of the Cool (1949 - 1950) and Sketches of Spain (1958) combine the use of jazz techniques and figuration with such "art music" instruments as French horn and tuba; but Davis' other cool jazz albums use neither art music instruments nor extended forms. Ultimately, viewing cool jazz as a simplified version of hot jazz insinuates that white practitioners inherently dilute the jazz idiom of its "hot" black characteristics. Bebop trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie, for example, commented that "Musically speaking, the cool period always reminded me of white people's music. There was no guts in that music, not much rhythm either" (Gillespie and Fraser, 360). In fact, however, many practitioners of the cool school were well respected black musicians such as Lester Young and Miles Davis. While cool jazz may prioritize melody over rhythm, whereas the inverse may be true of hot jazz, both are actually legitimate jazz styles. 6 . The cool-jazz interest in exploring new timbres and writing for a group is also not to be confused with what Gunther Schuller calls the "Third Stream genre". This latter type of music, embraced by such composers as Schuller, George Russell, and Harold Shapero, quite specifically seeks to combine, or more frequently juxtapose, the jazz and art music idioms in multi- movement suites (Porter and Ullman, 255). 7 . In jazz improvisation, the trumpet and/or saxophone (and/or vocals) play the melody, while the bass, drums, and piano (and/or electric guitar or banjo) accompany as the rhythm section. The association of trumpets and saxophones with jazz is so close that, in popular culture, any track using one of these instruments as the lead is often conceived of as jazz. Kenny G.'s music comes to mind here. While this so-called "lite jazz" is not considered a genre of jazz by 152 musicians and critics, cool jazz certainly is. 8 . The use of drums is not notated in the transcription in Appendix 13. Furthermore, the piano part notated consists almost exclusively of only the right hand. 9 . "Slow Tango" (from Tree) is another example which use mostly harmonic tones. 10 . While eight-bar units are standard in jazz, there are notable exceptions, such as Charlie Parker's "Koko" (itself based on the changes of Ray Noble's "Cherokee"), which consists of sixteen-bar phrases (Porter and Ullman, 451). 1 1 . "The Smithsonian Collection mistakenly says that there are only two choruses. They err as well in saying that the final A of the first chorus is extended to nine-and-a-half bars. The band plays the final eight bars of the first chorus and continues through the first one-and-a-half measures—two if you include the silent beats—of the second chorus" (Porter and Ullman, 240). 12 . Typically, both A and B sections of an AABA form are 8 measures in length. 13 . There are subsequent jazz genres that also extend phrase lengths. Antonio Carlos Jobim's famous AABA bossa nova song, "The Girl From Ipanema" from Getz/Gilberto (1963) has a sixteen-bar bridge with eight-bar A sections, for example. 14 . Even a composer like Chick Corea who is known for his complex compositions uses forms no more complicated than ABCAD in such songs as "Tones for Joan's Bones," recorded in 1966 (Porter and Ullman, 346). 15 . This approach to arranging the form can be heard in Gil Evans' 1947 setting of "Donna Lee" for Claude Thornhill's band (Porter and Ullman, 238). 16 . While AABA forms are far more common than ABAC forms, the latter do exist. "Singin' The Blues," a song made famous in 1927 by cornetist Bix Beiderbecke and C-melody saxophonist Frankie Trubauer, is an example (Porter and Ullman, 77). 17 . It must be conceded that in bebop the head and out chorus are either 32- or 12-bar units, rather than just an 8-bar A section. 18 . There is another possible reason for this near exact repetition of A, namely, that, contrary to her own opinion, Siberry is a poor improviser. When given the opportunity of repeated changes in the third statement she does little to depart from the head of the tune in the way that a traditional jazz vocalist such as Billie Holiday would. Siberry's lack of even minor embellishments are perhaps because, unlike conventional jazz singers, she is unable to think of any musical ideas on her feet. As we will see later on, however, this is simply not the case. 1 9 . It should be noted that this is not an exact transposition; much of the original melody is kept and adapted to A major. 2 0 . Because there is no repetition of sections C, D, or E, it is impossible to discuss these as sites of improvisation. This is not to say that these sections were not improvised in practice (It 153 seems clear from the figuration that the trumpet in sections C, D, and E and the piano in sections A", D, and E were improvised); but rather that, from our limited resources (a single recording with no clearly delineated chorus structure), it is impossible to compare and contrast different improvisational approaches to melody here. 2 1 . The only factor that disallows section I as exemplifying the allotted site of improvisation is the fact that the harmonies in section I" are somewhat altered from the original statement of I (particularly in mm. 52, 54, and 56). On the whole, however, the harmonies here are close enough to the original statement to still conceive of this section as I (it is not as if there was a key change), particularly since it is not uncommon for a pianist or guitarist to substitute third-related harmonies as part of the improvisational interplay between the soloists and the rhythm section. 2 2 . It should be conceded, however, that it is difficult to make any conclusions from only the eight bars heard here. 2 3 . The fact that modal music was first employed in the cool jazz genre by Miles Davis on Kind of Blue (1959) further adds to the consonance of modality and cool jazz (although this relationship is not exclusive. Modality can also be found in the hot style of John Coltrane). Since modes lack leading tones, there can be no perfect cadences in modal music. The lack of full cadences makes it difficult to understand irregular forms in modal music, as we have just seen in the formal analysis of "Maria." That this song is modal seems clear, however, because of the prominence of pedal tones in the bass in sections A" and C. 2 4 . The practice of having a second section A in a key different from that of the first is not unprecedented. The standard "All the Things You Are" as well as Clifford Brown's "Joy Spring" both follow this procedure. These two standards, however, are both in a traditional AABA form (Porter and Ullman, 259). 2 5 . "Moon Beams" was originally written by Chummy McGregor. 2 6 . There is an additional syncopated pickup in the bass that drives the rhythm forward, but this time the anticipation is on the second beat (in the second measure) of the repeated figure in section E. 154 CHAPTER 6 THE FUNK GENRE R&B (l^ythrn and Blues) is a hybrid idiom, as the name makes clear. 1 (notes for Chapter 6 begin on p. 171). The term was coined in 1949 as an umbrella term for a variety of African-American musical styles, including blues, gospel, and popular vocal groups. Billboard first used "R&B" as a replacement for the pejorative term "Race Records," which had been used since the 1920s. Because R&B was an idiom that was marketed primarily to African-Americans, it came to include any genre of black popular music (such as rhythm and blues, soul, and funk) that could not "cross over" from the black charts to the white pop charts due to either sexual innuendos in the lyrics or racism within the music business.2 From the beginning, artists engaging this idiom experienced racial prejudices and marginalization from the pop music industry. In the 1950s, for example, many hits in the rhythm and blues genre did not receive success in the pop charts until covered by white rock 'n' roll singers. Elvis Presley's "Good Rockin' Tonight" was a cover of Roy Brown's hit; and Bill Haley's "Shake Rattle and Roll" was a cleaned-up version of the Big Joe Turner original (Romanowski and George-Warren, 831). Still in the 1970s, the funk genre frequently failed to cross over to the pop charts.3 For example, although Parliament's "Aqua Boogie (A Psychoalphadiscobetabioaquadoloop)" reached number one in the R&B charts in 1977, it did not even make the Top 40 in the pop charts. The song's highest position there was number 98. More recently, R&B artists such as Prince (despite massive crossed-over success in the pop charts) continue to write certain hits that only make the R&B charts or that do substantially better in the R&B charts than the pop charts.4 155 Today R&B is seen as an idiom that has brought together a wide variety of musical genres, rather than a strict set of aesthetic criteria. These genres include electric or urban blues in the 1940s, rhythm and blues in the 1950s, soul in the 1960s, funk in the 1970s, and romantic ballads from the 1980s to the present.5 One important R&B genre, funk, is engaged by Siberry. As mentioned in Chapter 5, after releasing When I was a Boy, Siberry turned to jazz in Maria. Since that album took such a short time to mix in the studio, Siberry ended up having booked more time than she needed. With the extra studio time she recorded Teenager, an album that consisted exclusively of folk-revival songs. This release was followed by an eclectic multi- genre studio album (A Day in the Life) and a trilogy of albums: Tree, Lips, and Child. Each of the albums in this New York Trilogy was recorded live, as Maria had been. The second of these albums, Lips, employs the genre of funk extensively. The release of Lips (1999) was timely, for it tapped into a late 1990s revival of funk, both in music and fashion. The revival of funk music was inspired in part by the prevalence of funk samples in contemporary hip hop.6 Interestingly, Siberry herself did not initially intend to make a funk album: That was another thing on the Lips album that I didn't expect to happen: the funk feel to it. That is nothing I have ever been attracted to. But that is sort of what happened with the players; and we went with it.... Some of the songs had more funky, you know, guitar solos and that kind of stuff... and I just sort of went with that. But that's how I heard the music (Siberry 2001). In light of Siberry's self-proclaimed ambivalence to funk, it is interesting to note that in her approach to the musical parameters of "Flirtin' is a Flo-thing" from Lips she conforms to all the expected conventions of the genre. It is possible that because the aesthetics of funk are so far 156 removed from those of folk revival, Siberry did not feel comfortable enough to challenge genre expectations. That seems unlikely, however, because she did feel comfortable enough to critique the genre. The exaggerated tone of "Flirtin' is a Flo-thing" critiques the machismo lyrics that are conventionally found in much funk. Funk is a genre of music that contains a high level of eroticism. At times this has taken on a quality of machismo boasting. Lyrics such as "Sex Machine" or "Hot Pants" by James Brown and "Up for the Downstroke" by Parliament emphasize male (hetero)sexual prowess. The boasting in funk lyrics is not unique to the genre, but rather comes from the larger African- diaspora tradition of toasting.7 Toasting is the West African poetic tradition of boasting about oneself, often in the context of a verbal competition with another poet. In African-diaspora contexts such as reggae and rap, the D. J. usually brags about his or her artistic skill, sexual prowess, or financial success (George, 7). Funk lyrics did not contain only such sexual display, but they were also connected to 1970s political currents, such as black nationalist sentiments.8 The emphasis on African- diaspora traits in funk (which will be discussed more thoroughly below) made it uniquely suited as a vehicle for black nationalism. As such, the same funk artists boasting about their sexual prowess, also frequently made overt socio-political comments, for example, James Brown's "Say It Loud, I'm Black and I'm Proud" or "Get Up, Get into It and Get Involved" and Parliament's "Chocolate City." The last of these, for instance, discusses how inner cities across the United States are being taken over by African-Americans. Whether televised or not, a revolution was already taking place. Black nationalism in the United States had a strong affiliation with the Nation of Islam 157 (NOT) and the Five Percent Nation in the 1960s, two organizations that placed women in positions of subservience to men.9 Interestingly, the patriarchal nature of 1960s black nationalism often found its way into R&B genres such as funk (Decker, 107). Indeed, funk is a genre that has been associated almost exclusively with male performers, producers, and composers. 1 0 As such, pro-black stances frequently became tied up in machismo posturing. For instance, the verse of James Brown's "Funky President (People It's Bad)" from Reality (1974) begins by commenting on the present-day social scene: "Stock market's going up. Job's going down/Ain't no funkin' jobs to be found." In the chorus, Brown's resolution to the problem expresses typical black nationalist rhetoric: People, people we got to get up before we go under. Let's get together. Get some land. Raise our food, just like the man. Save our money. Do like the mob. Put up a fight on the job. But in the bridge of the same song Brown suddenly shifts from the political to the sexual (before returning to the chorus), saying: Hey, Lord. Turn up the funk. Praise the Lord. Get sexy, sexy. Get funky and dance. Love me baby. Love me nasty. Don't make it once, but can you make it twice? I like it! The lack of female participation in funk is particularly striking when compared to the role of women in hip hop from the 1980s to the present. This genre is just as political and just as male as funk, but women have found a greater role. The practice of toasting, for example, can be heard from such female rappers as Queen Latifah (in "Ladies First" from All Hail the Queen in 1989) and Lauryn Hill (in "Everything is Everything" from The Miseducation ofLauryn Hill in 158 1998). 1 1 In this regard, it is interesting to see what a woman's negotiation of funk would sound like, particularly that of a white woman, an outsider on two counts. 1 2 Toward that end, "Flirtin' is a Flo-thing" from Lips will be analyzed. As an African-diaspora style, funk engages the aesthetics of West-African music by the African slaves who were forced to come to the New World. There are several musical parameters in funk that have their origin in West Africa. First of all, the West African use of timbre was retained in African-diaspora repertoires. In west African musical aesthetics, coloring a sound by "dirtying" the tone is desirable.... Many west African instruments that would be pure of sound are modified to make them rattle or buzz when vibrating. For example, the mbira, a hand-held resonating box with metal tines that are played with the thumbs and forefingers, usually produces a clear, pure tone. It is a common practice to loosely attach several beverage bottle caps to the instrument so that its vibration produces a buzzing sound (Joyner, 43). Timbre is also crucial to creating the funk sound. It is characterized by wah-wah guitars and a round-sounding (or "phat") bass, which often uses an idiomatic thumb-popping technique pioneered by Larry Graham of Sly and the Family Stone (Brackett 2001a, 349). The timbre of the conventional funk vocal rejects the Western European aesthetic of a pure tone in favour of a highly emotional style featuring glissandos, scoops, bends, melismas, and shouts. 1 3 James Brown's vocals, for example, emphasize a speech-like line punctuated by percussive shouts. Brown's downplaying of melody makes the presence of horn riffs in his music all the more important, as the horns provide the melody that the vocal shuns. On the other hand, horns are less necessary for a funk song with a more lyrical melodic concept, such as the melismatic gospel-influenced style of Stevie Wonder. 