Amazing, Awesome, Incredible

I don’t normally post about shows like The Voice, but trilby-wearing, elf-faced Josh Kaufman blew me away last night. And, no, he’s not hot. He’s just good.

A few notes into George Michael’s “One More Try,” Adam Levine turned his big red chair around in approval. Indiana native Josh was already nailing it. The truth is it’s hard for me to think of any song off that 1988 Faith cassette without picturing the former Wham! frontman in his ripped jeans and scruffy five o’clock shadow, shaking his rump and pretending to be into Asian women.  It’s often hard to separate the artist from the song.

It’s kind of like how every December, the radio stations and department stores put George Michael’s “Last Christmas” on high rotation, and I can’t enjoy it as a holiday song, because I keep picturing him in public toilets, soliciting sex from policemen and being foolish enough to get caught. Kind of ruins the whole Christmas spirit.

So for Josh Kaufman to be able to belt the song out in a new and soulful way, devoid of all that Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou baggage, was refreshing. Once you’re sick of a song, you’re usually sick of it forever. I’m talking to you, “Red Red Wine.” But Josh infused this ballad with new life.

As he continued to sing it, I feared he wouldn’t be able to hit the money note, “Hold you, touch YOU-OOOOO,” but he did. In spades.

Adam Levine’s comment to Josh once he finished: “Damn.”

Agreed.

17 thoughts on “Amazing, Awesome, Incredible

  1. “It’s often hard to separate the artist from the song.” So true! Completely agree with your Last Christmas analysis–lol, that’s exactly what the song means to me as well. And a step further (or back, really) is Careless Whisper. Am opening myself up for much ridicule here, but my best friend and I, when we were 12ish, used to dance to this song in her basement with our imaginary boyfriends. (We weren’t dancing with each other, no not that.) And so that’s part of my George Michael connection. And then came the naughty-boy stuff. Though did see a biography channel special on him once that vindicated him slightly. Just a confused young man pressured by too much fame. What else was he to do? Same question asked for Paul Pee-Wee Reubens. Here’s to the crazy and confused decade that was the ’80s. *Liz raises a glass of Jim Dandy Beam in toast*

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  2. I like that image of the basement, very sweet. I never understood the Pee Wee thing, either. Isn’t that what men do in those adult theatres? Isn’t that the point? Are they supposed to sit and applaud the plot twists? Nice wordplay, Liz. I will raise a glass of Jim Dandy Beam as well.

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  3. “are they supposed to sit and applaud the plot twists?” Ha ha ha ha ha ha!! Fantastic!! That comment of yours has compelled me to post (I never post).

    By the way George Michael remains an uber megastar in Europe, Australia, Asia and Middle East. His 2008/9 Australian tour coincided with the late Ms Houston’s tour and while she got ripped by the auzzie press George was applauded. He also sold out bigger stadiums than her (yes stadiums and not arenas).

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    1. I suppose if he’s still got it, he should work it. And if anyone knows how to work it, it’s George. I’m sure he’s doing a better job than last night’s talk show with Boy George…

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      1. Well the British tabloids (I’m British) have all had GM on their front pages yesterday. They have just found out that last Thursday he was rushed to hospital! I think that sums up his mega status in the UK. Even though he was rushed to hospital a week ago – upon finding out the press are putting it as their main headline.

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      2. That is so odd bc here (not to be mean), he is forever that Faith poster boy, shaking his bum. Or in Wham! wearing day-glo shorts with Andrew Ridgeley. What happened to him? George is mostly a relic from the 80s, like most bands from the 80s. He doesn’t get much press here. Madonna, however, is fortunate that the press talks trash about her and her fake British accent all the time. Isn’t there someone younger and more relevant to take up the front page? I’m ignorant, so I’m asking. Why is he still a tabloid darling? It’s his good hair, isn’t it?

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      3. LOL! Well his still a darling because even though he isn’t prolific (lazy bastard) and releases an album once in 10 years (that’s the gap between his last album, Patience in 2004 and his new album Symphonica 2014) they still top the British and European charts. He went on tour in 2006 after a gap of 17 odd years and all European tickets sold out (1.5 million tickets) in about an hour. In fact all of George’s solo albums (7 in total over almost 30 years – told u he was lazy) except one have topped the British albums chart. Only his Covers album – Songs from the last century peaked at number 2 behind Shania Twains all conquering Come On Over album.

        In England he is ranked with Madonna, Michael Jackson and Prince. He was (is) always considered a bigger star than the other two collossal 80’s pop icons – Whitney and Janet Jackson. In fact he is considered as one of the top three major male popstars (the other two being Michael Jackson and Prince) from the 80’s and viewed equally in terms of legendary and iconic status. Although Prince is respected as probably one of the greatest musicians of all time – I would say George is considered the bigger star in Europe and Asia.

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      4. This is blowing my mind. Even with all the scandals? Michael is the King of Pop here, but as soon as there were pedophilia charges, his stock plummeted, and that will be forever associated with him. Sad thing. Prince also went batship looney, changing his name to a symbol, but he reeled back the crazy and at least maintains his throne, as someone named Prince should. You know that–you have royals. 🙂

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  4. Remember George’s career in the USA dwindled partly because he himself wanted to reduce his star. After the Faith era he decided he didn’t want to be a huge star – he wanted to be less of a star and more of a songwriter. I think his sexuality also played a part. He became paranoid that his huge profile would make it difficult to stay in the closet (which he would have done had he not been caught soliticing sex from an undercover cop). Don’t you remember all that crap about him not wanting to do any interviews, promotion or tours for his follow up album (Listen without Prejuidice). He even decided he wouldn’t appear in his own videos. He ended up getting the worlds top five models (christy, cindy, Linda, Naomi and Tatjana) in his Freedom 91 video (and that become the advent/zeitgeist of The Supermodels). This all led to a mighty court case between him and his record label Sony (Mariah Careys husband Tommy Mottola was the head of Sony records at the time). There was huge media coverage of this – as it was the first time a major recording artist was challenging his records label. Ultimately GM lost the case and £7 million pounds and about 4/5 years out of his recording career. By the time he came back – willing to promote and appear in his video – he became bigger than ever in Europe (his comeback album Older was Virgin records biggest ever seller at the time). The album became a USA top ten and had two billboard top ten singles – but GM wasn’t willing to do the heavy promotion required to push the album to greater success in America. I think he became used to achieving huge success in Europe and rest of the world without little or no promotion – that he couldn’t be bothered to go the extra mile for a few extra million sales.
    You got to understand by this time he had become a very wealthy and famous man – through Wham and his solo records (he writes and produces all his music so his royalty cheque is huge – carless whisper and Last Christmas alone ensure a healthy retirement fund) – I don’t think America mattered to him from a financial point of view. America bothered him from an ego perspective – but as he had said in a few interviews, he was happy to have a smaller American profile – it allowed him to have a place where he could be left alone whilst if he needed his ego stroked he could come to Europe – where no matter where he went he was ranked as uber A list megastar.

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    1. Wow. You know a lot. You could write a book. It’s true that I do hear “Last Christmas” nonstop every holiday season, so he’ll be a rich man to his dying day. And you’ve just reminded me how much I did like that video when it came out, with the supermodels in their oversized sweaters.

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