Of critical importance
So, I happened to chance upon a mention of Cross The Line on nh7. And, I found that one Mr. Arjun S Ravi had wasted no time in delivering a single sentence judgement about it: ‘... it’s the kind of sappy love song you write when you’re learning how to play the guitar, and then are embarrassed by a couple of years later when you’ve listened to The Beatles a bit more and a world of artistic influences that aren’t James Blunt and The Script open up before you.’ I was advised to ignore him, and move on. And, that is exactly what I’m going to do. But, not before I’ve settled a few issues.
Must congratulate you on your impressive writing skills! Writing a single sentence review requires a certain command over the language and a particular disrespect for artistes. I’ll come to the latter in a bit. There are a few things I wish to clarify first. Firstly, to insinuate that the artiste in question is a novice is VERY wrong. What do even know about me? Do you know I’ve trained in Hindustani Classical music for 7 years, or that I can sing a thumri and a blues ballad back-to-back? No, you don’t. Because all you saw was a happy girl-song-video that wasn’t hipster/artsy/moody/kitschy/pretentious enough for your liking, and decided that she must be some stupid wannabe popstar! How utterly wrong of you! And, about the song being sappy. Sappy refers to something mawkish. Like Clapton’s Wonderful Tonight, Rod Stewart’s Have I Told You Lately That I Love You, I’ll Make Love To You by Boyz II Men- all of which are my favourites! I’m sorry if you think all love songs are sappy and nauseating. Too many heartbreaks, eh? Secondly, you’ve implied that I haven’t heard enough music. Who has? You? No chance in hell! There’s so much music in this world that a single lifetime isn’t enough to hear it all. And, for an elitist snob such as yourself, I’m sure there’s a lot that you haven’t heard! And, yes, I love James Blunt! Almost as much as I love Ella Fitzgerald, or Maroon 5, or Cream, or Stevie Ray Vaughan. Blunt has brought about more smiles than you will in multiple lifetimes. Critique all you like, but give artistes the respect they deserve. Artistes aren’t your minions. Just because you have the power of the pen/internet and know a few fancy words, does not mean you indulge in persiflage. 10 million people know who James Blunt is. I’ll be surprised if even a 1000 know you, sir. Drop the air of tacit arrogance. Pronto!
I did not write/compose Cross The Line. Had you paid some attention before jumping to your irresponsible judgement, you’d have noticed it. The song is targeted at teenaged girls, which I’m sure you aren’t. But, as a critic true to his profession, you ought to keep such factors in mind. Cross The Line has been airing everyday on Vh1 India for close to 4 weeks now. My mailbox is flooded with messages. I’m sure we did something right. You, probably, were one of those 15 year-olds with very evolved taste in music who’re into The Beatles and Simon & Garfunkel while still in school. Most of us, thankfully, aren’t as precocious! One last thing, when it comes to pipes, I can put a whole bunch of your favorite indie artistes to shame! Swing by a gig sometime! Wish you great success, and some love.
Malini Banerjee is a snotty single child, mountain junkie, playback singer, Austen addict, hopes to soon
finish writing her debut novel, and dreams of singing alongside Buddy Guy.