the thing that gets me about vienna teng’s music is its imperfection.

she has a glorious voice but that’s not the first thing you think of it. it doesn’t sound particularly special, she doesn’t engage in vocal pyrotechnics, it’s not something you’d describe as “lush” or “colorful” or something but that’s just it, the beauty is in its seeming ordinariness. especially in her latest album. she’s very personal, whispering, musing.

the voice: “we will know that the fate of one is the fate of all” is very !!!!, and then she chokes on her “and” in the next line, hushing down “and we will be as one god” and it fades away into trembly soprano. i can understand the reduction in volume and in force because it becomes only the harmony but it makes me feel angry or something. which is totally irrational and it’s anger and not sadness or something because i know she could blow us all away. and the way she chokes on “carry me down” … i just wish she did those four lines more full-throated or something… and same for “i am a constant satellite,” it feels like she gave up right at the height of everything. i mean i know you can’t be at !!!!!!-emotional level all the time because then it’ll be just normal instead of !!!!! when the !!!!! happens, but i always want more. but isn’t that always the case? i measure everything in opportunity cost. and i don’t know why i take her singing so personally. i know i make no sense. maybe i listen because it’s the feeling of wanting more that i seek.

and then lyrics. sometimes there’s complete disregard for rhythm and scanning, syllables all jumbled together, and then other times it’s as natural as talking, which i guess is the whole point and i’m saying that two things which are different are the same. some of the lyrics are just… “to carve us as instruments/ that play the music of life” ? what? i object because it just sounds dumb (why? because it’s too “obvious” ?), especially at such a climactic moment of this song, but then she goes and kills you with “for we don’t realize/ our faith in the prize/ unless it’s been somehow elusive” and it’s unbelievably perfect.

reading over this entry i realize it seems really negative. that’s not how i feel at all. i absolutely adore vienna teng’s music.

1 comment

  1. She was playing in Boulder tonight, actually. I thought about going, but I only found out about it this afternoon, and I really didn’t feel like going out there. Perhaps next time!

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