Recent viewings of American Idol and Glee have proven my point: Carole King is one heck of an effective songwriter.
Her name was Tara Honda, and the song was “I Feel the Earth Move.” And I’m sitting in my little futon going all RIGHT. She nailed it.
And in a moment I realized WHY she nailed it.
She didn’t transpose.
She sang it in the exact same key where King wrote it. And, I started sitting here in my little apartment transposing it myself. And I realized something about this song.
It doesn’t work anywhere else.
Nowhere. You can’t move the key. The song sucks anywhere else but there. Try it. Or, just go watch Glee from Jan. 16, “Jagged Little Tapestry,” where the kids mash up songs from Alanis Morrisette and, well, you know.
When you mash up, often you have to…yes…transpose. Which they did for this song. And guess what?
It’s just flat. Where she sings it, there’s a brightness, but a bittersweet quality, not to mention a little kickass.
In any other key, that’s all a poof of smoke.
That’s how brilliant a songwriter she is, Gilmore girls theme notwithstanding. She wrote a song that cannot be transposed.
Epilogue: Tara Honda went home tonight. Sad. You have a fan here, Tara. Nice going.