Thursday, October 27, 2005

Lindsay Lohan and the Singer/Songwriter Conundrum

Lindsay Lohan has just released the video she directed for her new song, the overwrought "Confessions of a Broken Heart (Daughter to Father)."

Now, I love me some Lohan, but even my intrinsic faith in LL couldn't disguise the fact that "Confessions of a Broken Heart" sucks as bad as its excessively explanatory title. It's about what a crappy relationship Linds has with her angry, absentee father and how this has broken her heart. Fair enough, but both the song and the video are a poor man's version of "Family Portrait," Pink's angsty troubled-family song of a couple of years ago.

Compare the lyrics:

I am crying, a part of me is dying and
These are, these are
The confessions of a broken heart

(Lindsay)

vs.:

You fight about money, bout me and my brother
And this I come home to,
this is my shelter
(Pink).

Lindsay, dear: Show, don't tell! And also please don't rhyme "crying" and "dying" ever again.

However, my point is not to trashy La Lohan (especially on a day when she seems to have quasi-admitted that she had an eating disorder earlier this year: Please take care of yourself, sweetpea!) No, I blame Society. "Confessions of a Broken Heart" and its video are illustrative of the fact that we, as a culture, encourage artists who are very good at one thing--acting, singing--to expand into related but dissimilar activities--directing, songwriting--at which there is no reason to think they will be any good. Because this pressure disproportionately afflicts singers, who are considered kind of fraudulent if they don't write their own songs, I dub it the Singer/Songwriter Conundrum.

Of course, there are good singer/songwriters (Dylan, Dolly Parton) and actor/directors (Clint Eastwood), but this should not be seen as the norm, but rather as a random aberration, like the fact that Geena Davis is skilled at archery. The assumption that those who sing should be able to write songs is like the idea that a baseball player should know how to construct a baseball from its constituent parts.

So back to my darling Lindsay. Darling Lindsay! You're a great actress! You seem to be able to sing fairly well! This is great! Why do you need to emulate Bob Dylan? Just do what you do and we'll love you for it. And have a sandwich.

4 comments:

Andrea said...

She sort of looks like Charo in that picture. Only in flaming Chuck Taylors, like the guy who was recently fired from our mailroom at my office.

L said...

That's a great analogy!

catherine todd said...

How can you possibly make light of what this young girl has obviously gone through, and her expression of the pain it has caused her?

If you haven't lived it, then you don't know what is "overwrought" or not. Why would you criticize someone who is already in pain? You don't think she hurts enough already?

Aahhh, that's it. Must be.

You say you are "a do-gooder with the heart of a misanthrope..."

Unfortunately, this may actually be true. I cannot tell you how disappointed I am to see a grown woman putting down a young girl. For what? Did it make you feel better? Ahhh, now I get it.

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