Sometimes music from past eras can be as fresh as you would expect music of your time.
And in my experience, in most cases music from the past is even fresher than today’s music.
After Adele’s orchestral rendition of “Fastlove” for her tribute to George Michael at the 2017 Grammy’s I had to find out what the original sounded like. Lo and behold a Pandora’s box was open, but in a good way. I discovered an album of songs I had never heard.
George Michael was one of those artists whose music transcends time and preserves well. Now I’m on a whole George Michael kick, delving into Antônio Carlos Jobim and Style Council’s music, revisiting favorites that I grew up listening to as a little girl with my mum such as Lisa Stansfield, Toni Braxton, Sade, Simply Red, Sting and so forth.
With the passing of each innovator, whether it be a musical innovator like George Michael or a data visualization innovator like Hans Rosling, loss has this tendency to compel you to look back and remember what they contributed. Therein lies what legacy can do, which is breathe life and soul back into us. Sad that it takes death to make that which we should never have forgotten or taken for granted impactful, but that is the irony of this life. Through loss we gain, and perhaps it’s true for those that give
“give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down and shaken together and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye measure out it shall be measured to you again” (Luke 6:38).
If you too love that sound, but can’t put your figure on it, check out the AllMusic list I started for that indescribably stylish and soulful sound George Michael and the like epitomized.
Released: May 1996 // Label: Virgin // Chart peak: US #6, UK #1
Somehow, 31 years after Wham!’s first appearance on the charts, George Michael is still charting new music. (Distressing, isn’t it, the thought of having Lady Gaga on the charts for 31 years.) His staying power rivals that of Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney – and while one may struggle to find work that merits such comparisons on, say, Fantastic, there’s little doubt that the writer of Older deserved some serious millions (it sold a meager 6x platinum wholesale in the UK) and just a couple decades of our time. The US wasn’t nearly as interested in Experimental George, which is fine, because what does America know.
Remember that big jazz revival of 1996? Neither does anyone else, didn’t happen. With Older, Michael found an industrial dance/soul/jazz niche no one had bothered to explore and planted…
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