Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Happy Birsday

I know next to nothing about writing songs. 

That should be evident, as I also display amply on this blog I know next to nothing about writing fiction or poetry.

But I do know this: The “new” Happy Birthday Song being championed this week by the Free Music Archive sucks rocks. 

Don’t believe me?

And the alternatives.
Don’t listen to the second-place winner. Even through the ukulele, it’s ultimately unlistenable.

Or the third one. The tune reminds me of those dreary bluegrass songs (and dreary bluegrass groups) you’d hear in a period movie like O Brother Where Art Thou.

And Disc 2 of 2: Sounds like a reject from the Portlandia Gentle Music Festival. Though it does have a surprise humor element to it. I probably would have voted for that one.

There are reasons the ubiquitous Happy Birthday song has stuck around for so long. It’s simple. It’s repetitive. And, above all, it’s short. Worst part of any birthday party to me is the inevitable singing of the birthday song. And the inevitable re-singing of the song because somebody wasn’t in the room and didn’t get to sing the first time, or (this happens a lot at my house) the kids want to blow the candles out again. And again. And again.

Why do we need a new birthday song? Royalties, I suppose. But that only affects folks who want to sing the Happy Birthday song in some commercial venture, as the author of the Slate article concedes in the last paragraph.

Honestly, there are better ways around those royalties than any of the dirges in this contest.

Short, repetitive, and peppy. That’s why the Happy Birthday song has lasted so long, royalties be damned.
And no one -- but no one -- can beat my Dad singing the original Happy Birthday song with his Dutch accent: "Happy Birsday to you . . . "

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