Hey hey. Happy Wednesday. I got the scoop for Cool news of the week. Ready for it?
Aretha Franklin was just awarded a freakin Pulitzer Prize.
For those who don’t know, the Pulitzer Prizes are pretty much like The Grammy Awards for journalism. Named after American newspaper publisher Joseph Pulitzer – for all you theater kids, that’s the guy we all hate in Newsies. The first few Pulitzer Prizes were awarded at Columbia University in 1917 along with two million dollars to help fund journalism school.
Right. Why are we talking about this on your music blog? First of all, I study literature and am writing about lyricism which – last time I checked – is still words in the form of art, and I really don’t shy away from words in any form of art because I feel like it’s just part of how my brain analyzes, recognizes, and appreciates things at this point in my life so we’re stuck with that. Second, the Pulitzer Prizes get awarded to some of the best lyricists out there. Think about it. Their songwriting is viewed as so impactful and influential that it’s specially considered journalism for a few hot seconds, and I think that’s so cool.
The 2019 Prizes were given out on Monday, and Aretha Franklin was awarded a special citation prize “for her indelible contribution to American music and culture for more than five decades.” She is THE FIRST individual woman to achieve this title. If you’re not already applauding, you should be because that’s awesome – and it’s about time.
Past Pulitzer Prize Winners for music have included Bob Dylan, Hank Williams, and John Coltrane, as they should. More recently, Kendrick Lamar was named the first rap artist to receive a Pulitzer for his writing on his 2017 album DAMN. In the drama category, Lin-Manuel Miranda has also received a Pulitzer for his writing in Hamilton: An American Musical, and I’m mentioning that because unless you lived under a rock for the entirety of 2016, we all know Lin-Manuel Miranda is the musical Shakespeare of our time.
I’m just really happy about this award. The writing and journalism industry can be really overlooked sometimes. I’ve always been grateful that a lot of these writers you wouldn’t normally hear talked about on the news or in pop culture get recognized for their work at the highest level.
Back to music! Some songs written by Aretha Franklin, and my favorite lines from them below.
It’s been said that Aretha Franklin was out walking in New York and saw a couple saying goodbye to each other. Upon parting, one said “I love you … Call me.” The queen saw that, and then wrote this.
“Let your mind go. Let yourself be free.”
I love the piano so much on this version.
“Just call the song exactly what it is.”
I really love that line. If you’re not listening hard enough, you might miss it, but if you think about it on a deeper level, it’s so cool. Call the song exactly what it is. She says, “Its a [funky and lowdown] feeling.” Call your feeling exactly what it is … That’s powerful. Or whatever! You don’t gotta think about it, if you don’t feel like it. Dance your time away too.
Spirit In The Dark
Just listen to her voice on this song. Okay, that’s all.
“Let’s go some place … Where I don’t care.”
This song is sooooo pretty. I love it so much. This is for real my favorite song of hers. The words paint the picture so easily. Pulitzer Prize achieved. Bless her soul.