Death of the Village Voice

Death of the Village Voice

mike skliar's picture
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Demo: 

Liner Notes: 

So there used to be a weekly paper here in NYC called the Village Voice. It was started way back in the 1950's and Wiki calls it 'America's first alternative newsweekly'.

Back when I first started going to NYC from the surrounding suburbs where I grew up, in the late 70's and early 80's, it was the chief source of 'what was happening' in music, film, culture, as well as a great news alternative, bringing investigative stories about things like the AIDS crisis and corruption in NYC politics when other papers were not quite so fearless. And in those pre-internet days, people found apartments, jobs, partners, etc in all sorts of classified ads in the back.

The paper underwent a long long slow decline and by shortly after the turn of the century (if not before) it was but a shell of its former self - it published the last print edition about a year or two ago, and I just heard that the online edition will no longer have any new articles as of now-- so the paper is finally, definitively dead.

Figured someone needed to write the obit!

quick iPhone recording- maybe i'll go back and do a more elaborate recording at some point, tho this kind of gets to the heart of it, i think.

Lyrics: 

In the long ago year nineteen and eighty two
If you wanted to know what there was to do
In the city that never sleeps, and back then it didn’t by choice
To find what’s up you had to look it up in the Village Voice

And when the politicians hemmed and hawed and lied
About that plague that caused so many to die
And so many other things that the New York Times ignored
it was the voice calling out those self-serving pols, and those sleazy landlords

if you needed an apartment, or a scheme to fly to Spain
or maybe a bedroom partner for some pleasure or pain
you could be sure the Voice was never read from the back seat of a Rolls Royce
just had to go to that box on the corner, to get the village voice

way back in the days when the "pazz and jop" poll
was something we all fought over, or make our eyes roll
if you were stuck in suburbia, wanted to see a city dirty and moist
sooner or later, your ticket to that ride was the Village Voice

and now it’s changed, Times Square’s a Disney mouse squeak
while corporations squeeze out what made us strange and unique
future generations won’t even know enough to even feel deprived
the long slow death of the Village Voice has finally arrived

In the long ago year nineteen and eighty two
If you wanted to know what there was to do
In the city that never sleeps, and back then it didn’t by choice
To find what’s up you had to look it up in the Village Voice

(c) M. Skliar 2018



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Comments

oneslowtyper's picture

I think my favorite line was with the Voice and Rolls Royce comparison... and you sure did this justice by singing a right and proper eulogy, Mike. I recall the name Village Voice, but living upstate, I never bought or read any issues.

metalfoot's picture

Lovely musical obituary for a one-time giant in the journalism world.

billwhite51's picture

parts of this remind me of lou reeds new york album. there is even a typical lou chord midway through line three of the verse. this is a song that needed writing, but i wish you would have gone back to its beginnings with norman mailer and company. by 1982, it was already half dead. still, a half dead voice was better than most other weeklies,most of which are dead now as well. then there are the dailies, which many people mock,but i spent ten years as an arts reporter for the Seattle PI, which turned out to be the last ten years of its 150 year life span, and when that paper went down, so did public awareness on what was happening in town. the on line corpse was about as helpful as the tv guide. yours is a good song, even though the Voice's significance was much broader than one might glean from these verses, you captured its 1980's era very nicely.