1 4 159 Secondly, West African music is characterized by the use of the call-and-response technique (Schuller 1968, 27 - 28). In this practice a leader usually performs one line, while a group answers in response. The call-and-response singing style was acculturated in such African-American idioms as field hollers, work songs, blues, and gospel. Heavily influenced by gospel, funk typically alternates between a vocal soloist and a group. The soloist takes on the role of the West African master dnimmer (Schuller 1968, 11), telling the group when to enter and indicating what to play (for example, a repetition of the soloist's line or the number of horn shots). In this sense funk is improvisatory. Although funk songs consist of only a few sections, the order in which the sections appear is variable in each performance. In funk, the group(s) alternating with the soloist may consist of back-up vocalists, horns, and/or the rhythm section. Because of the interplay between these sections, the instrumentation of funk is of primary importance to the genre. A lot of players are necessary to create an energetic soloist-group dynamic; therefore funk bands tend to be large. The instrumentation of funk typically consists of drums, bass, guitar, organ, vocal soloist, horns, vocal group, and sometimes synthesizers. A third West African aesthetic parameter found in African-diaspora countries is that of motoric rhythms suited to dance music. Because West African music is primarily used for dance, it has a repetitive rhythmic structure that creates a hypnotic effect. This effect facilitates entering into trance-like states (Joyner, 42). Trance music, as such style have been called, is characterized by a rhythmic pattern that is continuously repeated, often for hours in some African styles. Despite this repetition there is also variety created by the interaction of individual parts. Seven to eleven instrumentalists each play a different repeating rhythmic pattern and when the 160 separate parts sound together, they create polyrhythms (Schuller 1968, 11). If an individual player alters his or her rhythms slightly, cross rhythms are often created. The result is variety amongst repetition. In African-diaspora music, Leroi Jones calls this phenomenon the "changing same" (Jones 1967, 180). Funk music creates the effect of the "changing same" by using extended vamps on a single, complex harmony, including 7ths, 9ths, and other harmonic extensions. The harmony contains enough added tones to create an intriguing sonority, but this chord is rarely varied. New vamps come and go (as signaled by the bandleader-cum-master drummer, who is often the lead vocalist), but the chord changes infrequently, if at all. The harmonic repetition of funk is reinforced via even phrase lengths and a constant 4/4 metre, which in many cases emphasizes the first beat of every bar (Brackett 2001a, 349). The repeated emphasis on the down beat in funk creates a "groove" that is highlighted by a syncopated vamp on the electric bass. 1 5 The degree to which the bass is placed in the foreground of the mix in funk songs was hitherto unprecedented in popular music at the height of funk's popular success in the mid-seventies. Despite the consistent harmonies and the extended use of vamps in the bass, funk music is not static. Variety occurs, for example, when an old vamp ends and a new one begins. Change is also experienced on the timbral level via the "layered riffing" of different instruments, particularly the horns and vocal group (Keil and Feld, 26). That being said, however, it is important to point out that a "groove" exists not to set up variation but rather to enhance repetition (Schuller 1968, 48). The repetition in funk highlights the relationship between music and the body. In West African culture, music does not exist as an entity separate from daily life as in Western art music, 161 which is listened to while sitting contemplatively in a concert hall. On the contrary, West African music is performed for both dance and work. It serves "not only religion but all phases of daily life, encompassing birth, death, work, and play" (Schuller 1968, 5). In direct opposition to Western art music that philosophically embraces "transcendence" from the body, the highly rhythmic music of West Africa emphasizes movement and life within the here and now that is the body (McClary 1991, 57). Funk took this interactive view of music and the body as its starting point and, from this premise, evolved the concept of "groove," an invitation to move in an eternal present that is reminiscent of trance. Because it celebrates dance and the body, the funk "groove" in turn has close associations with arousal and sex. Whereas Western dance forms control body movements and sexuality itself with formal rhythms and innocuous tunes, black music expresses the body, hence sexuality, with a directly physical beat and an intense, emotional sound—the sound and beat are felt rather than interpreted via a set of conventions. Black musicians work, indeed, with a highly developed aesthetic of public sexuality (Frith 1983, 19). With the loudness of the bass in funk, the sound and beat are indeed felt directly in the body. In turn, sexuality is dealt with quite openly in funk. Indeed, the colloquial meaning of "funk" refers to "strong aromas, particularly of a bodily and sexual nature" (Brackett 2001a, 348). In addition to references to dance and sex, or perhaps because of them, the lyrics of funk are filled with African-American dialect and slang. Being influenced by West African trance, funk lyrics build up mantra-like statements rather than form linear narratives. Funk lyrics do not tell a story, but rather repeat slogans about dance, sex, the narrator, society, or Black Power politics. James Brown's "Say It Loud I'm Black and I'm Proud," for example, manages to 162 embrace several of these topics. Genre in "Flirtin1 is a Flo-thing" Siberry's song "Flirtin' is a Flo-thing," from Lips, conveys the singer's ambivalence to funk. One the one hand, Siberry adheres to the musical parameters of funk, while on the other, her lyrics break with funk conventions. In the lyrics of this song Siberry engages an appropriate topic with the requisite language, but consciously assumes a tone that not only subverts the conventions of funk lyrics but also challenges the masculine presence in funk, one that may well be a premise of the very genre itself. Even before the release of Lips, Siberry was already thinking of funk in terms of gender, specifically connecting it with masculinity. When Siberry released When I was a Boy, her first album to experiment with the funk genre (in such songs as "Temple," "All the Candles in the World," and "An Angel Stepped Down"), she commented: This record . . . is more accessible to the people who drive red Camaros. It is also more masculine. Before, my work has always had a sense of graciousness and hospitality, like the good mother. I don't think I could be called a female singer- songwriter with this record (Arlington, 18). Siberry's fans might not recognize her as the same singer-songwriter by the release of Lips, as she had absorbed wholesale the musical elements of funk. Indeed, for the first time Siberry seems reluctant to subvert the musical expectations of funk. "Flirtin' is a Flo-thing," not surprisingly then, has an over-all consonant fit with the funk style, exhibiting six parameters consonant with funk conventions and only two dissonant parameters. Siberry's choice to retain genre conventions may in part be due to her unease at moving so far away from the aesthetic parameters of her folk-revival roots. More likely, Siberry was influenced by the musicians she 163 was working with at the time. Before looking at Siberry's negotiation of funk lyrics, we will turn to her engagement with funk musical conventions. First of all, the instrumentation of "Flirtin' is a Flo-thing" is consonant with the generic conventions of funk in that it uses a large band made up of bass, drums, guitar, keyboard, and three singers. In the vocals, Siberry takes the lead, but uses two back-up singers to good effect. No horns appear in this song, which is not surprising, given that the melody is more sung than shouted (particularly in the group vocals). The horns are not as necessary to provide the melodic line as they are in many James Brown recordings. Indeed, the keyboards fulfill the role of the horns. A piano supplies the harmonic riffs, and a sustained organ rounds out the ensemble sound. Secondly, the timbre of the instruments in "Flirtin' is a Flo-thing" is consonant with funk conventions. The syncopated electric bass sound is "phat" and foregrounded in the mix. The tone of the electric guitar is so fuzzy that it is often difficult to discern the pitch, such as in mm. 42 and 47 (see the transcription in Appendix 6). The guitar solos also contain the scooping (mm. 5, 6, and 12), melismas (mm. 43, 120 - 121, and 124), and bends (m. 48) indicative of the funk genre. Siberry's vocal solos sound more extroverted than her typically intimate folk revival timbre. She exhibits a sassy tone that contains, on the one hand, the almost speech-like quality (mm. 79, 85, 95, and 96) found in the funk style of Brown (but without the percussive approach), and, on the other hand, Wonder-influenced melismas (m. 91) and glissandos (mm. 87 and 100). Thirdly, the use of the call-and-response technique in "Flirtin' is a Flo-thing" is consonant with funk conventions. 1 7 That technique is used prominently between Siberry and her back-up singers, especially in the song's two B sections as well as section B' (see Figure 6.1 above for the form of "Flirtin' is a Flo-thing"). In the fourth statement of section I (mm. 93 - 100) all the 164 vocalists create an active interplay. The group vocal (designated "v. 2" in the transcription) responds to the vocal soloist (indicated as "v. 1") in such a seamless fashion that at times it is difficult to discern one voice from another. In addition to the interaction between Siberry and the vocal group, call-and-response can be heard between the various instrumental soloists during their respective sections in the middle of the piece. For instance, repetitions of the I' section feature a dynamic interaction between the bassist and pianist. First the bassist solos in the first statement of section I' (mm. 49 - 56) with the piano accompanying. Then, in the repeat of section I' (mm. 57 - 64), the piano solos with the bass accompanying. Fourthly, the presence of the "changing same" in "Flirtin' is a Flo-thing" is consonant with funk conventions. The repetition of a D minor triad with various harmonic extensions creates a steady harmonic backdrop through most of the song. In section B' (mm. 73 - 88), a G pedal sounds, helping to establish the G mixolydian mode. The only moment in which either one of the two tonal pedals is absent is the descending chromatic bass line heard in both statements of section B, which creates shifts between D minor and D dorian. 1 8 The consistent use of regular phrase lengths (see Figure 6.1 below) further adds to the "changing same" effect. It is remarkable for Siberry that the only alteration from the standard eight-bar phrases in "Flirtin' is a Flo-thing" is the addition of a single four-bar phrase in section B". Embracing such simplicity is contrary to her usual practice. Similarly, the unvaried use of 4/4 metre throughout the piece (except in m. 92) creates a continuity that, while typical of funk, is atypical of Siberry's auteur approach to genre. 165 Figure 6.1 - Phrase Lengths in "Flirtin' is a Flo-thing" Form: I A I A B I I' I' A B' B" I A B I A No. of mm.: 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8+4 8 8 8 8 8 Another source of repetition facilitating the "changing same" in "Flirtin' is a Flo-thing" is the emphasis on the down beat of every measure, which creates a consistent "groove" throughout the piece. The groove is most apparent in the bass vamps, which are foregrounded in the mix as is expected of the funk genre. While each bass vamp emphasizes the first beat of the measure, there is still rhythmic variety among the different bass vamp patterns used throughout the song (except for sections B' and B"). For example (see Appendix 6), while the vamp in the first section A (beginning at m. 9 and indicated as "a" in Figure 6.2 below) is just a melodic variation on the pattern heard in the introduction (beginning in m. 1), by the second statement of I (beginning at m. 17), the rhythm of the bass vamp (labeled in Figure 6.2 as "b") is delayed in the third beat. Since both vamps "a" and "b" emphasize the D tonic, the chromatic descent of the bass (designated "c") in section B creates variety. The use of steady eighth notes in the bass vamp of this section also creates an entirely new rhythmic feel, one unusual for funk, while retaining the emphasis on the down beat. Finally, rhythmic variety is heard in the bass solo (shown as "S") that begins at Section I' (starting at m. 49) and continues in a more muted fashion with a variation on the "b" vamp under the piano solo. Figure 6.2 - Rhythmic Variation of Bass Vamps in "Flirtin' is a Flo-thing" Form: I A I A B I I' I' A B' B" I A B I A Vamp: a a b a c b S b ' a / / b a c b b Mm.: 1 9 17 25 33 41 49 57 65 73 81 93 101 109 117 125 166 The most striking consonance with generic conventions in this song is Siberry's approach to form. In all the other songs analyzed previously, form was the musical parameter subverted most consistently and most extensively. The approach to form in "Flirtin' is a Flo-thing, however, completely embraces funk expectations. "Flirtin' is a Flo-thing" is built upon only three themes (see the form in Figure 6.2 above), and so contains a lot of sectional repetition that, while completely counter to Siberry's usual practice, remains typical of funk. The frequent repetition of the three sections builds up the continuity or "same" feel enjoyed by the funk listener. In contrast to these consonant parameters, there are two aspects of "Flirtin' is a Flo-thing" that are dissonant with funk conventions. The first is the lack of a spectacular stage show. Although Siberry's 10-piece band for the live recording of this song was large, they did not put on the requisite highly-energetic show. Nor was the band dressed in the type of clothing that has come to be associated with funk performance contexts. As mentioned earlier, the late 1990s witnessed a revival of funk in popular culture. Intimately associated with this musical revival was a return of the costumes that had been fashionable in the 1970s. These were not the conservative suits of early James Brown but rather the flashy metallic and polyester materials, the halter tops, platform shoes, and large sun-glasses associated with such funk bands as Parliament. In Siberry's band none of the performers wore spectacular costumes but rather street clothes. This visual dissonance aside, the musical parameters of the song are surprisingly consonant with genre expectations. The sarcastic tone of the lyrics, however, creates a second dissonance with funk conventions. Before addressing the issue of tone, it should be noted that the lyrics of "Flirtin' is a Flo- thing" (See Appendix 1, Lyric 18) are consonant with funk conventions in three respects. First of all, the lyrics use slang phrases and colloquial pronunciations. Not only are the 'g's dropped from 167 the ends of such words as, "glowin' ", "burnin'", and "hummin' ", but in the title and first line of the song the "flow" of the slang expression "flo-thing" is spelled in dialect as "flo." The spelling change here is unprecedented for Siberry, and as such shows Siberry's close attention to the way in which language is conventionally used in the funk genre. Secondly, the lyrics of "Flirtin' is a Flo-thing" make statements rather than form a linear narrative, a practice that was seen earlier in Siberry's electro-pop and jazz lyrics. Instead of this being a story about a sexual relationship or experience, the narrator merely provides declarations such as "Flirtin' is a flo-thing" and "I like to flirt with men." Thirdly, sexual metaphors are used in section B ("I like to keep the fires hot/I like to keep the coals a-glowin'/I like to keep the furnace a-burnin'/I like to keep the engine