Secret Mojo Dumbs It Down for You

August 6, 2006

Lady Fingers

Filed under: Music,Random Thoughts — secretmojo @ 12:08 am

Piano-playing chicks knock me sideways. Even Vanessa Carlton has a chance at my ear because of it. It’s absurd: why select music based on genitalia and instrument? Okay, instrument makes sense. And genitalia, too, makes sense—if you’re talking vocal range or (ahem) album cover.

But what I’m talking about here is a dysfunction. Tipping the “piano chick” bottle more often than I should, to the point of leapfrogging over a wicked Dave Matthews drum/flute intro to get my ears on Norah Jones’ “Cold, Cold Heart.”

The lameness doesn’t stop there, oh, no: I’ll carelessly stick my CD player on one-song-repeat and go a few thousand rounds with Vonda Shepherd’s “Maryland.” It’s embarrassing. Actually, since I have headphones on, and no one can logistically hear what I hear, it’s more like shame.

Thing is, there are men out there just as qualified for the job of plinking dinks in my ear. Billy Joel, Randy Newman, Connick, Ellington, and so on could fill that gap easily. But I’ll slam the cover on their fingers to get to Tori Amos, Fiona Apple, Patricia Barber, and hell, even Joni Mitchell, who doesn’t play that well—which of course isn’t one of my requirements anyway.

I originally thought (manual dexterity)*(sex appeal) was the formula for my piano lust. You know, dexterity can come in handy in other, um, scenarios. But that would mean I’d have to dig Allison Krauss and Nancy Wilson a whole lot more than I do, and I’d be watching a hell of a lot of flamenco dancing.

Geeze, I try to deconstruct everything. Why can’t it just be a matter of taste?

Because of this glaring, scary fact: I harbor sympathy for Condoleeza Rice because she plays.

That’s just plain nuts. Nuts! Way beyond standard ethical procedure. As you can see, this fetish is becoming a liability, and may contribute to Middle East war. So it’s important I figure out some root causes, before I ignite world war XXI.

So, in the interests of mankind, this is my theory: command.

No instrument says “overarching control of every note on earth” like piano does. (Full disclosure: I play, if you want to call cursing every 3 measures “playing” piano). Nothing promotes the spirit of “I can yank this note out of key” as well as piano. Plus, if a chick can build a minor 9th with a tritone stuck in there for a little gritty punch, or dig out a melody in parallel fifths, then she receives 150 points of head cred, and goes to the front of the class, past Bonnie Raitt and all the rest of them. Except Annie Lennox and Laurie Anderson. They’re always in front, passing notes about Björk.

Hm. Where was I?

Oh: a smart chick in command is irresistible. A smart chick sitting on a bench, adroitly building songs by the digits, even more so. And any lady who seeks out a 9-foot instrument to play must be massively bigger on the inside than they let on; let’s call it the Beethoven Effect. And who wouldn’t want to put a song on infinite loop to get a piece of that? Not that this Effect is always there (think “Sarah McLachlan”, who may play because a cappella doesn’t sell), but regardless, I’ll hear the Beethoven Effect, even with Alicia Keys, who I think doesn’t pound it like she could.

So that’s it. I’ve confessed. I’m a piana junkie. Sorry, Thelonious, Vienna Teng outranks you on the “ivories” playlist for no legitimate reason. It’s selfish and sad, now I’ve gone and lost the best baby that I ever had. Oh I wish I had a river I could skate away on…

What was I saying?



  1. I enjoyed this post especially, but I have to say that all of the many you write… well, they are always stimulating and analytical in ways that take me to a different perspective on your subject of the moment. Just a note of appreciation!

    Comment by fencer — August 6, 2006 @ 9:29 am | Reply

  2. Thanks! [Basks in glory, burns skin]

    Comment by secretmojo — August 6, 2006 @ 10:51 pm | Reply

  3. […] After my post explaining my “piana fetish,” I decided, in fairness, to give Billy Joel some ear time. So I dusted of the box collection, skipped three discs and snatched numero cuatro, wherein Bill offers a seminar, full of joke cracking and piano vamps, to an enthralled audience on the pretext of giving them music biz advice. […]

    Pingback by Secret Mojo Dumbs It Down for You » William Martin Joel, Immortal Being — August 10, 2006 @ 11:46 pm | Reply

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