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I love vocal harmony. From the 1920s to right now. Traditional pop, doo-wop, gospel. The Ink Spots, Four Seasons, Beach Boys, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and TLC.
When I turn on the TV I jump restlessly from channel to channel. A few years ago I was doing too much of this. Sometimes I'd hit MTV. Normally I wouldn't linger unless there was an exceptionally pretty face or a new episode of Daria.
Sometimes I'd linger to listen to a song. I'm forever grateful to MTV for introducing me to Terrence Trent d'Arby. His voice, clearly of the quality of the best R&B singers, won me instantly.
Other artists would creep through my mass-culture blocking force field more insidiously. I'd stop and listen several times before I realized that I was doing so because -- horrors! -- I liked the music.
"Red Light Special" from TLC's Crazysexycool for example. As was another cut from the same disc, Waterfalls. When I caught myself listening to Creep I had to admit to myself that I really liked their music.
So for the first time since David Bowie's Space Oddity I bought a charting album.
The barrier broken I later bought En Vogue's Funky Divas. And took home a Boys II Men CD that came into the shop.
Lots of this stuff depends on the producers. Dallas Austin produced Crazysexycool. And he produced the only Boys II Men cuts that I like. (Pity, they are really fine singers but much of their music is so sappy it'd gag a greeting card writer.) Foster & McElroy's FM2 sounds much like the work they produced for Funky Divas.
My TV mostly lies dormant and I don't listen to the radio. I don't know what is popular right now. I imagine N'Sync still stalks the land Britney is stirring in boys what bimbos are paid to stir.
Just a few things that passed through my mind when I learned of Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes' death.