Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Randy Newman

I have been listening to a bit of Randy Newman recently.  So many songwriters that I like seem to reference him. I don't know if this is just "Nice" referencing, or referencing due to popular demand...but I looked into Randy Newman recently and generally liked what I heard.
The first song that I heard of his was his biggest and most recent song, You Got A Friend in Me.  I used it to make a slide-show of odd animals cuddling (A duck and a chimp...etc.), and actually pulled off getting my place of work to watch it at a quarterly meeting...that was pretty amazing.  Left a lot of people wondering I think.
So my initial thoughts of Randy Newman were not exactly serious.  But then I saw him perform Sail Away on SNL (Season 1 Episode 2 with Paul forward to 16:30). I was pretty impressed.  I love his simple but interesting piano parts, and his nonchalant, casual and clever lyrics.  I always admire people who say important things plainly.  I think that is the goal of any good songwriter, and Randy Newman seems to do that effortlessly.
I also appreciate his sarcasm.  His song Short People, appears mean, but is a statement about judging people based on ridiculous criteria.  Or Political Science suggests that we just "Drop the big one, and see what happens." While sarcasm is not good in email, it is great in songs!
I love his orchestration of his tracks: horn sections, clarinet, tubas, good bass sounds, good drum sounds, tasteful solos, fills and riffs.  He is a strong producer, and in his recent career has moved away a bit from the singer songwriter role and has written some major scores and songs for film.  He did the music for: Toy Story, A Bug' Life, Toy Story 2, Monsters Inc., Pleasantville, James and the Giant Peach, Toy Story 3, Cars, Cars 2, Meet the Fockers, Parenthood, Seabiscut...and more.
Ultimately, Randy is a talented guy, who has a superior knowledge of music, a massively distinct voice, a rare ear for sound and quite a sense of humor.  (He even co-wrote Three Amigos with Steve Martin and Lorne Michaels.)  Thanks Randy!

No comments: