Wednesday, September 2, 2009

I'll Be Blooming Happy When I'm Dead: Pat Boone: "A Wonderful Time Up There"

The history of music and the history of religion are pretty much hand in hand, as far as I can figure out; people have been singing & chanting for this and that to happen since anyone had the first idea, which I am guessing is a very long time ago. The songs were to strengthen the spirit, to be sure, but also they were supposed to be heard by the Big Guy/Gal Upstairs who was supposed to, the logic goes, hear it and be moved in someway by it. All good religious music has that element of gravity to it; the singer(s) are down here and want to manifest something - even if it's just a sense of calm and peace - in their souls down here. It has other ascending qualities as well, which only makes sense - not all songs are downbeat in the least.

But this song is nothing but a boppy, chirpy and ultimately annoying song that talks about the Book of Revelations as if it's a tourist guidebook and the ultimate raising of the dead therein is a big party by the pool. It doesn't have any gravity, it is all 'cheer up dead people who aren't dead yet, one day you won't be dead' and the narrator is spreading this news while tapping his figurative toes in the diner after having had his chocolate malt and hamburger. If you ever meet anyone who was alive in the late 50s they will likely shudder when you mention Pat Boone's name, and this song is one of the many, many reasons why. As for how it got to #2, I cannot figure that out except to say that after all these rather sexy ones as of late, a more Victorian song was bound to pop up. I'm most sorry to say it was this one, and we aren't done with Mr. Boone yet. (It will be a few years from now, with an unexpected happy ending.)

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