a- hummin' "). The use of sexual metaphors is an old practice in the blues and popular song, especially such R&B genres as urban blues, rhythm and blues, soul, and funk. Thus the topic (and imagery) of the song has a consonant fit with the conventional lyrics of funk. Indeed, the images of heat ("fires" and "coals") and machines ("furnace" and "engine") could be lifted from any number of Brown songs (such as "Hot Pants" or "Sex Machine"). Although funk lyrics are rarely the stuff of poetry, the metaphors Siberry uses in the B section of "Flirtin' is a Flo-thing" border on cliche. The performance acknowledges as much. Their presentation in the second statement at m. 109, for example, seems to mock the text. Indeed, when the back up vocalists repeat the word "hot" three times in a furtive whisper, it is far too corny to be taken seriously, similar to the winking touches heard in "everything reminds me of my dog." The use of trite materials in this section is not indicative of Siberry's general approach. Hackneyed metaphors are therefore the listener's first clue that the tone in Siberry's lyrics may be one of pastiche. Certainly it is contrary to that found in conventional funk lyrics. This hunch is born out in the B' section, where the lyrics begin in the list-like fashion seen 168 previously in "everything reminds me of my dog." The narrator tells us seriously: "I like to flirt with men/I like to flirt with women." Instead of this revelation striking the listener as sexy, the tone is quite matter-of-fact, as if the narrator is discussing the weather. This blase tone is continued as the narrator says: "I like to flirt with old folks, young folks." Just when this list has begun to seem unusually inclusive, the narrator moves into the realm of the absurd, saying: "I even like to flirt with trees/I like to flirt with rocks, bird, bees/I like to flirt with a good plate of linguini/I like to flirt with a good suit, double-stitched, good linen." Siberry's lyrics have such an exaggerated quality, it is almost as if she is making fun of the funk genre, as she did in the country song discussed in Chapter 4. By the time the narrator concludes with "I guess that... what I'm gettin' at is/I like to flirt with everything," it is clear that she had never been serious about flirting in the first place; rather, the tone of the lyrics has been playful all along. The narrator's lack of seriousness about flirting being "a flo-thing" has a larger resonance with the complete stop in the "flow" or "groove" heard in m. 92. The rhythmically-even repetition of the G in the bass has become so incessant by section B" that the sense of down beat is completely lost. The rhythmic delay in Siberry's line ("v. 1") in m. 90 only adds to the metric disorientation. By the time she begins her melisma in m. 91 it is as if time has come to a complete stand-still. This sense of temporal disorientation is capitalized upon with the switch in metre to 2/4 for a single measure (m. 92). The stasis felt by the listener here could quite possibly be indefinite; and this experience makes the return of the "b" vamp in m. 93 all the more fulfilling. The suspension of time effectively creates a sense of tension (and finally release). Ultimately, however, the halt in the groove serves to draw attention to the sarcastic tone of the lyrics, which criticizes machismo funk texts. With the use of worn sexual metaphors and the hyperbolic length of the list of people the narrator "like[s] to flirt with," Siberry is clearly 169 criticizing conventional funk lyrics. The critique of funk manifested by Siberry's tone seems to support her earlier statement that funk "is nothing I have ever been attracted to" (Siberry 2001). While at first glance her repeated employment of the genre seems to contradict her ambivalence to funk, her treatment of "Flirtin' is a Flo-thing" is suggestive. While Siberry likes the masculine sound of funk (and therefore returns to it frequently), she is rather turned off by the tradition of machismo lyrics and the lack of a significant female presence in the genre. Despite her love-hate relationship with funk, "Flirtin' is a Flo-thing" does manage to create an overall consonant fit with funk musical expectations. This fit is particularly aided by the parameters of instrumentation, timbre, harmony, and form as well as the employment of "groove" and the call and response technique. Furthermore, it seems clear from the example of "Flirtin' is a Flo-thing" that, while Siberry does not come from an African-American musical tradition, she is quite capable of convincingly evoking funk. The fact that Siberry avoided subverting the conventional funk form shows that she is capable of sacrificing her usual rock auteur approach to songwriting to conform to generic expectations. Indeed, her capacity to create a conventional call-and-response practice and "groove" to evoke funk shows her flexibility as a composer and performer. This is not to say that Siberry is a purist. Clearly her interest in funk only extends as far as working within it to her own critical ends. The need to alter the metre and phrase length, even just a little bit for fun, found in the interruption of groove in "Flirtin' is a Flo-thing," has a resonance with Siberry's similar approach in country, as discussed in the analysis of "everything reminds me of my dog." Siberry's free subversion of the tone of funk lyrics finally represents a critique of the genre. Siberry's ambivalence to funk, however, makes her successful negotiation of its complex musical parameters seem all the more impressive and her capacity for generic experimentation all the more boundless. 171 Notes for Chapter 6 1 . While "R&B" is used as an umbrella term for African-American music, "Rhythm and Blues" refers to a specific genre of music that was prominent during the late 1940s and the 1950s (see Rye 2001). My usage here, however, is exclusively as a term for African-American idioms, particularly those that either do not cross over to or appear only briefly in the pop music charts (Romanowski and George-Warren, 831). From 1969 to 1982 the term "soul" rather than "R&B" was used by Billboard to describe popular African-American musical idioms. My use of "soul" here, however, refers to a more specific genre of gospel-influenced music that was popular in the 1960s (Romanowski and George-Warren, 926). 2 . The fact that historically R&B has been a ghettoized idiom has meant that R&B songs have been free to address social issues in their lyrics in a way that more popular black cross-over styles such as Motown and disco have not dared to. For example, the double entendre that is generally prevalent in R&B lyrics moved from the traditional realm of sexual innuendo (found in the genre of urban blues) to that of integrationist Civil Rights references in the soul genre of R&B in the 1960s. Indeed, the lyrics of much of this music (for example, "Aretha Franklin's "Respect") contained a sort of triple entendre, addressing issues of gender, sexual relationships, and social rights simultaneously. In the 1970s, the radical stance of the Black Power Movement could be found in certain lyrics in the funk genre of R&B. Today such black nationalism is mainly found in types of rap lyrics in hip hop. 3 . Funk is a genre of R&B characterized by prominent up-tempo, syncopated bass vamps, soul vocals accompanied by syncopated (horn) riffs, an emphasis on the downbeat (called "groove," as opposed to emphasizing every beat, as in disco), a single and often complex harmony, an even subdivision of the beat (as opposed to the use of triplets found in jazz and early soul) and lyrics making frequent social commentary, often of a black nationalist nature. 4 . Even after "I Wanna Be Your Lover" hit number 11 in the pop charts in 1979, such Prince singles as "Uptown" (#5, R&B, 1980) and "Let's Work" (#9 R&B, 1982) placed only in the R&B charts. Furthermore, Prince songs such as "Soft and Wet" (#92 pop, #12 R&B, 1978), "I Wanna Be Your Lover" (#11 pop, #1 R&B, 1979), and "Controversy" (#70 pop, #3 R&B, 1981) did noticeably better in the R&B charts than the pop charts. 5 . With the rise of the hip-hop idiom in the 1980s, R&B began to define itself in opposition to "sampled music." "Sampled" music is music that is not recorded live. Rather samples can be thought of as sounds (such as voices, instruments, or noise) that are "found." They are usually fragments that can easily be manipulated (for example, a bass riff). Samples are stored in a digital instrument (usually a keyboard) called a sampler. From here they can be cut-and-paste into a computer to form a song. In the hip hop idiom, for example, a fragment of music (usually a short melodic pattern or "hook" played on one instrument) is taken by the D. J. from a pre- existing recording and added to his or her new song, creating a background for the lyrics of the rapper. The sampled background music is called hip hop. (Hip hop is also a term describing the larger rap culture, however, including break dancing and graffiti.) Since sampling does not 172 necessarily require a performer to play an instrument, R&B came to define "authenticity" in traditional terms, such as the capacity of a performer to play an instrument, sing virtuosically, or write songs. In this regard, R&B has come to be seen as a conservative idiom (Romanowski and George-Warren, 831). Indeed, unlike in its soul and funk genres, R&B no longer addresses black nationalist issues. These concerns are more frequently heard in rap and hip hop culture. 6 . Borrowing funk samples can be seen as a musical homage to the genre by hip hop artists, particularly in light of the fact that rappers such as Public Enemy, Ice Cube, Lakim Shabazz and X-Clan have continued to address black nationalist concerns in their lyrics. 7 . African-diaspora is an adjective that refers to black musical idioms and genres based on a West-African musical aesthetic that became altered when transplanted abroad, as slaves were transported from West Africa to work in the colonies of various imperialist countries. Because slaves ended up in countries other than the United States (including South American, Latin America, European countries, Canada, and the Caribbean) the term African-diaspora is preferred to that of African-American. For a thorough discussion of the relationship between West African music and jazz that is framed in terms of African-diaspora aesthetics (although he does not use this term), see Chapter 1 of Gunther Schuller's Early Jazz (1968). An example of an African- diaspora characteristic found not only in funk, but also in the blues, reggae, rap, etc. is toasting. 8 . I am using the term "black nationalism" in the manner of Jeffrey Louis Decker, who views it as an ideology that recognizes the official embrace of racism in the United States, both during slavery and in the present (most powerfully represented by the police brutality forced upon Rodney King). Black nationalism draws upon the iconography of 1960s black power militancy (Decker, 99) to advocate "the creation of self-sufficient institutions that can empower the African-American community" (Decker, 106). This empowerment is inspired by the memory of glorious ancient African empires such as Egypt "in order to generate racial pride and awareness in the struggle over injustice in America" (Decker, 100). 9 . The Five Percent Nation is a splinter group from the Nation of Islam. Rather than following the teachings of Elijah Muhammad like other African-American Moslems, Five Percenters "follow the rival teachings of Clarence 13 X, who claimed in the 1960s that god was to be found not in some external or monolithic force (Allah) but within the Asiatic black man himself (Decker, 112). 10. It is telling that given the prominent role of women in the 1960s Civil Rights and political movements, women were not active as composers or performers in the funk genre. Certainly there was a precedence for a female voice from such women as Aretha Franklin in the soul genre already in the 1960s. Soul, however, is linked more with integrationist Civil Rights than with separatist black nationalism, which is connected to funk. It seems clear the Christian tradition of such Civil Rights leaders as Martin Luther King was more accepting of female leadership than the Islamic tradition of Malcolm X. Jeffrey Louis Decker argues that lack of female participation in black nationalism is reproduced in rap music even today. He points out that the marginalization of women in black separatist politics has a long history that spans from Malcolm X (1925 - 1965) to contemporary rap music, such as Public Enemy (1982 -present). While there are many female rap musicians concerned with racial oppression, few of these espouse black nationalist rhetoric. Even in 173 instances where women's participation is found in nationalist music, their presence does not change their subordinate position. Indeed, the inclusion of Sister Souljah into the rap group Public Enemy from 1990 - 1992 only reaffirmed their stance that the war against racial oppression should be fought by men (Decker, 108). Souljah explains: "Where are all the good black men? They are missing in action because we are at war! . . . The number one thing we must do is rebuild the Black Man" (Decker, 109). The exclusion of women from leadership positions is also evident in the music of funk. Many Parliament songs, such as "Bop Gun (Endangered Species)" and "Up For the Downstroke," for example, use female back-up singers; but women are rarely heard singing lead. 1 1 . Of course, these artists do not espouse nationalist rhetoric. Rather than develop a feminist critique of African-American musical genres associated with black nationalism, however, this chapter takes as its starting point the lack of female participation in funk. 12 . To hear a black woman engaging the funk genre, see Me'Shell Ndegeocello's Plantation Lullabies (1993) and Peace Beyond Passion (1996). It should be noted, however, that her music intentionally blurs the boundaries between hip hop, acid jazz, and funk. While "Stay" from the latter album sounds like a female version of Barry White, "The Way" and "Leviticus: Faggot" are closer to traditional funk. 13 . A scoop is similar to a glissando, but it approaches the note from below, rather than above. 14 . This is not to imply that Wonder never uses horns. On the contrary, such songs as "Sir Duke," "I Wish," and "Superstition" by Wonder all contain horn lines. 15 . Like swing, groove is a difficult concept to explain. It is similar to swing in that its rhythms create in a listener a bodily response to the music. Keil and Feld describe groove as a "vital drive"(Keil and Feld, 59). 16 . Siberry's song "Freedom is Gold" from Lips is a good example of a song in the funk genre. It embodies the irresistible urge to dance with its fast, syncopated bass line and exhibits the requisite sassy tone in the lyrics (see Appendix 1, Lyric 17). The narrator of this song at once combines slang lyrics with a don't-mess-with-me tone, all the while celebrating personal empowerment. While the lyrics of the song reflect the optimistic tone of funk, the "freedom" that the song addresses is obscure enough to be conceived as socio-political, sexual, or artistic liberation. While as a white person Siberry is clearly not alluding explicitly to black politics; as a woman, her concern with freedom could be a feminist allusion. Since this song was written shortly after she left Warner, however, it is likely that the song refers to artistic liberation. 17 . In this recording, the back-up singers are just as foreground in the mix as Siberry, creating the necessary balance for the call-and-response interplay. Indeed, in the riffs of the A section and the improvisation in the fourth I section (from mm. 93 to 100), since Siberry takes the lower part, she is often less audible than the two back-up singers with the higher tessitura. 