Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Audacity of Hope

You can go to the 2:15 mark to hear the song, or you can listen to his intriguing and amusing intro. Despite the fact that there are well over a thousand YouTube videos made to this song, which was written by Randy Newman, this was the only one I could find actually performed by Randy Newman.

Those who know me well know the penchant I once had to play a favorite song over and over until anyone in earshot was ready to kill me. I haven't had that urge in years, but I've rediscovered it with this song. Something about Randy Newman's rendition of "Feels Like Home," a song I've loved for years, first when I heard it recorded by Bonnie Raitt and later by Chantal Kreviazuk, has utterly captivated me. I never felt this level of devotion for the song until Dana started playing Newman's new album and Randy's voice washed over me, making completely new the so familiar lyrics. Now I can't stop listening to it.

At various points during my obsessive multiple listens, I've decided I'm so entranced by it because it demonstrates what a near perfect songwriter Randy Newman is. How else could one song work so beautifully for so many different singers? My latest impression, however, is the one that has inspired this blog entry. I think in this season of bitter political debating, his interpretation of his own song is striking me as incredibly, achingly, simply hopeful. Each few minutes I listen to it offer a respite from all the white noise around me.

I'll likely have a new theory after a few dozen more listens, but I figured I'd share his rendition of the song with you now, as it is my very favorite thing of the moment. Enjoy.


Anonymous said...

Boooring. ;-)

(Kidding, of course, and that's an inside joke for those of you who are wondering)

I feel about Randy Newman, when it comes to him singing his own songs, the same way I do about Bob Dylan. Sure, neither has a conventionally "good" voice, but they are both head and shoulders above anybody else when it comes to delivering powerful performances.

Part of that is that they wrote the songs, I'm sure, but it's also that they are so blisteringly honest in their delivery.

And that honesty cuts to the bone even more when it's a straight-forward love song like this one. As Newman said in his introduction, fans like to hear him do stuff like this because it's different.

He is such a bitter ironist, such a cynic, that when you hear him profess true love like this, you know you're hearing the real deal. And there ain't much of the real deal out there anymore.

Dana said...

While watching the Youtube clip, I was struck by just how sincere and decent a person Newman is, and I think it is that sincerity and decency that radiates in a song like this. And I also think that same sincerity and decency helps to ground his more satirical and biting work. His soul belies any notion that he is elitist or out of touch with the common man.

Thank you for sharing this clip and your passion for one of my favorite artists.

pegclifton said...

I'm not that familiar with Randy Newman's music, but I enjoyed this touching rendition of a lovely song. Thanks for sharing.