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March 17, 2011


Levi Stahl

Frank does a beautiful version, too. What I love about the song is how closely it hews to its central conceit: it's a paper moon, hanging in a canvas sky over a cardboard sea and a muslin tree. And the rhythm and sound of "Just as phony as it can be" is wonderful--but if you ever try singing it, you gain an instant appreciation of people who can sing with feeling--again, I'm thinking of Frank's version here--the odd little rise and fall of the melody there (there's an unexpected sharp there, thinks my only half-capable piano-playing brain) is tough to do even if you're just singing; add in an effort to convey the feeling and meaning of the line and it become brutally difficult. It's one I'll never master no matter how many decade of singing in the shower I'm allotted.

Oh, how I love that song. (Side note: if you're into moons right now, you should check out a book I'm currently doing publicity for in my day job, James Attlee's Nocturne: A Journey in Search of Moonlight. He wanders the globe looking for unadulterated moonlight--which is unexpectedly hard to find--and reflecting on the place of the moon in our literature and culture over centuries. It's one of my favorite books this season, and would be even if I weren't being paid to sing its praises.)


Now you've got me singing, Levi.

And thanks for the heads-up on the Attlee book -- I think I saw Lauren Cerand mention it on facebook and I was curious. I will definitely look for it.

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