As I sift through my usual routine at work, my colleage is currently playing Andy Williams’ version of “We’ve Only Just Begun.”; and since then I started to suffer from Last-Song-Syndrome, also known as LSS.
As I listened to the music, it reminded me of my childhood. Growing up in a household surrounded by adults, I was exposed at an early age to adult tastes, concerns, even music. Hearing Andy Williams’ song playing on the background after constantly hearing Lady Gaga, Black Eyed, what have you, it instantly brought back memories of weekends at our household. Now don’t get me wrong. I admire a great deal of the artists in this decade, but they didn’t call the oldies-but-goodies for nothing.
During weekends, my folks would dig their favorite LPs (yes, we still have them), and play the LP of their favorite artist, LP, song, or whatever tickles their fancy on that particular day. The playlist would consist of artists such as Burt Bacharach, Johnny Matthis, Barbra Streisand, Frank Sinatra, the BeeGees, The Cascades, Paul Anka, Andy Williams, among many others. Sometimes, they would also listen to soundtrack of classic musicals such as Fiddler on the Roof, Sound of Music (who doesn’t have this in their DVD or LP collection!), and some broadway musicals as well. Up to this time, I still know the words of “On My Own”, sang by Eponine in the broadway play Les Miserables, as well as “I Dreamed A Dream”. Speaking of the latter, it always breaks my heart whenever I listen to that song. You can feel the disappointment, nostalgia, pain, in Fantine’s voice as she lets out the lyrics of the music. I’m starting to get a little carried away now, but I truly like the lyricism of the music of the older generation and music of this genre. Back to the song “We’ve Only Just Begun”, the covers I am familiar with are those rendered by The Carpenters, Neil Sedaka (or is it?). Regardless which version it was, I kind of miss the kind of song writing of the oldies. Not all though, but the thing I miss the most is it’s lyricism; the simplicity of words, emotions, and meaning. As I reflect on it, the kind of music of yesteryears was just the beginning of how it is to be in present times. The song may not have be the deciding factor on how music would turn out today, but it has become a classic. And nothing beats a classic.
Even if the genre did not seem to fit the music kids my age listen to at that time, I considered it lively, entertaining, and somehow, influenced on how I view lyricism in music and how to articulate one’s self with words. Aside from the books I read when I was a kid, music played a great role in shaping how I perceived the written word and world. Going back to the music stuff, I found myself humming tunes and my classmates would just look at me and think, “what in the world is that?”. Though I was also abreast with the latest tunes , I found that I tend to lean towards the oldies’ and revert back it as my comfort zone.
Back to the song “We’ve Only Just Begun” and on the topic of lyricism, looking at it from this decade, the lyrics sounds a bit cheesy. Too cheesy, sometimes, but it is in the simplicity of the words, the way songwriters combined words, is what distinguished the songs of yesteryears from today. Though the themes of the songs are still same, the way it was expressed and how it was written is what changed. At the same time, since music nowadays is a production event in itself (with lots of background effects and all that), you get drowned with these hulla-balloos rather than concentrate on the lyrics. But I can understand: with all these artists abound, artists have to find a way to stand out.
Anyhow, we’ve only just begun paved the way to the start of how music and songwriting evolved. In our tastes as listeners and to keeping abreast with the trends. Still, I believe it boils down to what gives you comfort at the end of the day; calms you on a rainy day; and brings back childhood memories spent with family and loved-ones. And when I remember my childhood, “It’s Yesterday Once More”. 🙂