On the Persistence of Envy



So, the only thing I’m playing on my stereo these days is everything by Katie Melua.

There are singers whose voices and songs enter my ears directly and detonate somewhere in the back of my skull. It can take years for me to remove the shrapnel (in many cases, I never quite manage to extract all the fragments).

Before Katie Melua, it was Amy Lee, and before Amy Lee it was Vienna Teng, and before Vienna Teng it was Sarah McLachlan.

I’m too unschooled in music to pinpoint what exactly these four musicians have in common that I like so much. The only things I can think of are that: (1) they’re gifted singer-songwriters, (2) they’re accomplished pianists, (3) they have incredibly haunting voices, (4) their lyrics and melodies make me want to write (and have actually made me write), and (5) item #4 notwithstanding, they’re the kind of artists who make me wish that I were a singer instead of a writer.

Because let’s face it, nothing, and I mean nothing, makes people happier faster than music.



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