All the world’s a studio

The song produced by Phil Spector is the pop song as authentic concoction.

It is not emotional or sincere, it does not represent a slice of life, as did its immediate predecessors, the songs by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. It is just genuinely artificial.

We notice its authentic artificiality from the start:  The very first thing we hear is the studio itself.  As soon as the song starts, above all it is the studio performing (as opposed to the band playing or the singer singing).  The orchestra too is a studio orchestra (there are no such orchestras outside the studio).  Multiple layering, reverb, and echo intensify the sense of a closed yet expansive space.

The topic of the song is always desire as affect, not emotion.  There is no subject speaking and there is no singer for the listener to identify with. The topic is desire as an affect that gradually feels embodied while it is enhanced and embellished into a full-bodied love song where rhythm prevails over melody.

This love song gives affect an intense theatricality as the studio turns into a stage.  There is no story telling, no development of a feeling or situation.  There is only a three-minute surge of pure desire into performed (rather than confessed) sentimentalism.

In the Spector studio, a pop song is given a Wagnerian climactic treatment as the music soars toward a choral crescendo, and a Schubertian simple tune explodes into a Mahlerian march.

28 January 2021

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