Interesting, Shawn. In about 1969, the Temptations put out an album titled, “In the Ghetto,” which, as I have written, marked the first big step on the downward trend of American R & B — specifically because the songs did not have chord changes; they were chants. One step more, and you get rap and hip-hip. As I have also written, it’s a long, long fall from Duke Ellington to Snoop Doggy Dogg.
I will write a column soon about The American Anthem project, which you hear touted by Bonnie Raitt in radio PSAs. The aim apparently is to get America’s children singing, but, as I read the website, it’s hard to see how they’re going to do that. My own experience with children is that they don’t know how to carry a tune. Instead of singing, they simply beller. My younger son thinks the Pledge of Allegiance is a song. Hey, it’s kind of rhythmic, and you memorize the words, right?
Those “runs” are called “melisma,” by the way, and yes, modern singers use way too many of them. (So did the castrati, who were criticized for pushing the bel canto movement too far, though the comparison is inapt.) I agree with Mr. Salerno for all the reasons he gives. Modern singing is rotten. And that is the fault of too much of the superficial influences of black singing.
Is it racist to say there is such a thing as black singing? Better not be.