18 . Because of the melodic descent and the new rhythmic feel of steady eighth notes, section B could be conceived of as the bridge of the song, while section A is clearly the chorus, and section I, the instrumental. Compared to the preeminence of "groove" in the funk genre, however, form is an unimportant parameter. In addition, because of the variety of potential forms of a song (subject to the changing conditions of each performance), form is really not a fixed parameter funk. 175 CHAPTER SEVEN CONCLUSIONS Having analyzed in depth Siberry's negotiation of five different genres, conclusions can be drawn about general trends in her approach toward genre. First of all, Siberry approaches genre as a rock auteur. Since not all musical parameters are altered in the same manner, it is clear that her approach to musical elements is not genetically based. In other words, the fact that a given musical parameter is treated differently in each context shows that Siberry looks at individual songs as unique compositions. Nevertheless, it is undeniable that, as an auteur, Siberry retains genre prototypes in part as a way of manipulating and subverting their expectations in order to add complexity to her songs. The parameters most frequently problematized are metre, instrumentation, and form. With the exception of "Maria," all of the songs discussed above incorporate mixed metre in contrast to the expectations of the genre. In the instances of the country-pop and funk genres, the one-measure change of metre hardly seems worth the effort. But this attention to detail conveys all the more Siberry's irresistible urge to add dollops of the unexpected. There are also frequent departures from expectations in regard to instrumentation, again with the exception of "Maria." While each song adheres to conventional instrumentation, there are either instruments missing or instruments added that are not traditionally found in each genre. For example, "la jalouse" highlights the voice and guitar, but it also utilizes electric bass and drums. "Goodbye" employs the usual synthesizers and rhythm section but then includes an acoustic piano. "Everything reminds me of my dog" consists of a contemporary country-pop lineup, while interpolating the old-time dulcimer. "Flirtin' is a Flo-thing" contains conventional 176 funk instruments, but lacks the horn section. Again, this variety of instrumentation shows that each song is, in fact, a genuine creation, rather than a faithful reproduction of a genre. A parameter problematized in each of the examples analyzed, with the exception of "Flirtin' is a Flo-thing," is that of form. "La jalouse" and "everything reminds me of my dog" include two pop-derived bridges each, whereas "goodbye" contains a bridge section as long as all the other sections combined. "Maria," in contrast, is sectional in nature and, as such, lacks the traditional chorus structure that facilitates jazz improvisation. While Siberry's tendency is to add complexity to the parameters of metre, instrumentation, and form, her approach to rhythm and phrase length varies. For example, in the country idiom syncopation is uncommon, but quite a bit of syncopation is evident at the beginning of each phrase of "everything reminds me of my dog." In "Maria," Siberry subverts a conventional sense of swing by setting up a pseudo-triplet feel at the beginning of every bar only to break it down at the end of the same. Furthermore, while the even phrase lengths of "Maria" are completely consonant with the expectations of cool jazz, the asymmetrical phrase lengths of "goodbye" are quite dissonant with the conventions of electro-pop. As these examples suggest, Siberry's rock auteur approach is not simply about making popular music more complex—indeed, most rock auteurs express themselves firmly within the boundaries of a genre's conventions. Rather, Siberry's voice is heard in how she consistently utilizes certain themes in her lyrics and approaches specific musical parameters across contrasting genres. Siberry's auteur stance does not simply translate into an intentional subverting of generic expectations. She has said that she does not "like the attitude of breaking rules just for the sake of breaking them" (Ouellette, 48). The above analyses show many instances in which Siberry consistently embraces generic conventions. Conformity with generic expectations can be heard 177 clearly in the parameter of tonality. In the genres where tonality is expected (electro-pop and country-pop), she uses major and minor keys. Similarly, where modality is a generic option (cool jazz, funk, and folk revival), she uses modes. The ways in which she employs tonality is also often conventional, especially in the country-pop, funk and folk revival examples. In each song discussed (with the possible exception of "la jalouse"), Siberry clearly evokes one specific genre, rather than trying to form new and innovative hybrids by mixing and matching different genres 1 (Notes for Chapter 7 begin on p. 191). Although none of the songs epitomizes a genre (which is virtually impossible and certainly not the goal of this study), each of them, with the exception of "Maria," has an overall consonance with a genre prototype. Even "la jalouse," which combines the instrumentation of folk revival and jazz, adheres closely to one genre, folk revival. Siberry evokes genre through what can be called primary signifiers, meaning the musical parameters that are easiest for the casual rock listener to hear and recognize.2 Primary signifiers include tonality, live staging practice, and instrumentation. For example, the difference between tonality and modality is something the untrained ear can hear, if not articulate. Hearing unusual modes in a pop melody (such as phrygian or lydian) will seem odd to a fan, for whom the melody does not go to where they expected it. Hearing the same song in an ionian (major) or aeolian (minor) setting, however, will seem as "natural" as hearing dorian or mixolydian modes in funk. In the country-pop genre, Siberry's use of the bright key of A major is consonant with the expectations of tonality, while modality is expected and delivered in the folk-revival song. Among the live performance context signifiers, Siberry's dyed spiked hair and shiny clothes as well has her use of properties and choreography typifies the electro-pop genre, whereas the donning of street clothes and playing in a small venue with sparse staging suits the folk-revival 178 genre. Finally, in terms of instrumentation, the trumpet, piano, bass, drums, and the vocal in "Maria" forms a standard jazz quintet, while the use of vocals, electric bass, drums, piano, and electric guitar evoke a contemporary country-pop band.3 The parameters that are not as obvious to the casual rock listener can be called secondary signifiers. In her auteur approach to different genres, Siberry generally manipulates these elements. Given that these parameters are not readily grasped by many rock listeners, the subversion of secondary signifiers constitutes only a minor disruption of expectations, leaving the fundamental aspects of genre intact.4 Secondary signifiers include such parameters as harmony, form, meter, and phrase length. Because the last three of these all require the ability to perceive metrical and rhythmic structures, they are among the most difficult parameters for the untrained rock listener to associate with a given genre. Counting is not something which the average rock listener does when listening for pleasure, so an alteration of the form, metre, or phrase length is unlikely to be detected. Even if the casual rock listener does notice an alteration in a secondary signifier, he or she will likely attribute it to a change in the melody or a disruption of the pulse. He or she will be unable to discern the actual harmonic, metrical, or rhythmical origin of the disturbance. Furthermore, before the rock listener has even had time to consider what "that" disruption was, it has already passed and been replaced once again by the pleasure of easily-recognizable repetition. By consistently manipulating secondary rather than primary signifiers, Siberry is at once able to evoke a genre and play with it in such a way as to achieve the kind of musical interest associated with the rock auteur. Part of what makes a singer-songwriter in popular music an auteur is the creation of an individual, personal sound or style, what Middleton calls their "idiolect" (Middleton 1990, 174). This sound depends on the consistent manipulation of the parameters of timbre, lyrics, and 179 melody. A popular singer-songwriter's allegiance to his or her own sound, regardless of which genre is engaged, is key to maintaining fan devotion over time. Yet in order to have a lengthy career in popular music, it is necessary to stay relevant. Like other rock auteurs such as Bob Dylan or Joni Mitchell, Siberry has done so by embracing different musical genres. But ultimately, to combat the discomfort of those generic changes, maintaining the individual auteur's unique sound has helped each of these performers to keep their artistic status and musical careers alive. While the parameters of timbre, lyrics, and melody do function as primary signifiers of genre (for example, soul tends to have large-ranging melodies, while funk does not; pop tends to have lyrics about love, while rap does not), they are more frequently associated with an artist's individual sound. Because there is such variation within these parameters, even when associated with only one genre, they are perhaps more important as indicators of a specific performer's idiomatic style than as signifiers of genre. For example, Will Smith and Ice T have dramatically different lyrical concerns despite the fact that they are both rappers. Similarly, folk revivalists Joni Mitchell and Suzanne Vega use melody in greatly contrasting ways. Timbre, in particular, is intimately linked with the sound of individual auteurs. Upon hearing just a few notes of an introduction or the vocal, the untrained rock listener instantly recognizes who the producer is or who is singing because of his or her familiarity with the auteur's timbre. Recognition of a familiar timbre that a rock listener likes, even if heard in an unfamiliar genre, is a source of pleasure. That pleasure is intensified when a rock listener recognizes it across a spectrum of genres, pleasure that may account in part for the long-term success of an artist such as Joni Mitchell. Clearly, Siberry's longevity in the music business depends enormously on the consistency 180 of her negotiation of the parameters of timbre, melody, and lyrics. In terms of timbre, Siberry generally maintains the straight-tone vocal that is associated with folk revival, even when it is contrary to genre conventions in which she works (as is evident in her approach to the electro- pop genre). This timbre is very intimate, at times even fragile, and foregrounds the humanity of her voice. Other timbres are also used—funk mannerisms in "Flirtin' is a Flo-thing" or breathiness in "la jalouse"—but only momentarily. A consistency in her approach to vocal timbre unifies the entire body of Siberry's oeuvre and creates the continuity of her auteur voice. In traversing a variety of musical genres, Siberry's melodic style is similar throughout her oeuvre. Her melodies tend to move in conjunct motion. Rarely does she leap to an interval larger than a fifth. Siberry's use of tessitura is also consistent, as is her employment of an overall wide range. She usually begins a melody in her lower register and subsequently works her way up to the highest note of the song. Even in a song like "Flirtin' is a Flo-thing," where Siberry alters her step-wise melodic approach to take on the speech-like mannerism of James Brown (in section B"), she still makes a point of using a range of almost an octave. Siberry creates unity in her lyrics by consistently choosing certain topics, mood, and narrative devices. Her songs return to a select group of topics, including an ongoing concern with relationships, isolation, time, and nature. The serious mood of such lyrics is juxtaposed with the humorous or even sarcastic tone in other songs. In regard to narrative devices, Siberry embraces different styles of writing throughout her oeuvre, such as a linear narrative, poetic images, and multiple point-of-yiew. Rarely are her songs autobiographical, even if they might seem to entertain such an illusion. The voice of the narrator that she employs is usually different from her own. Siberry distances herself from her protagonists by using multiple points-of-view or incorporating elements of fantasy or memory in the midst of psychological realism. In each 181 instance, her approach to the lyrics is always more complex than that of a conventional pop song. Siberry rarely employs easy rhymes or trite imagery (unless she is critiquing another genre, as in the funk example), but rather favours unique images (such as "lena is a white table") and settings (e.g., "At the Beginning of Time").5 Genre and Social Meaning The introduction of this dissertation discussed how genres evoke meanings and, as such, play a discursive role. As Adam Krims argues, style, and by extension genre, is "not an objective property of music, but rather a matter of social discussion, behaviour, and negotiation. In other words, it becomes discursive" (Krims, 46 - 47). Based on such a premise, I contend that Siberry's use of individual genres shapes social meanings. The remainder of this chapter will consider various types of social meanings produced by Siberry's engagement with different genres. What follows is meant to add to an ongoing musicological project that shares with cultural studies the assumption that the "purpose of mapping discourses is not to expose them as 'false,' but rather to show how they are involved in forming various aspects of shared knowledge" (Krims, 42). One aspect that recurs in most of the Siberry songs discussed here is time. Indeed, the importance of time underlies the social meanings evoked by many of Siberry's songs (see Appendix 1, Lyric 2). Reference in the lyrics to a nostalgic past and the use of memory is common in Siberry's renditions of folk revival and country. In contrast, in her approach to the electro-pop and funk genres a belief in technological progress as a hope for the future and a concern with the continual-present is evident.6 This discussion begins with the genre with which Siberry is most intimately connected, 182 folk revival. As mentioned earlier, the musical parameters of folk are traditionally kept simple because the genre rests on the belief that folk is the music of the "people." In conforming to the musical parameters of the folk-revival genre, Siberry seems to be embracing the meanings of community and democracy. Siberry's embracing of those ideals in "la jalouse," however, is qualified by her willingness to subvert the musical parameters of form, metre, and instrumentation. Inherent in her negotiation of folk-revival is a critique of genre. In folk aesthetics "the people" are not contemporary urban sophisticates, but rather rural folk—specifically those from "the olden days," a time that was supposedly simpler and therefore better than the present. Even folk revival, a genre of folk geared toward urban sophisticates, is "bound up with rural romanticism, with a search for values and ways which could be opposed to urban corruption, to commerce, to mass music" (Frith 1983, 27). Siberry's response to such an idealized view of the past is to present it as simplistic and deceptive. For example, in "The Mystery At Ogwen's Farm" from Jane Siberry (see Appendix 1, Lyric 3), an old farm couple feels a sense of loss for a simpler, earlier way of life when their cow Bessie magically flies away. Moving beyond such nostalgia, the wife is forced to conclude at the end of the song that the old ways are not conducive to positive change. As relics of the past, she says: "Ogwen-we are old . . . [and there is] So much that we don't know." Siberry seems to be saying that a view of the past as simpler and better than the present leaves no room for the exciting potential of the future, which is represented by Bessie's flight.7 The idealized past is a creation of the present, one that responds to the needs and anxieties of that time (Jameson 1981, 11). The notion of a constructed and idealized past is addressed in the lyrics of "la jalouse," which explore that issue in the context of a romantic relationship. In this song the narrator is constantly putting together (her memory of) the past, 183 viewed from the present: is her lover a true friend or her enemy? The truth probably lies somewhere in the middle, but reconstructing the past to be better than it is (let's talk about old...) does not resolve the problems of the present. In fact, as the song concludes, it only functions as a means of avoiding responsibility for problems in the present. By the end of the song the narrator seems to be more able to recognize her faults. She notably does not finish the suggestion "let's talk about old...", perhaps realizing her inclination to misrepresent the past as better than it was and admitting instead that in the past she was "crazy" to be unfaithful.8 Confessing that she can no longer "remember why" she was initially jealous of her lover, the narrator admits that her retaliatory infidelity meant nothing to her: "i don't even like the guy." With these confessional offerings by the narrator, Siberry seems to be advocating an honest and introspective construction of the past. In complicating the parameters of timbre and instrumentation and problematizing the form and metre of "la jalouse," she ultimately rejects the code of an idealized past evoked by the folk-revival genre. Country also embraces simple musical parameters in an attempt to reflect an idealized rural past. Country "authenticity" is very much concerned with bringing a fictitiously reconstructed past into the present. Throughout its history, beginning with the image of the old- timer and through the incorporation of hillbilly and western cowboy markers, the country music industry has always utilized rural signifiers (associated with the past) in the present as if to make the argument that rural values have a place in today's urban society (Peterson 1997, 6 - 7).9 Siberry's play with country signifiers in "everything reminds me of my dog" highlights this long-standing country music practice. It points out that these elements can be "put on" and "taken off without necessarily buying into the small-town values that they evoke. In the song, the narrator transgresses the country code of hiding the contrived construction of rural signifiers. 