Pages

Monday, December 14, 2009

Musical Interlude - Robert Downey Jr.

Yes, you read that title correctly. Robert Downey Jr. sings - and he's actually pretty good. Don't get me wrong, it's not like he's going to give Bono a run for his money or anything, but he has a nice bluesy jazzy voice and knows how to use it without overdoing it or trying to reach beyond his abilities. He released an album called The Futurist in November of 2004, on which he wrote all but two songs himself.

In keeping with Christmas music for the month of December, I thought I'd include Downey's version of "River", a song originally written and performed by Joni Mitchell. I will shamefully admit that I watched Alley McBeal when it was on TV, but only to see the episodes that included Robert Downey Jr. He's a wonderful actor and I may not have liked this show, but his character was very interesting and entertaining. It was on the Christmas episode of the show that he sang this song and I was instantly mystified and a little surprised.

Depending on your holiday sensibilities, this song might not sit well with you. It's a little dark, and a little sad, but I find it to be hauntingly beautiful. And we must admit, the holidays can be a very blue time of year for many people - you're missing your loved ones who are either out of state, or have passed on, or you might have just gone through a bad break-up and are having to spend the holidays alone (as is the narrator of this song). I can relate to that sadness, which is felt even deeper because of the contrast, while everything around you is twinkling lights and cheery faces, all telling you to be merry.

Sorry to bring the room down! I promise we'll be back to happy Christmas music next week. Until then, if you'd like to sample another song from Downey, check out his cover of "Smile", a song originally written, appropriately enough, by Charlie Chaplin.




River
Lyrics by Joni Mitchell

It's coming on Christmas
They're cutting down trees
They're putting up reindeer
And singing songs of joy and peace
Oh I wish I had a river
I could skate away on

But it don't snow here
It stays pretty green
I'm going to make a lot of money
Then I'm going to quit this crazy scene

I wish I had a river
I could skate away on
I wish I had a river so long
I would teach my feet to fly
Oh I wish I had a river
I could skate away on
I made my baby cry

He tried hard to help me
You know, he put me at ease
And he loved me so naughty
Made me weak in the knees
Oh I wish I had a river
I could skate away on

I'm so hard to handle
I'm selfish and I'm sad
Now I've gone and lost the best baby
That I ever had

Oh I wish I had a river
I could skate away on
I wish I had a river so long
I would teach my feet to fly
Oh I wish I had a river
I could skate away on
I made my baby say goodbye

It's coming on Christmas
They're cutting down trees
They're putting up reindeer
And singing songs of joy and peace
I wish I had a river
I could skate away on

1 comment:

Laura said...

The first time I heard this song was on the "mix tape" you made for us for our 20 hour road trip last Christmas... I, too, was amazed the Mr Downey could pull off such emotion in a song. But I suppose that should have been no surprise as he is a superb actor.