Why is this guy so famous? He's the Tom Waits of Opera. If Tom Waits is weird music for normal people, Pavarotti is opera for Tom Waits. Caruso, Callas and Bjorlings cough up and wipe little, mucus-bleeding asymmetrical Pavarotti's onto stagehands in between set changes.
Why do people like him so much? He's Tom Waits, in that he's so popular. If Tom Waits is weird music for normal people, Pavarotti is opera for for those with Kenny G CDs. Your Carusos, Callases and Rosa Pensalles have shat out little asymmetrical turds that could sing opera better than Luciano. Or should I say, Loser-iano.
Why is this guy so famous? He's like Tom Waits--universally lauded in the mainstream, when the people doing the real stuff stay on the margins. Tom Waits is a marginal talent; people send him their CDRs of shit and he just copies what these weirdos do. Maybe that makes him a genius in the Andy Warhol vein. But compared to Luciano Pavarotti, he's a nobody. And that's what Tom Waits would like you to think; I'm Tom Waits and I'm just a nobody singing my weirdo faux-hobo boho oboe. Yes you can polish a turd, and that turd's name is "Nobody" Waits. But his name is also Luciano Pavarotti. Rotting sewage. But perhaps I'm being a little harsh. But in the glare of the mind-bleeding talents--your Carusos, your Callases, your Melchiors--it's just impossible to consider Pavarottie as anything but pure garbage. Shellac for the soul.
I bet Tom Waits listens to Pavarotti to learn how to sing. That I believe. But I don't know why anyone else would listen to either of them. I understand that they both have pipes. For a fake-weird man, Tom Waits gots pipes. And for a man who fills opera houses, maybe Pavarotti's got the greatest pipes of all. But they are both so awful--it seems to me that only true weirdos would listen to either of them. Not weird people, but people with weird souls. Pavarotti and Tom Waits are music for normal people with weird souls. And your real talents, your Carusos, your Callases, your Beniamino Giglis, your Giovanni Martinellis, your what have you's, that's for people with normal souls. Not normal souls, but...well for the real people. You know, what Keats talked about when he talked about the only real things being clouds and lines of Shakespeare. The real things are the things that deranged weirdos (asymmetrical beings with symmetrical souls) who send things to Tom Waits (who turns the asymmetrical artifacts symmetrical); and then Tom Waits re-interprets the things he hears on the CDRs that weirdos have sent him the same way Pat Boone reinterpreted Little Richard, or Keith Richards reinterpreted the blues. But I believe Keith Richard and Pat Boone. I think they believe in what they do. They can't help it. They have symmetrical souls. I don't believe in the idea of the soul. But I believe they have pure, symmetrical souls. Tom Waits is an actor--and a very, very good one--that's his soul's symmetry--he's an actor; Pavarotti too--he's a fantastic actor. Neither men are musicians, they are actors. So they are winning actors. Losing singers.
The question remains--why are they so beloved? Unquestionably loved. Showered in the respective currencies of their respective homelands. The love for them is a veritable typhoon of overpowering esteem that I find baffling, asymmetrical. For one, Pavarotti can't sing worth a damn. I don't make this statement lightly; I realize how esteemed he is. And second, I find Tom Waits uninteresting, symmetrical. What am I missing? I listen to a lot of music, but I'm no encyclopedia. And what is taste? My own taste differs from those others whom taste I admire--how can I account for this, and even value my own taste in music? I used to like Tom Waits. I used to think Pavarotti was an amazing singer. But I (think I) know a lot more about so-called 'weird' music and opera. I can posit idea of 'taste' and the notion that certain types of music 'speak' to my so-called 'soul,' and certain types don't. Kenny G and Pat Boone are objectively awful--yet they are professionals. They make handsome livings from the things they do and the things they do are music-related. Their music fulfills some sort of function in society. In Italy they have music piping in the restaurants and cafes (or what passes for cafes--coffee joints or stops, I would call them) and they have awful pop music infecting the air and the same is in the country I reside in now: by and large there is nothing but really the most awful music peeing into our ear canals constantly. People celebrate this urine-for-music by singing it in karaoke-style booths. If you throw alcohol into the mix, I can see the appeal (and have experienced it first hand. I like to sing Lou Reed's Perfect Day.) It's just silly fun. But the music is awful. Lou Reed can't sing, but nobody can't sing like him. It's all about soul. No. It's all about being true. And not having a weird soul. Having a weird soul is not the same as being weird. I don't think Tom Waits has a weird soul. I think everybody has a soul that is a little weird; this is the wonder, the splendor of human diversity of opinion, appearance, phenotype and genotype. And those with truly weird souls (people who try to be weird but are normal, or people who try to be normal, but are weird) are not weird. But the true weirdos, those who radiate weird from the core can't but help being weird, the weirdos who send their homemade sound collages and freak songs that they make to scream away the boredom and what have you to Tom Waits. This is the reality; these loser weirdos are the reality. When Pavarotti screams away he is screaming away nothingness. He is acting as if he is screaming away from some center that has no core--he's hollow, that's why he's so resonant! But the real tenors sing as if they have swallowed something and it can never be dislodged, but nonetheless they sing because it feels better when they are singing because the thing that is lodged within them--this asymmetry--gets shaken around and doesn't cause them so much pain in the meantime. Of course, they have to stop otherwise their lungs would explode. And it's a release. The mind rewards the body for cathartic release, with endorphins, or what have you. The singers get trained, and the climate they are trained in and brought up in no doubt have something to do with it all--be them weirdos or straights. Regardless, your Carusos, your Callases, your Montserrat Caballés--they aren't singing from nothingness, they are singing something at the nothingness. The somebodies who have something are singing to the nobodies whom have nothing so we can have it too.