184 1 0 She does this by showing the act of putting on signifiers that are not a part of the culture from which she comes, most blatantly with the phoney rural accent heard only in section B. Siberry emphasizes the constructed nature of country signifiers by repeating the "mistake" of using the fake rural accent in several places (the repetitions of section B). To illustrate the humour created by the bringing of an idealized past into the present, the narrator gets caught in the act of reconstructing a false past. A brief memory episode offered by the narrator not only recalls a humorous incident from childhood but also exaggerates the scene. Even while the child-narrator pretends that her dog is fierce, she is forced to face the fact that the opposite is true. The neighbours point out that her doggie is "goot" rather than "ferocious." It is telling that this flashback is indicated musically by the presence of a dulcimer, an instrument that was used in old-time country music. Siberry's negotiation of country-pop suggests a far more critical view of the genre than that of folk-revival. She seems to be saying that it is misguided for folk revival to construct a view of the rural past that is idealized. It is part of the very tradition of country, however, for musicians to pretend to idealize a rural past when knowing full well that it never was idyllic. Siberry parodies this country tradition through a mocking tone that is not present in her negotiation of folk revival.11 At the same time, however, it is clear that Siberry enjoys mocking country signifiers as much as lang did. Her foregrounding of its "dress up" nature seems to suggest that the putting on of values that are not your own is alright, as long as you are not actually trying to fool anyone into believing that they were yours in the first place. The put-on must be quite obvious, however, for the audience to get the joke. For Siberry, then, the negotiation of country is nothing more than the putting on of generic signifiers, a kind of masquerade. 185 In contrast to the retrospective nature of country and folk, Siberry has turned to urban genres that are focused on the present rather than the past. Nowhere is the concern with the here- and-now more evident than in the genre of funk, which celebrates the pleasure of a never-ending present in dance and sex through a consistent groove. In following the generic parameters of funk so closely, more so than any other genre, Siberry seems to be embracing the funk code of fun and sex right along with legends like James Brown. That embrace, however, is broken in live performance by Siberry's non-compliant fashion sense (she does not sport the excessive 1970s funk-wear of other Parliament- like revivalists) and the relatively low-energy performance of the band. More importantly, the deviation from the groove (via a minor disruption of phrase length and metre) points to a larger subversion of funk codes in the lyrics. Siberry makes a concerted effort to mock the machismo posturing that is typical of funk lyrics, such as those by Brown. In her hands, that attitude appears as the hollow and exaggerated remnants of the dated gender attitudes of the 1970s. Thus, while the music of funk remains a signifier of the eternal present, the lyrics are clearly remnants of the past. To subvert part of a generic code while embracing its primary signifiers is a risky move. The chance of the rock listener missing the irony is quite high when a departure from convention is suggested only by the tone of the lyrics. Certainly in the reception of Madonna videos that take on pornographic imagery, many reviewers have missed her use of irony (Whiteley 2001, 142 -143). Siberry's exaggerated lyrics, however, draw clear attention to her critique of conventional funk lyrics. Whether or not Siberry agrees with a funk code that prioritizes pleasure in an eternal present, she clearly expresses the view that the machismo images in funk lyrics are worthy of ridicule. As in her approach to country, Siberry's lyrics in "Flirtin' is a Flo-thing" are hyperbolic, but the mockery of funk that they imply is harsher than Siberry's critique of country. 186 With such a negative view of conventional funk lyrics, it is surprising that Siberry repeatedly returns to the genre. Siberry's ambivalence to funk can be explained by her attraction to the musical elements of funk (such as the groove, rhythm, or harmonies) and her repulsion from its chauvinist lyrics. While funk is a genre concerned with an eternal present, electro pop looks expectantly towards the future. Of all the possible pop/rock genres to choose from after engaging folk revival, Siberry's selection of electro-pop was quite a leap. In contrast to the folk emphasis on community, electro-pop foregrounds technology and dehumanizes the participation of those making the music. For example, the singer's voice is often altered (via effects such as echo or equalization or filtered through a harmonizer or vocoder) to seem less human and more mechanical. Moreover, the music highlights the latest technologies of the digital synthesizer and sampler. Electro-pop practices are based on an unwavering faith in technology as a means toward progress.12 In the sense that this generic code espouses progress and its underlying assumption of an ever-improving future, this genre is as far away from the embrace of an idyllic past found in folk revival as one could get. The fact that Siberry used electro-pop through most of the 1980s seems to show that she had an investment in the ideology of progress. At the very least, Siberry found the new technologies useful. It is clear, however, that Siberry did not view technology as an end unto itself. Unlike the lyrics in songs by Laurie Anderson that emphasize science or those by Styx that emphasize machines, Siberry's lyrics focus on relationships. Furthermore, while the aforementioned songs reinforce the electro-pop concern with technology by altering the vocals, Siberry insists upon the human quality of her vocal in "goodbye" and other electro pop songs. Yet, the presence of a vocal unaltered by effects indicates that Siberry is at least in part at 187 odds with the electro-pop code of technology as progress, pointing to the idea of the dehumanizing effects of technological progress. In fact, the fragile expression of human pain in the vocal of "goodbye" is made all the more striking because of its electronic setting. The juxtaposition of human feeling in a ballad backed by the mechanical coldness associated with modern synthesizers indicates that Siberry was not entirely convinced by the electro-pop belief that technology could better people's lives. Foregrounding the human voice over the synthetic background shows that in the competition between humans and technology, Siberry has sided against technology. In fact, she seems to be demonstrating that a blind faith in progress is naive. Siberry's comment about this naivete is played out in "goodbye" by adding complexity to certain parameters of the electro-pop genre, which is usually simple when not engaged by rock auteurs. Siberry's complications of metre, form, and tonality challenge the simplistic notion of the inevitability of technological progress that was indicated in "Mr. Roboto" by Styx, an uncomplicated song that completely embraces electro-pop conventions. By problematizing the musical parameters of electro-pop Siberry seems to suggest that we should not fully trust technology to better our lives. Indeed, her concern in the vocal with human emotion and in the lyrics with relationships suggests that instead of relying on machines, we should rather turn our attention to the complexity of human relationships and invest time and energy in them. The subjectivity inherent in relationships might hurt us more than the objectivity of emotion-free technology (as can be seen in the narrator's pain arising from the end of a relationship), but it can also ultimately make us more complete and less isolated. A Siberry song that explores thoughts about a relationship ("Maria is on my mind") is "Maria." The identity of the title character, however, is shrouded in mystery. Although this song does not exemplify all facets of the cool jazz genre, it does capture one aspect: elusiveness. 188 Specifically, the elusiveness of who Maria is in relationship to the narrator alludes to the cool- jazz code of urbane sophistication. The cool-jazz genre developed as a reaction to bebop. Rather than pursue the heated virtuosity of Charlie Parker, Miles Davis decided to embrace a more reserved, urbane elegance. As a result, cool jazz became a genre that took performances of jazz out of "seedy" bebop nightclubs and into the concert halls of university campuses (Porter and Ullman, 235). Adding to the suave sophistication of cool jazz was the detached hip-ness of its performers. In contrast to the fiery angles of bebop, cool jazz players emphasized melody and subtle rhythms. This emphasis on subtlety was in turn adopted by college students in the 1950s. For them, to be cool was to be elusive, to be above the crowd, slightly out of reach. Cool jazz became "a sort of cachet to sophistication: The Esquire man dressed well and acted cool" (Porter and Ullman, 236). Indeed, the image of Miles Davis turning his back to his audience during a solo represents perhaps the most iconic moment of "cool." He projected a sense of something artistic and profound that always remained slightly out of reach. This elusiveness of cool jazz is evoked in the lyrics of "Maria," especially in the title character's mystique. Throughout the song there is a lack of resolution about Maria's identity. Several identities are hinted at, but no single one is confirmed. Is Maria a child or a lover ("every time you run, every time you play"), an adult friend or mentor ("every time you sing/every time you pray"), an historical figure ("long ago and far away") or a religious icon ("long ago and here today")? The listener is never told, but certainly becomes intrigued. The mystique of Maria in particular and cool jazz in general has a larger resonance with Siberry's ambiguous attitude toward the cool jazz genre itself. On the one hand, in conforming with certain musical conventions of cool jazz in "Maria" (in the parameters of melody, phrase 189 length and particularly metre and instrumentation), Siberry seems to be espousing the "cool jazz as urbane sophistication" code. The inexplicable lyrics of this song certainly reflect the mystique characterizing cool jazz. On the other hand, Siberry also subverts some essential components of jazz. She complicates the tonality and form and correspondingly undermines the practices of improvisation and swing. Perhaps Siberry here is attempting to emulate Miles Davis as the ultimate jazz auteur, constantly searching for innovations in the idiom and pushing its boundaries to extremes. Indeed, Siberry's peculiar retention of the folk-revival timbre suggests an attempt at a sort of generic fusion. Similarly, Siberry's unconventional use of imagery rather than narrative in the lyrics (reminiscent of her approach to electro-pop) seems to embrace an expansion of generic boundaries. From the discussion of the five songs analyzed here, it is evident that as Siberry travels from one genre to another, she does not completely endorse the codes of any particular one. Her curiosity regarding contrasting genres, leads her to "try on" various options, so to speak. The fact that she frequently returns to each of the genres discussed here further suggests that Siberry feels that each one has something to offer. Yet she almost invariably qualifies the meanings that the codes evoke (especially those of funk and country) by problematizing generic expectations. What does tie together her approach to genre is her rock auteur stance, a view that consistently calls for creativity and invention, rather than blindly embracing expectations. In light of this practice, it should come as no surprise that Siberry's insistence on a rock auteur stance ultimately caused her to leave Warner in pursuit of her own artistic vision. That being said, it is also clear that Siberry is not a rule-breaker by nature. She does not subvert genre expectations just because she can, but because she can use her manipulation of musical 190 parameters as social critique. Her treatment of funk, for example, was for the most part consonant with genre expectations, yet remained a striking example of pastiche. The auteur role allows her to put into action her vision of popular music. Siberry views her role as an artist as being faithful to her own vision or, as she puts it, to what she "hears in her head." The process of writing down what she hears, however, is more than just negotiating genres that are in the air or even writing sounds that subjectively sound correct to her. Rather, the pursuit of her own artistic vision involves being true to something larger than herself. When asked about the source of what she "hears in her head" Siberry commented, I don't know. Inspiration. Definitely I see it as a sacred thing. And I do my best not to fool around with it. And that understanding has given me the freedom to say, "I like what I do." And I am not complimenting myself, anymore. This gives the enjoyment back into your own hands. It's not just you anymore, but something larger. Then you can enjoy your own work without being arrogant (Siberry 2001). This sort of humble attitude toward her own songwriting is evident in the humanity found in Siberry's ballads. It is this human quality that her fans so dearly value. Siberry's personable approach gives her entire oeuvre an "authenticity" that enables her to maintain longevity in the ever-changing world of popular music. 