I’m busy watching the Royal Variety Performance, and one of my bug-bears has reared its ugly head: The trans-sexual song. You know, one of those songs popularised by a person of one gender… yet performed by a person of another gender. And rather than simply sing the song as was written, they take the decision to swap the words around so they don’t sound, y’know, gay or something.
Sometimes, it’s fine. For example, ‘The Power of Love‘ is a serial trans-sexual, and “You are my lad-ee, and I am your man” does not sound so unnatural next to its opposite (“I am your lady, and you are my man,” which I assume is the original).
At other times, however, the sex-change makes a mockery of the song and its lyrics. In tonight’s gala, young crooners Teatro gave a harmonised rendition of ‘I Dreamed A Dream’ from Boubil and Schonberg’s private mint, Les Miserables. But, the song was given a sex change, and such poignant lines such as “he slept a summer by my side” and “he was gone when autumn came” were emasculated. Since the song is about stolen innocence, broken trust and the crushed dreams of a teenaged girl, the emotional intensity of the song was dropped into the surgeon’s waste bin along with its gonads.
Its irritating that these guys are making a living by taking this kind of liberty, and calling it art. I would rather they kept to the original lyrics, and made a stab at trying to convey the original emotions. Voice and music are powerful enough to communicate such things, regardless the gender of the person singing.
Indeed, a quick Google search suggests that apparently singer Michael Ball, who was in the original cast of Les Miserables, sang the same song without feeling the need to change any lyrics. Interestingly, he was also a part of the same Royal Variety Performance, dressed in drag for a role in his new show, Hairspray. Clearly, Michael doesn’t feel the need to keep reminding everyone he has balls.