In honor of his Bumbershoot appearance, we assigned Anna Minard (who "knows nothing about music") to write about Tony Bennett.
Okay, okay: Of course I have "heard of" Tony Bennett! I'm not a complete caveperson. He's the guy who did... um... he sang that—wait, name a song that Tony Bennett sang. (Insert deafening chorus of "I Left My Heart in San Francisco" here.) Right! But other than that. Well, all of the songs, ever. Or maybe just all of the ones that sound like a sexy grandpa. Every jazz standard. Old songs with slightly dirty-sounding titles like "Young and Warm and Wonderful." I'd thought the most important thing about Tony Bennett was how amazing his hair is. (Quick! Tony Bennett and Skrillex: SWITCH!) But when I consulted the internet to confirm the picture in my head of Mr. Bennett, which is about six inches of combed-back hair pouf, I found my brain had exaggerated by about four to five inches. However! I did discover that his skin is bright orange, and the hair pouf he does have is snow-white. He is quite the high-contrast fellow.
He sounds, depending on the song, like: Santa after two Viagra, the human form of the Bellagio fountain in Las Vegas, the human form of a maroon velvet smoking jacket, an actual fox with actual silver fur, and/or what George Clooney will sound like in 20 years.
That all might sound kind of silly. But you literally have to respect him. Seriously, try it—just try not respecting him. Did one of your limbs just fall off? Well, lesson learned. Don't fuck with the pros.
Having never really listened to Tony Bennett, other than just existing in the regular human world and so unavoidably having seen/heard him on TV or on some Christmas album, I wandered around the internet watching clips of him and listening to songs, and I discovered a couple of things.
ONE: He is always smiling. That's one of my favorite characteristics of a musician. Look like you're having fun! Your job is making music! You win!
TWO: Did you know he has charted in every single decade since the 1950s? (No, charted. Not sharted. Gross, shut up.)
THREE: Guess whose popular song called "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" is better? Green Day versus Tony Bennett. Go! Green Day: "I walk a lonely road/The only one that I have ever known/Don't know where it goes/But it's home to me, and I walk alone." Tony Bennett: "I walk along the street of sorrow/The boulevard of broken dreams/Where gigolo and gigolette/Can take a kiss without regret/So they forget their broken dreams." And Tony Bennett wins in a landslide for using both "gigolo" and "gigolette"! Obviously!
I give Tony Bennett a big ol' "better than Green Day" out of 10.