191 Notes for Chapter 7 1 . Similarly, in each song discussed there was a complete consonance with genre expectation in at least one parameter, and in some instances with two or even three. The electro-pop genre was unmistakably evoked with the parameter of performance practice, while Siberry's use of key was consonant with the parameter of tonality in country. Metre and instrumentation were employed to recall jazz, whereas timbre and performance practice were reminiscent of the folk-revival genre. Finally, in funk Siberry's use of form, timbre, and modality were all consonant with genre expectations. 2 . My use of the terms "primary signifiers" and "secondary signifiers" should not be confused with Middleton's use of the terms "primary signification" and "secondary signification." By "primary signification" Middleton is referring to writings on or "words about music" (Middleton 1990, 220). In contrast, "secondary signification" is the meaning of music or "its content" (Middleton 1990, 233). In Middleton's paradigm, both primary signifiers and secondary signifiers could create "secondary signification." 3 . Tonality is inseparable from Western culture as a whole, so it is often taken for granted by listeners (until it is absent). Western music until recently—and still now in popular music—has been defined from that of other cultures by its adherence to a system of specific keys and modes and their associated harmonies. Performance practice and instrumentation, however, are experienced visually (through publicity shots, video, and live performance) in addition to aurally, so they are the most obvious signifiers of genre to the casual listener. 4 . Secondary signifiers are therefore rather insignificant to casual listeners. On the other hand, the subversion of secondary signifiers does create novelty and therefore interest for acute listeners. 5 . It should be noted that there are exceptions to the generalization that Siberry tends to problematize secondary signifiers, while maintaining continuity in both the primary signifiers and the parameters associated with her idiomatic sound. Each of the parameters analyzed in the above songs (tonality, performance style, instrumentation, form, metre, phrase length, lyrics, melody, and timbre) has both a consonance and dissonance with the different genres. For example, while metre and phrase length are problematized in four of the genres analyzed, they are consonant with jazz expectations in "Maria." Similarly, although Siberry complicates the parameter of form in four of the genres, in "Flirtin' is a Flo-thing" the few sections are repeated frequently, as the funk genre dictates. Furthermore, both the primary signifier of tonality/modality and the employment of the lyrics as part of Siberry's sound are consonant in four of the genres analyzed. The complex and obscure ways in which the tonal centre and the lyrics are used in "Maria," however, are dissonant with generic conventions and ultimately result in the refusal in "Maria" to evoke unilaterally the cool-jazz genre. Clearly, Siberry's embracing of primary signifiers and subversion of secondary signifiers is not an indelible rule, but rather a general approach to her employment of genre. 192 6 . Siberry's concern with time has a larger resonance with her unique approach to metre (the "time" of a song) heard in "la jalouse," "goodbye," "everything reminds me of my dog," and "Flirtin' is a Flo-thing." 7 . Although "The Mystery At Ogwen's Farm" does not specifically allude to the fact that Bessie escaped by flight, we know this is the case from "bessie" an earlier song by Siberry, eventually released on Teenager. 8 . Fellow Torontonian Mary Margaret O'Hara is another singer-songwriter of that time who worked the psychologically-unstable narrator idea well. See, for example, her Miss America (1988). 9 . Even while proponents such as Karon Blackwell are donning the signifiers of country, they are aware that what they are constructing is as false today as it was when the marketing of country began with such "dressed up" stars as Louis "Grandpa" Jones (Peterson 1997, 66). 10 . My point here is not that country music is inherently inauthentic to either its performers or its audience. Rather, that there are instances of country performers, such as Louis "Grandpa" Jones (c. 1940s), Minnie Pearl (c. 1950s), and Karon Blackwell (c. 1990s), who are not "authentically" rural in origin or orientation. In such instances, there is a tacit agreement in country music to hide one's urban roots or signifiers. 1 1 . The resulting ambiguous relationship between country musicians and country music signifiers inherent in such instances is highlighted by the imprecision of the lyrics in another Siberry song, "something about trains" from Bound By The Beauty (see Appendix 1, Lyric 19). Although this song is as much about nature as it is about the conventional country topics of lost love, loneliness, and home, the imagery evoked throughout this song (trains, ironing clothes, the line, dogs) is typical of country music lyrics. The way in which these images are employed, however, is intentionally noncommittal. The song is not about trains and love, but rather is "something about trains . . . something about love/when things go wrong." Compared to "something about trains," "everything reminds me of my dog" goes further in its critique of the country-pop genre by explicitly ridiculing the embracing of values that have nothing to do with one's actual world view. Here, Siberry's larger approach to such instances of country is one of mockery. 12 . Not surprisingly, as the implicit faith in progress ended, so to did the prominence of electronic/mechanized sounds in pop music, as well as the genre of electro pop itself. The loss of faith in progress had further ramifications for the way in which rock was marketed. For example, at the fund-raising concert Live Aid in 1985, the performances of Queen, Tina Turner and David Bowie shattered the comfortable teleological economic planning of rock as a source of wealth that had to continually reproduce itself anew to ensure profitability. Henceforward, its products could be recycled in true postmodern style, targeted with ever greater precision to ever more specialized markets. By 'products' we refer of course not just to past recordings, but to past artists recording again (Stump, 283). 193 WORKS CITED Adorno, Theodor. W. "On Popular Music." Cultural Theory and Popular Culture: A Reader. 2nd ed. Ed. 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Teenager, Koch Records/Sheeba Records Koc-CD 7939/ SHECD001. —, 1997. A Day in the Life, Sheeba Records SHECD002. —, 1997. Child, Sheeba Records SHECD003. —, 1999. Tree, Sheeba Records SHE006. —, 1999. Lips, Sheeba Records SHE007. —, 2000. Hush, Sheeba Records SHE008. —, 2001. City, Sheeba Records SHE010. —, 2002. Love is Everything: The Jane Siberry Anthology. Rhino Records/Warner CD. Assorted Artists, 1989. "This Old Earth" ["Something About Trains"]. The Top of the World Soundtrack (a Peter Mettler film). —, 1991. "A Long Time Love Song" (with Martin Tielli of the Reostatics). Kick At The Darkness (Bruce Cockburn tribute album). Intrepid Records. —, 1991. "Calling All Angels." Until the End of the World Soundtrack (a Wim Wenders film). Warner Brothers CD 26707. —,1993. "Slow Tango." Far Away So Close Soundtrack (a Wim Wenders film). SBK 207 Records. —, 1993. "Harmonix/I Went Down To The River." Way Down Below Buffalo Hell. Real World Records. —,1994. "My Mother Is Not The White Dove." Arcane Real World Records. —, 1994. "It Can't Rain All the Time." ne Crow Soundtrack (an Alex Proyas film). —,1994. Count Your Blessings. CBC. —,1997. "When Spring Comes." ne Hanging Garden Soundtrack. Virgin DPRO 1621. —, 1997. "One More Colour." ne Sweet Hereafter Soundtrack (an Atom Egoyan film). —,1997. "When I Think of Laura Nyro." Time And Love: The Music of Laura Nyro. Astor Place Recordings/EMI Blackwood Music, Inc. —,1997. Sweet Relief II: Gravity of the Situation, The Songs of Vic Chestnutt. Sony. —, 19,98. "All The Pretty Little Ponies." Barney's Great Adventure - The Movie Soundtrack. Lyons Partnership Records. —, 2000. "Calling All Angels." Pay It Forward Soundtrack. Freed, Don, 1990. On the Plains. Ramsden, David, 1990. Quiet Please! There's A Lady on Stage. Bob Wiseman, 1991. Presented by Lake Michigan Soda. Indigo Girls, 1994. "Mystery" and "Language or the Kiss" Swamp Ophelia. Epic Records. Frank London, 1996. "ShirAmami." Festival of Light. Six Degrees Records. Zazou, Hector, 1996. "She's Like the Swallow." Songs from the Cold Seas. Sony. Kennedy Nigel, 1996. "Innig." Kafka. EMI Records Larkin, Patty, 1997. "Coming Up For Air." Perishable Fruit. Windham Hill/High Street. Jackson, Joe, 1997. "The Bridge." Heaven And Hell. Sony, lang, k. d., 1997. "Hain't It Funny." Drag. Angers, Darol, 1997. "Oh Shenandoah." Heritage. Six Degrees Records. 208 Sotoma, Takafumi, 1999. "Spade And Sparrows." Backyard. Gemmatika Records. Fisher, Morgan, 2000. "Narrow Bridge/Millennium." Miniatures 2. Cherry Red Records. Grey, Michael, 2001. "Nut Brown Maid." Shambolica. Dunaber Music. Ghostland, 2001. "The Kiss." Interview With An Angel. Instant Karma. APPENDIX 1 LYRICS OF SELECTED SONGS BY JANE SIBERRY Lyric 1 "seven steps to the wall" from The Speckless Sky seven steps to the wall and turn around seven steps to the window—turn around three steps to the table—step around move the chair 'til it is square and then sit down DON'T TURN AROUND there is a man in a room empty place there's a wall a table and a chair ...his face he wants to write something down he wants to sing a song or paint something lie down and fade away or get up and get away to the beat of the marching feet in the heat of the prison heat there there's the sun through the bars cutting swathes lighting dust i love dust that it's there that it falls he wants to write something down... there there's this choir sometimes hear in my head perfect note that divides all the rest what i face he wants to write something down... seven steps to the wall... there all my life where there's white i have words so i write what i hear ...perfect white ...with no words it is thin but it's clear Lyric 2 Map of the World (Part 1) from No Borders Here wait wait waiting for the lights to change that I may move on move on wait wait waiting for the lights to change that I may move on move on 211 still still the pines that line the road sigh say you have say you have time say you have much more time time time also marbles in the clearing that click and break like toy lightning on the pallet of the (gods) and the pines that surround and make a mumming sound as I fill my sac with glass and my steps divide the clearing in half leaving a single strip in time weight weight it floats nearby silent-staring cold blue cold eyes weight weight it floats nearby sad quotations see-through fingers I only... I wanted... time further down the line further down the line Lyric 3 "The Mystery at Ogwen's Farm" from Jane Siberry Ogwen- Bessie's gone Bessie's gone away I looked in the high meadow for her I think she's gone I looked down by the river And I looked behind the barn Ogwen- Bessie's gone Bessie's gone away I saw this girl down by the fence In the morning mist She was telling things to Bessie It looked strange-1 wonder if... Ogwen- Bessie's gone Bessie's gone away Well, maybe it's a blessing What with winter coming on Because the man who owns this farm Was going to sell her to the yards Oh, I hope she really got away Ogwen- we are old I guess nothing is ever ours So much that we don't know Ogwen- Bessie's gone Bessie's gone away Lyric 4 "The Waitress" from No Borders Here i have to clear your table i wipe it it's right to keep it clean so i clean yes—i clean do you clean? yes—i clean i have to empty ashtrays i empty them it's right to keep them clean so i clean yes—i clean i'm the queen of the clean and i'd probably be famous now if i wasn't such a good waitress i am a drag at parties cuz it upsets me to see so many empties and i have to pick them up or i have to go home but sometimes i have nightmares and the ashtrays are filling up and i can't find my section the bottles are flying through the air like crazy autumn leaves and i can't find my section i lost my section i lost my section i can't find it somebody help me please i am in quicksand i am in mud to my knees help me aaagghh! i have to clear your table excuse me it's right to keep it clean so i clean yes—i clean do you clean? yes—i clean i have to know the regulars well i don't have to but i like to know their names and i know them even better when they're nice to me and i'd probably be famous now if i wasn't such a good waitress. 215 Lyric 5 "Above the Treeline" from Jane Siberry I went out with Wolf tonight, I had so many worries on my mind I was feeling lost, feeling confused, feeling afraid—I wanted to hide But when I got home after work Wolf would not let me stay inside So i put on my heavy coat and kerchief and closed the door behind us I followed Wolf across the road, he took a trail that leads up through the forest I saw Wolfs shadow moving through the trees ahead of me—don't go too fast Wolf And finally we got to the other side—it was so still, it was so bright and clear For there stretched before us like a ballroom glove in the moonlight lay the snowfields. It was a starry night And the snow had stopped falling And I feel that I heard someone singing Fly us to the moon High above our upturned faces Booming in the bright Send some good things down on this earth tonight Wolf ran out into the glittering fields—I stood and watched him from the treeline The starry heavens danced down on the snow then up again like gateways gathering Then somehow I was out there with Wolf~I stared at him—he looked so different Oh Wolf I can't stop laughing but I feel somehow that everything is alright I don't know how many miles we traced across the snow-maybe a thousand I followed Wolf in peace and I don't even know if we were breathing And part of me never went home after that night—I think it stayed there But it is in good care beneath the stars above the fields of snow that stretch there Lyric 6 "the bird in the gravel" from The Walking the master: i was dreaming in the steam room everything looked so clear for a minute and i thought... and the dripping tiles and... and i said i'll confess everything yes, i own this land i own these forests surrounding my...my estate this is my tea coming everything i can—i confess the servant: *bend now i have the bend the best i ever place the tea just so *then release and turn oh no not yet then release and turn turn away then go *better try again looking at me he's wait til tomorrow don't want him to know *next time he orders tea release and turn turn and limp away turn and limp away the maid: *i was walking through the forest on my break today i had this funny feeling something was going to change *i was walking through the dry leaves it was very strange they hadn't changed their colour all the leaves were green *i don't mind when it's over i don't mind when it's all done it's just the moments in between just before it's gone ""something's going to happen something's going to change i know i know i know... the pantry: *and when autumn comes well, there's lots of work to do bill—that means you time to clean the kettles and the pots on the wall pickling and preserving all the vegetables stop kicking the apples are we pickling this year? yes—you know we are *and when autumn comes well, there's lots of work to do bill—that means you time to get the twigs up—you know, all those stick things time to trim back the roses so next year even more grow does it hurt them to do that? does it hurt them? no. (truck driver - francesco) *and when autumn comes well, deliveries start to go here he is now down into the valley to the market he goes down along the tiny road that wind along the vineyards and people lean on their rakes and say hello hello there francesco francesco there hello the bird: (high sustain) a boy coming home from lessons another boy: and those are my swans, believe me... there's no light. and there isn't because... it's so dark because it's so dark because it's so dark. the maid: *i was walking through the dry leaves it was very strange the leaves fell without changing no yellows and no reds * something's going to happen something's going to change and just then as i looked up i remembered