Tuesday, August 12, 2014

A Song to Combat the Sadness Brought on by Robin Williams' Death

Posted by on Tue, Aug 12, 2014 at 3:27 PM

Robin Williams’ suicide affected me more strongly than I thought it would. Maybe it did the same to you. Perhaps anyone who’s had his/her own battles with depression can relate all too well to this celebrity death. Not to be too dramatic about this, but Williams’ premature passing did nudge me into a quagmire of doubt about, well, everything.

In such times, music can console better than most art forms. And while in this funk, my mind latched in desperation onto a song by Dolly Parton called “Gettin’ Happy,” off Light in the Attic’s recently released compilation Country Funk II (reviewed here). It’s a rather atypical Parton number, bolstered by jittery, funky breakbeats and a chorus that sounds like Appalachian gospel. (And, hey, a quick Google search reveals that Dolly's sister Stella has an album called Appalachian Gospel. Learn something new...)

Back to "Gettin' Happy": God damn, Dolly sings the heaven out of this tune. To say this is uplifting is to say Robin Williams was funny. File next to the Edwin Hawkins Singers’ “Oh Happy Day”—and try to cheer the fuck up.


Comments (5) RSS

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seatackled 1
I kind of was hoping to get something by Nirvana or even Michael Jackson.

RIP to all.
Posted by seatackled on August 12, 2014 at 4:13 PM · Report this
rob! 2
That was a great performance, and a song I'd never heard before. Thanks.

Several times today I've watched "Friend Like Me" from Aladdin because it's a perfect visualization of Williams's mental pyrotechnics. The late Howard Ashman and the animators must have had a blast reworking the song after Williams was cast in the voice role, and surely Williams himself participated in pitching ideas for actions to match the lyrics.
Posted by rob! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZBdUceCL5U on August 12, 2014 at 9:34 PM · Report this
stirwise 3
Saw that it was Dolly and hoped you'd picked My Blue Tears, but then I always have been prone to wallowing.
Posted by stirwise on August 12, 2014 at 9:42 PM · Report this
seattleeco 4
I hear you, David. Hugs from someone else who knows that side of life.
Posted by seattleeco on August 12, 2014 at 9:57 PM · Report this
Estey 5
Thanks, Dave. Perfect choice. Yeah, we're close to the same age and you probably remember when Robin Williams seemed like "one of us," a living fanzine of spastic pop culture riffs mixed with an intense, lovable vulnerability. (He was the original comedy mixtape.) I don't have anything to do with Country Funk ll release, but a certain City Arts senior editor played it for me in his car as he gave me a ride home from the Wheedle's Groove Volume ll event a few weeks back, and I fell in love with it (as many of us have). This was one of the reasons. Deep respect, and mutual personal-cultural condolences.
Posted by Estey on August 13, 2014 at 8:56 AM · Report this

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