The Queen of Soul has never sounded better as she moves President Obama to tears and brings down the house with one of her signature tunes
Although we are very aware that timing in life is everything, we at Screaming Back at the Screen are sometimes late to a great party particularly when it can be stored for later viewing on our DVR.
With that admission, we finally saw Aretha Franklin‘s performance on the Kennedy Center Honors. We’ve always loved, loved, loved her synonymous tune “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.” What a great song and it is always moving to hear her sing it. That song and her voice are a perfect match and the wannabes who populate the ‘American Idol’ school of pop music could take a lesson from her. But most will never have anything close to her voice so good luck with that pursuit. As we have witnessed in the music business, good voice + bad songs still equal shit and make for a short career.
A few thoughts:
We are not very familiar with Janelle Monet except for her reputation for always wearing black and white (which, by the way, we dig heavily). She has a fine voice and it’s nice to know that there are still some who have great genuine voices. We don’t know any of her songs; hopefully she doesn’t suffer the burden of bad material.
It’s always nice to see our President and First Lady dressed up and on the town. Occasions like this humanize them much to the consternation of their opponents. Wow, black people being elegant, educated, sophisticated, and having fun and emotional moments without fistfights or involvement of law enforcement. Very foreign concepts for many in this country.
Snippets of “BEAUTIFUL- The Carole King Musical” were featured and told Carole’s success story as a songwriter. Coincidentally, the 1996 film, “Grace of My Heart”, starring Illeana Douglas, lifts some events that were depicted on stage to form a story about a female songwriter from the same era.
But if anyone was wondering why Carole King’s honor was the final salute of the night, let’s get back to the Queen of Soul…
Aretha was in great voice and as usual, they *HAD* to put her at the end of the show because she would have easily blown everyone else away and there would have been no show.
“(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” sticks in our head and we don’t care. It’s such a great song, we never tire of hearing it.
Her voice gets better with age. Good for her because for most singers, that’s usually not the case.
She had her purse with her on stage. Why? Or maybe that is the #Detroiter in her: always watch your own stuff, trust no one with important stuff like your cash or house keys. #oldschooldetroit
Glad to see that Aretha wore something size and age appropriate. She’s played the White House before in dresses that looked like they were ready to throw in the towel trying to stay in place while she performed. Luckily and miraculously, she’s never had any wardrobe malfunctions. We once remember watching President Bill Clinton leer at her in a giant strapless yellow frock that made her look like an overweight Big Bird.
Hers was a very #Detroit look. Recalling life there, it was not unusual to see someone out in any combination of attire under a large, heavy coat (and yes, sometimes a fur). And we mean any kind of clothing: whatever was on at the time whether it was an evening gown, a pair of jeans and a t-shirt, pajamas or a housedress to run outside because something outside needed attention at *that* moment and it was cold and snowy out there. When the days were really messy, the footwear might have been a pair of rubber galoshes. The train of her dress trailing out under the fur gave us a flashback of the housedress/winter coat combo that we saw in the hood on many a day.
Lastly, Carole King seemed genuinely surprised and delighted that Aretha knocked her composition out of the park. We’re not sure why: Aretha has been singing that song for 40-some years and has never once done it badly.
Truly a blowout performance from a woman who deserves her own suite in the Smithsonian.