Roundtable Talk: “Falsetto”

“Put the false in falsetto
Let your voice go gentle into this good night
The further up it goes the faster it can fall in line
You entertainers need to keep the entertainment light.

Artist: Chris Thile
Song: “Falsetto”
Album: Thanks for Listening
Year: 2017

Song Meaning

Art should be seen and not heard.

A Song that Gives Zero Folks

How can a certain administration tell artists to stay out of politics when they make songs this entertaining?

Look, I don’t care how you align yourself, this is a great song. It’s observational, poignant and lean. Written a couple weeks after “Froggy” took office, that short period felt as if years had elapsed. And the best way to combat worrisome start to a four-year run is with some good clean fun. This song is such a delight, I am renewed in its lack of offense.

I get we’re in unreasonable times where literally anything posted on the Internet is kindling for irrational commentators. But even without taking sides, with the past year’s events presented as they are, this country is objectively ridiculous. As in, like, this is not normal. The middle ground is, like, no longer an argumentative basis! The proposed solution to reduce gun violence is to, like, increase the amount of guns! It’s wacko out there.

That’s why we need art. Art gives meaning to the incomprehensible. But the thought that entertainment and art should be “tame” or that athletes should “shut up and dribble,” I mean, where’s the fun in that?

OK, OK. Let’s not get preachy here, so just enjoy the song (or don’t!) and appreciate art for what it is: a reflection.

Random Notes

  • Chris Thile and co. write original songs for each episode of Live from Here (formerly Prairie Home Companion). Given the quality of those songs in such a small turnaround time, they deserve any and all accolades.
  • “Froggy Went a-Courtin,” POTUS tweets and Roger Federer references stuffed in one song. Genius is best presented when it intertwines upon itself.
  • Credit goes to my wife for introducing me to the depths of Chris Thile, mandolin virtuoso and eternal wunderkind of song. His broken mandolin string has more talent than the top 40 combined.
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