Music Is Immune to Parody
Review of Tim Minchin, by Stefan Stenudd
No matter how much you try to make fun of it, the music takes over and what we hear at the end is a song we like or not, regardless of its aim. Not even exaggeration works – it's just more of what we do or don't like. The parody is lost.
In this aspect, Tim Minchin reminds me a lot of Frank Zappa. His concerts were filled with parodical songs, making fun of several musical genres. It all turned into music, mostly very pleasant, inspiring, and intriguing, independently of the satirical ingredient.
Here's an example of Frank Zappa's musical ironies, making obvious fun of several genres in a single song:
Well, Frank Zappa was quite aware of it, so he allowed his songs to evolve into a festive meal of music, shown in the above song by his own guitar solo. This was more the rule than the exception with Frank Zappa. Even songs that started as the most poisonous satire grew into celebrations of the power and joy of music. He was probably completely aware of the golden rule: music's immunity to parody.
Another example from past years is the band Dr. Hook & The Medicine Show, having several hits with songs that were ironic to say the least. Still, a vast audience took them to their hearts. It must have surprised the band.
A flagrant example of parody failing is Sylvia's Mother, which was drenched in honey but still became a hit and inspired numerous sincere tears all over the world. In this version the band has sort of given in to that fact:
November 29, 2011
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I'm a Swedish author of fiction and non-fiction books in both Swedish and English. I'm also an artist, an historian of ideas and a 7 dan Aikikai Shihan aikido instructor. Click the header to read my full bio.