what you said *i'm crying because i love you i know that things must change i can't be there when you leave what if you're afraid *you said something about the leaving the moments in between the yawning when the world shifts the clanging of trains *and a dog sits up and growls and a cow begins to bawl and a nun nearby stops to listen cross herself and then move on *i was laughing in the forest i fell down in the leaves and i watched the trees above me crossing in the breeze *i love the bare branches i love the healing bells the bareness in the last sun the greyness and the gold *and a flock of geese flew over and i laughed harder still i laughed til i was heaving then everything was still the servant: *bend now i have the bend place the tea just so *then release and turn oh no not yet turn away and go *better try again he's looking at me wait til tomorrow don't want him to know *next time... time he orders tea release and turn turn and limp away... limp away just go turn away just go just go... just go... just go... Lyric 7 "Grace Hospital" from Lips I'm walkin' down the corridor of the seventh floor of the Grace Hospital. I'm gonna make it to the end. I'm gonna smoke a cigarette. The cigarette is my only friend. I can hear my slippers a-slappin'. I can feel my gown a-flappin'. I've got my whole being set into making it to the end of the seventh floor corridor of the Grace Hospital. These are my people. Hello Joe, how ya doin'? Don't I take good care of you, Joe? Mrs. Bergman, how you doin'? What? No, I don't have your mail! I'm not the friggin' mailman. I'm going to make it to the end. And when I make it to the end I will smoke my cigarette. They make it very hard to smoke here but I've got it all figured out: they make it hard and that builds up your strength and then they want you to check out. There's a man in traffic below. He's all revved up with nowhere to go. He's cursin' and a-swearin' and watchin' the rain drops roll, roll down his windshield. He's stuck in rush hour traffic and he's sayin', "Oh I shoulda bought that farm in the country. I woulda been home by now. I woulda been milkin' cows and sloppin' pigs and sayin' benign things to my benign wife instead of sittin' here lookin' up the tail-pipe of someone I do not even know and probably wouldn't like. And lookin' up at the face at the end of the seventh floor of the Grace Hospital." I'm walking down the corridor of the seventh floor of the Grace Hospital. Everything's green here, like a green nightmare. They come every Thursday morning. They spend an hour in the boardroom making decisions like this, they say: "Oh yes. Green like the grass! Like the trees! That'll make everyone brighten up and feel so happy, make 'em feel so pleased!" Well, I'm so pleased that when I get out of here I'm gonna write fuckin' greeting cards tellin' everyone how sweet it is here. Green. It just reminds everybody of their own shit and their own puke and oh, the blonde she pats her hair and she tastes aluminum chlorohyderate on her fingertips and oh... "Daniell" Yes? "Would you come into the office please!" I'm walkin' down the corridor of the Grace Hospital. I'm gonna look out at the rain, at the sweet, sweet rain... There's a man in rush hour traffic below...Instead I'm sitting here in rush hour traffic lookin' up the tail pipe of someone I do not know and probably would not even like and watchin' this face at the end of the seventh floor corridor of the Grace Hospital lookin' out at the goddamn rain. I'm walkin' down the corridor. I'm startin' to get withdrawal but I'm gonna make it to the end. I can feel my gown a-flappin' and I can hear my slippers a-slappin'. Hello Mrs. Bergman. No I don't have the goddamn mail! And if you don't keep your dog tied up, I'm gonna have the dog catcher come. I don't care if you're ninety years old and he's sixteen and you've been together all this time. He's gonna take him away. Don't ask me for the mail. "Daniel, will you come into the office!" I'm walking down the corridor of the Grace Hospital. Me and my bride. There's gonna be a wedding today. I'm feeling so happy inside. Oh me and my rolling bride. Here we go hand in hand, needle in arm, she is my only friend. When I get to the end I will look out at the traffic below and I will smile sort of sweetly and tilt my head and everyone will look up and think that I'm lookin' out at the rain as if it's the sweetest thing I've ever seen. The Grace Hospital is a terminal hospital and everybody knows that and...and maybe that's why the food's so bad and...and can I see your fucking boarding passes please...oh! Last night someone came into my room and they took my bag of sugar water and they must have changed it for some strange potion 'cuz now I feel like I'm floatin' on some strange ocean... There's a man in traffic..() Instead I'm sittin' here in traffic lookin' up at this white balloon at the end of a liquid string at the end of the seventh floor of the Grace Hospital. Lookin' out at the goddamn rain like it's the sweetest thing that he's ever seen." O I'm gonna save myself... I'm running down the corridor of the seventh floor of the Grace Hospital. Me and my family, come on everybody! We're heading down the runway. We're gonna kick this thing. Come on Mrs. Bergman. There'll be so much mail! I'm taking off of the runway. I'm moving out into the rain. Out into the rain. Out into the sweet goddamn sweet goddamn rain. Lyric 8 "mein bitte" from The Speckless Sky i want a good deal better if it's free but i charge a lot want more money don't want to work just want more pay cut corners here make more that way (meanwhile...) i work in a large room (i work in a room that's large and bare) I'm at this workbench everyday (i never miss a day) i keep my tools very organized (i have a special place for all my tools) this tinny radio is all i play (i love music) I'm working on this new invention (and I'm really, really excited about it) i think it needs something extra here (in the evenings i read tool catalogues) I'm studying the grain of my workbench (i can fix anything you like) I'm humming a tune while i wait for the answer to appear when i get stuck i go fishing put in the clutch so to speak and glide i coast amongst the rabble and the right words in my work i take great pride (meanwhile ...) i need more things i need more money don't want to work want things for free cut corners here make more that way i have not pride the world is unfair wah... my shop is a long meadow in a winding landscape in a series of elevations with a few cows and a babbling brook i love to do what i love to do this excludes anything i don't like to do the pleasure is in the peace of mind the pleasure is mine . . . mein bitte . . . Lyric 9 "at the beginning of time" from When I Was A Boy at the beginning of time before there were waves we'd sit in our boats we'd float there all day and there weren't any waves cuz there wasn't any wind cuz there wasn't any sun we were waiting for the world to begin we were waiting in the darkness each in our own boat each in our own thoughts sometimes you could hear people talking amongst themselves but... (someone had a boat with wheels and i said you're a bit early but i know how you feel) but mostly it was just silence and the silence only broken by the absence of the clinking of the masts and every now and then a bird would not fly by and someone would look up and say - what wasn't that? we were waiting in the darkness and one night (or was it day?) i was awoken from a dream i was dreaming of someplace like I'd never been and i heard someone say someone's fallen in and they can't swim so i leaned out and i pulled them in and he was holding his head and it was HUGE and shaped like a fish and he slid down to the crook of the keel and when i was sure he'd fallen asleep i fell back to my reverie we were waiting waiting waiting in the darkness and you know what i miss most about that time? was the quality of blackness it was soft somehow in the absence of fear you could take it into your mouth and send it out through your teeth (my dear) but the silence... oh, if i could go back to those times i'd take that silence there i'd take it into myself and bring it back to you and this is what i'd say waiting in the darkness at the beginning of time before there were waves we'd sit in our boats we'd float there all day (or was it night?) and there weren't any waves cuz there wasn't any wind cuz there wasn't any sun we were waiting for the world to begin we were waiting for the world to begin now?... no. Lyric 10 "Caravan" from Child O - it was a snowy night The caravan traveling across the desert land The stars were hanging heavy in the absence of light And you were there and I And something in our hearts told us to keep on moving Because there was something about that star That Star... How far is the nearest place to kneel? How far is the nearest throne? How far can you go with only a dream? With only a hope? You take the vision and you hold it steady Right ahead of you across the ranges across the plains The desert land the gaze of strangers That is how ...HoldIt Steady There was always someone who would Take the children and keep them entertained There was always someone who would Lay down their work to play the children's games There was always someone who would know how things worked - they'd say ...There. Where? Over there. And now as we sit on the steps at the side of the square There are three wise men sitting in their chairs If anyone wants to know which way any of us should go They will hold they will contain they will cup the refrain Hold It Steady - take the vision - Hold It Steady right ahead of you right between the eyes. THAT is how. O - it was a snowy night and our caravan moved along through this yet unholy land - you were there I was there two desert boys - we did not understand we only know that something grand was happening that Star ...that night. Lyric 11 "puppet city" from Teenager I couldn't believe it when you said you didn't care if people used you or people stole from you you said - nothing last forever nothing to do with you then you say come to me if you can be quiet come little one if you can be still you say - there's so much more to do than get caught up on every issue its' puppet city out there truly I couldn't believe it when you said you had no feelings of love or hate or anything dramatic not jealousy or pride you said you'd set these things aside then you say come to me... I couldn't believe it when you said I had been programmed to miss you when you go away to be indignant when you stay away to worry about things the proper length of time well-taught emotionally girl does this - tell her it's wrong that's the thing to do girl does that - tell her it's wrong that's the thing to do if you love them you need them so stop trying to free them that's the thing to do that's not the thing to do I couldn't believe it when you said you needed no one you're a stubborn man I think you're anti social whatever that is you're supposed to care about your brother it's not right to be so cold then you say... Lyric 12 "la jalouse" from Bound by the Beauty (1989) la jalouse i said no la jalouse i told you to go you trick me with all your lies trick me 'til I'm on your side drag me into your stinking pit jalouse don't cry (baby) just get out and never come back la jalouse mon amie mon contre amie mon amie mon contre amie la jalouse i told you to go something you said tipped me off to who you were we were talking in the kitchen i closed my eyes i put the glass down i knocked the table over then i i grabbed your shoulders then i i threw you as hard as ever la jalouse where would you go anyway (here, have some wine) la jalouse let's talk about old . . . let's review some things you made me crazy lose my mind now i can't remember why. i don't even like the guy Lyric 13 "goodbye" from The Walking (1987) tiny dot strand of sand waves that sigh beneath the hand i stand the singing seashore the earth and you are round i'm always apologizing will i? do you? chime, the feet dry, the sand clouds collect out at sea start to run this pink shell this grey span and a thousand pardons trail behind lonely beach ceaseless wind still don't understand run as fast a missed beat a quickening i went to say i love you but instead i said goodbye i want a table no just for one but i know you do i can see some from here ok then say for two no there's only one don't you want my business i will never come back here oh my love faithless dove all the love in the world.. 229 Lyric 14 "everything reminds me of my dog" from Bound by the Beauty everything reminds me of my dog the guy in the store telephones.. .yoohoo taxicabs if you remind me of my dog we'll probably git along little doggie git along git along little doggie git a... smiling at strangers (better let them know you're friendly) the way people dress reminds me too, pissing on their favourite tree sad things cockroaches and other insects remind me too, don't hit them the blank expression of the little boy with thick glasses who picks himself up from the sidewalk and stands there blinking in the sun if you remind me of my dog we'll probably git along little doggy git along git along little doggie git a... like the man on the subway sitting across from me and every time i looked at him he smiled and by the time i got to the end of the subway line i'd given him at least...oh...2 5 cookies guys in bars remind me of my dog the way it takes you so long to choose the perfect table if you remind me of my dog we'll probably git along little doggie git a long git along little doggie git along (me and my ferocious dog we're walking down the street and everyone we meet says "ach yer a goot doogie!...") except when we go for a walk to get the Sunday paper i stand there and read the headlines he reads the wind sometimes he hits a funny smell and laughs i hate it when he does that—ifeel so dumb what? what? i say everything reminds me of my dog 230 beautiful things sunsets remind me of my dog—gina go to your window einstein reminds me of my dog—i want to pat his fluffy head this whole world reminds me of my dog my dog reminds me of this whole world do i remind you of a dog? (thump thump) i do? (faster thump) skyscrapers remind me of my dog sitting in the tall grass waiting for a rabbit guy in red cameros too-it's getting to be a habit artists remind me of my dog staking out their originality on the nearest tree old folks remind me of my dog my dog reminds old folks of their dogs (barfy, ruffo, beanhead) gina says i remind her of my dog the way i just did that golfers teeing off remind me of my dog the way he sits my me and shifts on his from paws-what is it you want? look at it, do you want to go for a walk, want a cookie, do you want me to dial the number for you? Lyric 15 "symmetry (the way things have to be)" from No Borders Here ...or say you re in a room and there's a beautiful fire and you're looking out the window but your eyes keep returning to the fire this is what I'm thinking the reason your eyes keep returning to the fire is because it divides your sight into left and right (and dark and light and dark) like a fine dividing wire here's another thing that i noticed last night that when he kissed me over there he usually kissed me over here, too i must have known it in my heart and with my inner sense of art cuz when I kiss him over there i never kiss him over here, too it's the way of the world people do it everywhere if you're going to do it over here then usually they do it over there symmetry is the way things have to be or say you're at a table and you have your forks and knives do you move them around 'til you get them just right? (this is when you're talking to someone) or you work in a nightclub and you notice that even though you try to seat everyone on one side of the room they always spread themselves out evenly from this side to that like atoms in a model it's the way of the world people do it everywhere if you're going to do it over here then usually they do it over there symmetry is the way things have to be or say you're in an airshow and your flying with two other pilots and you want to do it right because you like to do it right and one