What The Songwriting World Needs Now

Burt Bacharach‘s music has resonated through every generation and genre since he first started composing hit songs more than a half-century ago. His memorable and distinctive music, along with the words of his longtime collaborator, lyricist Hal David, gets a focused celebration six nights each week at the New York Theater Workshop, through “What’s It All About?—Bacharach Reimagined” (which has been extended through Feb. 15th.)
I’ve not yet seen the show, but Charles Isherwood, writing in The New York Times, assures that it isn’t “another jukebox musical manufactured to supply baby boomers with a sweet rush of synthetic nostalgia.” Instead, Isherwood writes, “the musical reinvigorates the staged-songbook genre by stripping familiar pop songs of their shiny veneer, and by digging into the melancholy and yearning that suffuses so many of the hits Mr. Bacharach wrote.”
Aside from his compositions and David’s lyrics, Bacharach’s own words commanded attention recently, lending a different sort of context to his catalog of hits on the Opinion page of The Wall Street Journal. In an essay titled “What The Songwriting World Needs Now,” he implored the U.S. Justice Department to revise the consent decrees that govern licenses (and therefore, pay, for composers, lyricists and musicians) in order to align with a digital world that, under the current scheme, amounts to a badly rigged game (with artists coming out the losers). Bacharach began by describing his humble beginnings: Continue reading “What The Songwriting World Needs Now”