Tuesday, October 04, 2005

The Decline and Fall of Herbie Hancock

I was in Starbucks the other day. I don't go in there real often, but when I do I always look and see what kind of music they are offering for sale. I find this interesting because they are essentially offering a soundtrack to the lives of yuppies who see music as wallpaper.

Today, I was saddened but not shocked to see a CD of Herbie Hancock playing with special guests. Now it's been at least 20 years since Hancock has done any music that can be considered vital. Most of it is fairly dispensable though not really bad. In any case, its mostly less urgent and interesting versions of the same kind of music that he was making as far back as the mid 1960s. This doesn't bother me so much because it is really hard for artists to keep up the intensity and creativity in their music for a lifetime. The duet CDs are a really bad sign for these artists. This is when you know that it is really over and there vitality is never coming back. And this CD had many of the kind of usual suspects that you would expect on such a CD. You know, Hancock playing with Sting, Paul Simon, etc.

What really got me about this CD was a duet with Herbie Hancock and Christiana Aguilera. Are there any circumstances where I would want to listen to a duet between these two? The answer is no. I shudder at the thought of this. And I wonder what the Herbie Hancock of 1970 would think of this. Somehow I think he'd be as disappointed as I am.