guy is flying at the tip of your left wring and the other guy's off doing his own thing would it bother you? it bothers me it's the way of the world people do it everywhere if you're going to do it over here then usually they do it over there symmetry is the way things have to be Lyric 16 "Maria" from Maria maria.. .maria.. .maria.. .maria maria is on my mind everything you do, everything you say every time you run, every time you play every time you sing, every time you pray long ago and far away long ago and here today long ago and far away long ago and here today and here to stay. Lyric 17 "Freedom is Gold" from Lips Nobody ain't telling me what I can or cannot do. Freedom is a choice and freedom is gold. Taking full responsibility for sinking or swimming. But what are you gonna do about money? Well, I can do just fine with less. What if you fail? Well, I hadn't thought about that. But I guess as long as it's an interesting ride that's alright. But what if people don't like what you do? Fuck 'em? Freedom is a choice and freedom is gold. Lyric 18 "Flirtin' is a Flo-thing" from Lips Flirtin' is a flo-thing I like to keep the fires hot I like to keep the coals a-glowin' I like to keep the furnace a-burnin' I like to keep the engine a-hummin' To take home to my baby. (Or not). Flirtin' is a flo-thing... I like to flirt with men I like to flirt with women I like to flirt with old folks, young folks I think I even like to flirt with trees I like to flirt with rocks, birds, bees I like to flirt with a good plate of linguini I like to flirt with a good suit, double-stitched, good linen. I guess that what I'm saying what I'm gettin' at is I like to flirt with everything Flirtin' is a flo-thing... I like to keep the fires hot... Flirtin' is a flo-thing... Lyric 19 "something about trains" from Bound by the Beauty something about trains something about love something about this old earth and the way it looks from up above something about satellites something about down below something about the hissing of that old steam iron as you press your clothes beam it up beam it down across the world from town to town most of the time when I'm walking the line I'm looking at the ground BUT EVERY TIME I HEAR THAT WHISTLE BLOWING EVERY TIME I HEAR THAT OLD BLACK CROW EVERY TIME I HEAR THAT WHISTLE BLOWING I FIND MYSELF A'SHTVERING IN MY SOUL something about love when things go wrong when you can't find the one that you love you keep movin' on you walk the lonely valley you walk the line alone but this old earth is always there you don't feel so alone beam it up beam it down across the world from town to town most of the time when I'm walking the line I'm looking at the ground BUT EVERY TIME I HEAR THAT WHISTLE BLOWING EVERY TIME I HEAR THAT OLD BLACK CROW EVERY TIME I HEAR THAT WHISTLE BLOWING I FIND MYSELF A'SHTVERING IN MY SOUL but you wake up in the middle of the night and a train whistle blows and a dog barks and something's not quite right and a cry is sent up from this earth into the silent sky beam it up beam it down across the world from town to town most of the time when I'm walking the line I'm looking at the ground BUT EVERY TIME I HEAR THAT WHISTLE BLOWING EVERY TIME I HEAR THAT OLD BLACK CROW EVERY TIME I HEAR THAT WHISTLE BLOWING I FIND MYSELF A'SHTVERING IN MY SOUL something about trains something about love something about this old earth and the way it looks tonight The transcriptions in the following Appendixes are not meant to be taken as a complete score performance. Rather, only what I consider to be the most salient parts are notated. Typically, this includes the vocal, harmonies, and the prevalent accompanying instruments. 237 Appendix 2 l a j a l o u s e from bound by the beauty (1989) A _-, words and music by Jane Sibbery transcribed by France Fledderus Voice S • 40 ja- lou Dsus4 se D I said no- Dmin Dm13 Guitar s 18 D t • i - lo Dsu i Ll S4 4 f » » S6 D • I 3 = tol Dm d in Hr J * - yo 4 u tc ) [ gc Dm ^ = ) 13 * • l f \ • a • • J i m — 0 9 • B you trick me with- Amin all your lies Emin/A Dmin sus2 trick me *til_ Amin Cmin sus4 I'm on_ —J~ Gtr. Bass add brushes 238 rit. Emin sus4 your side Dmin sus2 drag me in - t o . Amin your_ stink Emin ing pit Dmin sus2 m m Gtr. Bass 18 i A Bit I L = lb r - B V -*• w • ne - ver c o m e back Amin Amin7 la j a - l o u D Dsus4 se D - f r - S t t % 111 If *=f= J m 9 1 p p p L l • » • * d • Gtr. Bass 239 D 35 a tempo knocked the ta - ble o - ver then I I grabbed your shoul B[? Dmin Bb • 1 o I i l = | 5 Jtf 1 F# Gtr. Bass 1 J. h $3 r "P P ders then I Dmin I threw you as hard as_ D e - ver_ A 7 7»-t \ \ \ H r P T = M •--tt- Gtr. Bass 3 241 A 1 hmm where would you D Dsus4 Dmin7 Gtr. Bass facet brushes 9 jo P | O 7 7 \ p w J r Gtr. Bass go? ah- Dm13 la ja-lou se let's talk a-bout old Dmin7 B let's re - view some things- Dm13 you made me era - zy lose my mind Amin Dmin Emin sus4 Dmin Gtr. s - t — r Bass 242 I now I can't re - m e m - b e r w h y _ Amin Dmin Emin sus4 Dmin I don't - Amin S 9 e - ven l i k e - Dmin % Gtr. Bass 0 *_ 54 1 <s>r -7 P '• _ the gt Emin sus4 Dn \lf I J \ V nin ^ * ' 1 V F 1 r -"FT ? J  1 11 ^ 1 \ A Appendix 3 g o o d b y e from the walking (1987) 243 words and music by Jane Sibbery transcribed by France Fledderus Voice 1 Bamboo Syn. Bell Syn. Water Syn. A v * ti - ny dot A E/Gfl strand of_ E sand- —j 0 — -0 -0 3 = 5 Voice 1 Bamboo Syn. Bell Syn. Water Syn. ~0- \ waves that sigh Fjjmin be E neath D the D hand- A/Cj| j ' 111 J E ^ *>: ftJ 7 T  Voice 1 Bamboo Syn. Bell Syn. A' 245 chime, the feet- w E: Org. Syn. Water Syn. S S 4ft 15 Voice 1 Bamboo Syn. Bell Syn. E/G)t dry,. the sand T* TV ' Org. Syn. Water Syn. S B 8: Voice I Bamboo Syn. 246 Org. Syn. Water Syn. 4F=R= J J J J J J J J J J J 1 J J JV J J J j Voice 1 Bamboo Syn. Bell Syn. start to run Dmin this pink shell El, this grey B\>ID span and a it * foreground Org. Syn. 20 Voice 1 Bamboo Syn. Bell Syn. and a thou - sand par - dons trail F/C be - hind. F Org. Syn. Water Syn. A' 247 Voice 1 Bamboo Syn. Bell Syn. j i n i Lone A ly- beach- it » ¥ P i g Org. Syn. Guitar Syn. S 1 ^ J l l » [ l t n r i > 1 1 —- -* Voice 1 Bamboo Syn. Bell Syn. E/Gf F |}min 1 TO " . _ J L 5=2= ^ ¥ ^ ¥ ¥ l ¥ J — \ i r 4 • V -0 0- 1 0 — h —1 1 < _ZJ^ i M — ^ n — i j — 1 p * « 0 , — J — • • Org. Syn. Guitar Syn. 248 Voice 1 Bamboo Syn. Bell Syn. 25 to c i i p r r 'T p stand F run as fast a missed beat a quick'-ning I C/E Csus2/E F C/E It" F f f l mm Org. Syn. « a fi ' — : 28 D Voice 1 Bell Syn. Org. Syn. Generic Syn. 70 f went to say I love you but in - stead I said good-bye B[>/D Bdim/D h Dmin . U Cjjmin Djjmin/Cjj Cjjmin 5 1 - r t a ? f s p = - — — — - ^ A * i J . * 1 - — J — J — Drum bass drum 249 Voice 1 Bell Syn. 11 Djjmin/Cjj Cjjmin Djjmin/Cjj Cjjmin Djjmin/Cjj Cjjmin Djjmin/Cjj Cjjmin Djjmin/Cjj Cjjmin rt J? M _. i_. i ^ ^ J i 1 i_. 31 i Org. Syn. Generic Syn. f Drum 36 Voice 1 Voice 2 oh oh-mm oo oo oo I want a da da dee- da da de- da dadee— da da dee_ ji Djjmin/Cjj Cjjmin Djjmin/Cjj Cjjmin Djjmin/Cjj Cjjmin Djjmin/Cjj Cjjmin r l M i i i i i i i i i i i i i i i =e Org. Syn. Generic Syn. Drum 250 40 ta D ble no just for one_ Esus4/D D Esus4/D but I know- D you * < — = — * * - * 45 _ ...M- m * m 1 do Esus4/D I can see_ D so from here o - kay then say Esus4/D D for 1 ^ 1 49 251 two Esus4/D -a m J * — no there's on D ly one don't you want my busi Esus4/D D O 0 f ness Esus4/D I will ne - ver come back D here Esus4/D A " Sz 252 Voice 1 Bamboo Syn. Bell Syn. Water Syn. l f « t , A E/Gf 4—* i ^ i - v— -*—#- -a 1 • 1* E n r Jl 58 , u Voice 1 Bamboo Syn. Water Syn. • all the-Fjjmin love in the world.. F C o d a 62 r r i f Bamboo Syn. Water Syn. 68 p- -*- $ U I * £ D " J Bamboo i i . u Syn. ^ P 1 1 *• ^fen • 0 m r — » i ' b 1 • L i 1 — * 1 Bamboo Syn. 253 Appendix 4 e v e r y t h i n g r e m i n d s m e o f m y d o g from bound by beauty (1989) words and music by Jane Sibbery transcribed by France Fledderus High Hat Snare Kick Bass 7 7 V V V \ 7 § ? 7 ^ 7 —i 7 7 J u 7 J 1 "—-~l isn _ p ^ *a A A A -. r r r f I Amin G Amin G Amin G Amin Pno. Bass H. H. Sn. K. B. 1st (whistled) 1 J\ 7 7 ? J J = f l Bmin/E E 7 Bmin/E Pno. Bass H. H. Sn. K. B. SSI r r r 254 solo -a- \ \ 7 \\ ev' - ry-thing re-minds me of my dog Bmin/E E7 the N n - t 1 r r> Pno. Gtr. Bass H. H. Sn. K. B. 1 b I 1^1 f j L i I guy in the store Bmin/E re-minds me of my dog E7 P Pno. Gtr. Bass H. H. Sn. K B . l l « L _ > It' Pno. Bass   257 dog_ E 7 cock- roach -es and oth - er in - sects re-mind me Bmin/E Pno. Gtr. Bass H. H. Sn. K. B. 0 l U l u I r A' too, E 7 don't hit them the blank ex - pres-sion of the lit-tie boy Bmin/E Pno. Gtr. Bass H. H. Sn. K. B. 0 l L j 1 J 0 \ j l j 1§ \ j with the thick glas - ses who picks him - self up from the Pno. Bass 9 y ? P5"—*H s i 258   261 way it takes y o u so long to choose the per - fee t ta - ble r e - m i n d s me o f m y d o g i f Bmin /E E 7 Pno. Gtr. Bass H. H. Sn. K. B. d0= T f i r r B' solo y o u Bmin /E re - m i n d me o f m y d o g we'll prob' - ly git a - l o n g _ Pno. Bass H. H. Sn. K. B. E 7 r 5 r 5 r i r tutti Pno. Bass l i t - t i e d o g - g i e git a - long git a - l o n g l i t - t i e d o g - g i e E 7 A E 7 T I i r t 262 « A m i n git a - long_ A m i n Pno. Bass H. H. Sn. K B . -a- A 58 D solo — • — • -a- St1 it 5 Dulcimer Gtr. m e and m y fer - o - c ious d o g we're walk - ing d o w n the street and A m i n Emin Amin Emin Amin E m i n Amin E m m Bass H. H. Sn. K. B. -* -» 1 = £ 60 , tutti Dulcimer Gtr. Bass H. H. Sn. K. B. i ev' - ry one we meet says Amin Emin . A m i n Emin ach yer a goot d o g - g i e ach yer a goot d o g - g i e Amin G Amin G 1 263 solo * v v v * i ach yer a goot d o g - g i e d o g - gie? Amin G Amin G ex - cept when we go for a E 7 Dulcimer Pno. Gtr. Bass H. H. Sn. K B . 1 1 * Pno. Bass H. H. Sn. K. B. s i walk to get the s u n - d a y pa - per i stand there and read the head - lines ~3 264 he reads the wind j y t J " ' and some-times he hits a fun - ny Pno. Gtr. Bass H. H. Sn. K. B. "St s T r 68 4 t V. Pno. Gtr. Bass H. H. Sn. K. B. smell and laughs 1^ i hate it when he does that i feel so = s i j j j j IJ j r T r T  74 266 d o g E 7 sun - sets r e - m i n d me o f my Bmin /E 76 , -a- d o g gin - a go to your w i n - dow ein - stein r e - m i n d s m e o f m y E 7 „ B m i n / E f r T r 267 wor ld E7 do 1 Bmin/E re - m i n d y o u o f a Pno. Gtr. s i Bass H. H. Sn. K. B.  269 d o g s i t - t i n g in the tall grass w a i t - i n g for a rab -b i t guys in red c a - m a - r o s E 7 Bmin /E r I r 1 5 r J too it's get - t ing to be E 7 a ha - bit ar - tists r e - m i n d me o f m y Bmin /E * r r T F r I r 5 r F 92 S i d o g s t a k - i n g out their o - ri - gi - na - li - ty on E 7 B m i n / E the near - est 0 ) L   A 111 272 « * * shifts on his paws Bmin /E r x — — * x — what is it y o u want? i > Pno. Gtr. Bass H. H. Sn. K. B. 4V tf tt t E7 T r T r 273 Appendix 5 m a r i a from maria (1995) words and music by Jane Sibbery transcribed by France Fledderus Voice ah ah_ yeah_ , — . . .. n [ i — p 3 13 Piano Bass I 1 1 I Dmin7 Emin Dmin —0- ah Pno. G s u s 2 ah Dmin G Dmin 1 i %z n C C s u s 2 n C 9 C s u s 2 274 i i l ^ ~ * $ * ..... ^ ^— — -& 1 p' -A-. 2 — - \ - r-—I G m i n 9 Emin11 D m i n 1 1 A m i n C / G Gmin9 : l-f3 : L J r 1 r p"r =t 24 A ' 275 * 1 h Dmin11 /G Dmin7 m a - n - a_ Dmin A m a - n - a_ E M a j A11 Pno. Pno. L H . Bb Tpt. ri - a Bmin/D A/c8 m a - n - a . C-Smin7 Bmin m a - n - a_ A m i n Pno. B. r *p r p i r IT  277  279 n - - - a ma - C Gsus4/C J. Ji J = ri - - - a G/C Gsus4 | J J j J ma - Sf- i i T - - T — #—m~*L^t» *—% 1 P ri C =#=f a Gsus4 m ma - ri - G/C ) J J 1 Ji 1 - a ma - Amin/C ri - a is on C9 - m » my — r a r , =: J • r •* fg, ^ » a H § 1 r = ± = ± mind CMaj7 $ j . J i I C9 ^ /a. d a c la da da da da r =^ L J 1 i . s=i if | t ' 66 A #^ or l Amin9/E 1 J r J J J f = £ ^ 280 s - J oh D i \ \ \ m d- d d ** 4 ev' - ry thing you c D An - . . d d d d- o ev' - ry thing you nin £ sa D y /Ftt f -£=f-[ 9 ttf j J J J m m ] = — ev' - ry tin D An J ^ _ d d 4 ne you run ev' - ry tin i d- ne you t pi D — \ ay /A * f > 1 4 • r ¥ r | ev' - ry time you si D Arr j j j j - ig ev' - ry time you in/E ,> cJ pray D 1 , 1 - = *r f ?- r? f 1 281 nuh nuh nuh D nuh nuh nuh na D/A na na na • i far a - way J . J i J J 1 J J- J 7 long a - go and here to - day long D D a - go and He r P U T He p 1 = 282 ~ d d _: • - — ' ^ far a - way —wt- a - go long D and here to day D Pno. I P S ? r tie it it 90 I I : * —;g and here to D stay D Pno. 4 yeah yeah oh D Pno. Pno. Pno. L H . Bb Tpt. $ - u n j ^ D _ ^ . . i - = $ = 283 Appendix 6 flirtin' i s a flo-thing from lips (1999) words and music by Jane Sibbery transcribed France Fledderus Organ Guitar Bass High Hat Snare Kick Bass 3 Dmin11 Dmin11 Dmin7 Org. Gtr. -- m ml crfrffr H. H. Sn. K. B. I — * — 7 ^ 71    1 9 D m i n l 1 Dmin11 D m i n l 1 287 288 v. 1 Pno. Org. Gtr. flo - Dmin11 -thing. flir - tin' is a Dmin13 > > > H. H. Sn. K.. B. S=3 7£ F— 1 27 4 4 — > _ • I- i * i M V. 1 Pno. Org. Gtr. f lo Dmin11 thing_ Dmin13 flir - tin' is a > > > > H. H. Sn. K. B "7̂  7T- i p — U U i  V. 1 V. 2 Pno. Org. I like to keep the fi - res hot •—*—w- I like to keep the coals a hot Dmin A7/Cft 1 7 \\ i H . H . Sn. K. B. ' J , J , J 1 J 1 J ? J 1 V *—*—*—*—z * 7 35 V. 1 V. 2 Pno. Org. — * * * — * - glow - in' I like to keep the fur - nace a - burn - in'. nah nah nah nah ye • glow - in' burn - in' Dmin7/C B^7 o H. H . Sn. K. B. 7 J 7 J 7 J 7 "7? 7T HZ •m—*—* *—*—* * I like to keep the en-gine a ah hum - min' hum - min' Amin hum - min' Fmin/A i J i J i J i 39 • to take home to my ba Amin take home to by ba F/A cymbal 43 Dminl 1 Dmin7 Dminl 1 • « t m • « — j • 1 i i i 1 j 1 —J« J * • » TT-ffl- •>: ; - 5 — 1 -3—• -3 1 -3 — 1 r c J d d ' \-d-* * - s—f— •' r u i 1 r r U i - J J X X — > J J -x X x x! X X J J J J } r 4J * X f 1 J - LLf * - —1 \ - f 7 K *—r r * Pno. Org. Gtr. H . H . Sn. K. B.   Dminl>9 Dmin11 295 Pno. Gtr. 3 = £ p H. H. Sn. K. B. J J J J r J J J J J J J J J J J 62 Dmin11 Dmin9 — j J J j ^ •>: : r r >. t_jr r - i _ ^ ' r ^ / ^^^^^^^ 1 r - 4 r * 1 x - f l > X X, V X X J X X i X - i • >J X 1 x 1 xj V —* f* -u * 1 X r r r 7 * Pno Gtr. H. H. Sn. K. B. 64 A l l V. 1 oh_ Dmin9 Pno. Gtr H. H. Sn. K.. B. J3. flir - tin' is a flo Dmin9 ^ . r * * f « " - • thing- " 7 K 7* 7* 7* v V. 1 Pno. Gtr. 66 296 Dmin11 [8°°) flir - tin' is > > H. H. Sn. K. B. X X X IF v. 1 flo - Dminl 1 8T-- - thing Dmin9 flir-tin' is a Pno. Gtr t i a m tit a H. H. Sn. K. B. 4 ^ _X X_ 7= X X X y; v1 *: x1 M - X X _  298 299  301 v. 1 V. 2 good suit I I I | I I J 7 I 1 r # 3 * ¥ * * 5 *T dou - ble stiched good I guess that — * — hmm_ — * — hmm G9 hmm_ G9 Pno. Org. Gtr. H. H. Sn. K. B. cymbal V. 1 Pno. Org. Gtr H. H. Sn. K. B. / 7 L V-LJ r i V. 1 V. 2 Pno. Org. Gtr. Dmin11 Dmin9 t i t T V V T T T T J " W W W W • • • • • • • • • • • • 3' H. H. Sn. K. B. A— x. v_ 7̂  T^- j ^ >j ^ ll ' X_ r< r< \ 303 v. 1 V. 2 Pno. Org. Gtr. ow 0 or ** - 0 h — J - . o h Dmi = # = 111 Dmi i n =#= I—J" -—t I—1 I f 1 —s —s I H M i l l 1 1 H - 1 i 4 4 4 41 R R t==3F=l I" r 1 r [ "1 i — * > X X X —) f > > < S 4J * X P (LH r * / • < * H. H. Sn. K. B. V. 1 V. 2 oh_ oh . oh_ oh_ Dmin13 Dminl 1 Pno. Org. Gtr. 8 JJJJJJJJJJ J I j j j j j j j j j j j j j I J J J i i i l l l i f * * * * - * ¥ - ¥ ¥ ¥ ¥ * l ¥ 5T H. H Sn. K.. B. "7̂  x - _> x J J i f ~K x x x T~ _ X X _ A 304 Dmin13 flir - tin' is a flo - Dmin11 -thing_ J JJJJJJJJJJJ J * v1 W * — K 7<—i* -7 f / 1 p — - u r r * 1 = ^ Dmin13 flir - tin' is a flo Dmin11 thing jp)#- • v if w •« > > j J K. B. ^ * X X X X f / 7 ft—ux r J   307 v. 1 V. 2 Org. bu i — -— TI - in' stro ng I l ike to ke ep the e n - gine hum - min' — T — 1 — pj m burn - in Gl w T# 7 J "fl 7 J 1 J 7 J J J V •J \ v - X < ii y x > * > H. H. Sn. K.. B . V. 1 V. 2 Org. 3E h u m - m i n ' h u m - m i n ' to take home to m y ba = I I J % » ' a - by h u m - m i n ' _ D m i n / A take home to m y ba - A(add6) A(add6) by A IT H. H. Sn. K. B. >i X * * a—J—J » <̂ >i >i > X *. J J -jj x J J J "7 X~~ I - x — x x x X" "ix x x X X — x — x — s r -    311 130 - * f i m • • V c I Dmi 113 fli • r - ti M n' is > a fl Dmi >=* 3 -thi 111 n g J . ] = # = 1 t U m » i L 1 2 || i ' i j " f- -•• "7 J > •fi } 1 * r ' ' = * - f ; - — „ ^ i > . —J * • * 4J i > " 1* f - i —I * 5 J


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