Results tagged “Through The Fire” from ARTicles

Ummm, would it have been too much trouble for the esteemed judges of American Idol to mention the original Chaka Khan recording of "Through The Fire" after Siobhan Magnus attempted it last night?

Magnus obviously studied Khan's version, which is a technical tour de force of daredevil ad-libs and perfectly nailed upper-stratosphere high notes. (It should be noted that the tune, the second single from Khan's breakthrough I Feel For You album, was released in 1984, well before the advent of digital pitch correction.) The judges knew the song as well, and that knowledge inevitably factored into their reactions: Simon Cowell described her treatment of the demanding ballad as "manslaughter."

I'm not saying that Idol's mission should be educating its contestants (or its audience) about what singing is. But given the overall wretchedness of this year's field, a few breadcrumbs sure couldn't hurt. And Khan is exactly the kind of singer Magnus and other boot-wearing belters could use as a role model. Check out the way Khan handles the tumultuous climax of "Through The Fire": The tune seems to practically demand that the singer let loose, and yet Khan doesn't simply open the floodgates -- instead, she carves up the melody ten different awe-inspiring ways. She's as emotionally invested as Adam Lambert has ever been about any TV appearance, and somehow manages to convey this without shrieking or shouting. Instead, she sings. What a concept.

March 31, 2010 7:00 AM |


Creative Commons License
This weblog is licensed under a Creative Commons License.


    ARTicles ARTicles is a project of 
    the National Arts Journalism Program, an association of some 500 journalists in the United States. Our group blog is a place for arts and cultural journalists to share ideas and information, to celebrate what we do, and to make the case for its continuing value.

    ARTicles Bloggers Meet our bloggers: Sasha Anawalt, MJ Andersen, Alicia Anstead, Laura Bleiberg, Larry Blumenfeld, Jeanne Carstensen, Robert Christgau, Laura Collins-Hughes, Thomas Conner, Lily Tung Crystal, Richard Goldstein, Patti Hartigan, Glenn Kenny, Wendy Lesser, Ruth Lopez, Nancy Malitz, Douglas McLennan, Tom Moon, Abe Peck, Peter Plagens, John Rockwell, Werner Trieschmann, Lesley Valdes and Douglas Wolk. more

    NAJP NAJP is America's largest organization dedicated to the advancement of arts and cultural journalism. The NAJP has produced research, publications and discussions and works to bring together journalists, artists, news executives, cultural organization administrators, funders and others concerned with arts and culture in America today. more

    Join NAJP Join America's largest organization of arts journalists. Here's how more

see all archives