Tuesday, September 15, 2009

No One Is Alone

Every now and again the universe turns around and kicks you in the teeth for no apparent reason. Take this weekend. I received some pretty devastating news, passed out in the backstreets of Darlinghurst and took out my frustration on someone who really didn't deserve it. Seriously, there's enough egg on my face at the moment to whip up a family sized omelet. At times like this, I recommend grabbing the nearest bottle of liquor and listening to your favourite soothing song. I'm not particularly selective when it comes to alcohol but there's only one tune that calms me down when everything turns to shit. "No One Is Alone" has seen me through the death of a loved one, more break-ups than I care to remember and the general bullshit that goes along with being a 21st century poofter.

"No One Is Alone" originates from Stephen Sondheim's brilliant musical Into The Woods but don't make the mistake of lumping it (or anything else composed by Sondheim for that matter) with other showtunes. The song is dark and disconcertingly honest - yet ultimately beautiful and reassuring. I don't think anyone writes with more perception into the human condition than Stephen Sondheim and, in my opinion, this ranks as his greatest work alongside "Johanna", "Being Alive" and "Not A Day Goes By". Over the years "No One Is Alone" has become closely associated with the divine Bernadette Peters, who contrary to popular belief didn't perform the song in the original 1987 Broadway production. However, I simply can't stand the thought of anyone else singing it. Bernadette doesn't just deliver the lyrics, she acts out every line with her beautiful voice. One of these days I'll dedicate a proper post to Bernadette because I firmly believe she is one of the greatest singers to ever pick up a microphone. Just watch this amazing live performance (below) for proof. I know this kind of music isn't popular with most people under the age of 65 but I can't imagine life without it.

8 comments:

Jeroen said...

You know I love it, Mike. Both song and singer.

Jamie_movietrip said...

Fabulous! I knew Bernadette was a singer, but I have to admit I'd only seen her in Slave of New York which she was fab in, despite the shittyness of the movie overall. I will have to get a few of her songs, this was fab!

Hidroboy said...

One of my closest friends is a huge fan of musicals, so I knew Bernadette and I totally agree with you: she's a superb singer.
I didn't knew the song, though. It's so touching... and that moment when Bernadette is looking at the camera and singing, it's just like if she's talking directly to you.
What a voice!!

John said...

Beautiful. Now if you actually believe it, then the song really is a triumph. Hope things look up for you.

Anonymous said...

This is the classiest thing to ever appear on your blog. How is it even possible to go from the sublime (Bernadette) to the utterly ridiculous (La Toya)?

tommie said...

Ah, you gotta love Bernadette's ridiculous talking voice in contrast to her beautiful singing voice.

Bernie_Fan said...

Mike, do you have her 80s pop albums?

PS cheer up! The world feels off axis when ur sad!

Mike said...

Jamie - you definitely need to explore her music. I think you'd love her as much as I do.

And Bernie_Fan, I only really know "Gee Whiz" from her period as a failed pop star. I recently ordered her debut (counting down the days until it arrives!) but I can't find 1981's "Now Playing" anywhere.