“Hey Daddy, what is this song saying?”
“I don’t know, Javier. It sounds nice, but I don’t think I’ve ever actually listened to the words.”
“I don’t like this song.”
“Is it saying something bad?” I asked, thinking perhaps he had picked up on some offensive lyrics or something.
“No, it’s just that this guy’s voice is weird. It sounds like he doesn’t have good breath control.”
I laughed. “Javier, you would know better than I. Your choir training makes you a subject matter expert.”
“But I think he is singing that way on purpose. I don’t think he can’t sing well, it’s just that he is going for the effect.”
“Well, it sounds bad. I don’t like it.”
I explained that perhaps his affected style was to convey an intimacy with the audience, a lack of polish to engage, to not set himself apart from those appreciating the song. It wasn’t a beautiful performance, I agreed, but there was something I liked about it. It hit me like a slow jam around the camp fire with friends. It did bring me in close and didn’t chase me away with vocal acrobatics.
“So Javier, you’re right, probably, but it’s hard to say who is right and wrong when it’s a question of why a person likes a song or not. Your opinion is probably as valid as mine. I like the song. You don’t. Who is wrong? Sometimes that’s the problem when people argue about things like this. We’re having a good discussion, but just saying it’s bad, probably isn’t the best way to talk about it.”
Javier furrowed his brow. I could see that he was calculating a response. He always pauses before he says something profound.
“Daddy, this guy is doing a good job of singing badly.”