30 May 2009 3:06 pm   //   Filed under: Music, No right to be good

In defense of schmaltz and tourist attractions

Two items for the no-right-to-be-good file:

  • Brad Paisley. I’m not supposed to like country music. I’m not the target demo. In fact, I’m programmed to hate it. Pre-fab corporate schmaltz wrapped in the American flag hits all my cynicism buttons. But for some reason, I enjoy putting a country channel on when I’m cooking or driving, and lately I’ve grown fond of Brad Paisley songs. The other day I nearly teared up when “Letter to Me” came on. Now at this point in the blog, I should get analytical, right? I should be doing research on whatever Nashville machine manufactured it, or parsing what my fondness for this music says about me. But I’m not. I’m just going to say I enjoy it, because it’s good.
  • South Street Seaport. Yes, the shopping mall in Lower Manhattan. The one where dozens of coach buses unload hundreds of tourists every day. The one with a Pizzaria Uno and a kiosk where you can have your name etched on a grain of rice. In other words, the most un-New York place in New York, if not the worst place in the whole universe. However, the Seaport happens to be built on a pier over the East River. And in a stroke of genius, there’s a deck on the far side of the complex with what might be the best view in the whole city (easily in the top five). Few things are as relaxing on a summer evening as buying a Coke in the Seaport food court, claiming a chaise lounge on the deck, and gazing out at Brooklyn while boats go by.