An open letter to Linda Eder:
Oh hey, Linda… It’s me, Ran.
Listen! Linda! I’m psyched about the release of your new album, The Other Side of Me. It’s no secret that I worship the ground you clunk around on in your size 11’s (Men’s). You know I’ve been a huge fan and supporter of yours from the beginning. Some might even suggest that I am single-handedly responsible for your lofty status as an “internationally renowned, critically acclaimed, not-quite-superstar, concert-performer-turned-soccer mom and bona fide Broadway diva only ever featured in a single show on Broadway some 12 years ago”. Others might argue. But we need to talk, Linda. This new album (a gorgeous collection which, I should add, I have yet to hear in its entirety) features the new “Pop/Country/Folk Singer Linda”. You’ve admitted yourself that it is a departure from your norm, explaining in recent interviews that you needed to “return home”… “rediscover your roots”, as it were. Well, I write to you now in an effort to appeal to the other other side of you… the sensible side, Linda.
Linda, I fell in love years ago with a woman who belted showtunes and standards to big, brassy orchestrations as no one had done for me in quite some time. (You, Linda. You were that woman.) And just as I tell all my boyfriends: I feel you owe it to me to carefully consider and honor that one specific reason I became interested in you in the first place; then take all the other underlying elements of your authentic self – the ones most important to you and which truly make up who you are – and hide them deep, deep within. I don’t ever wanna see those, ok?
Linda, I’m not just saying this for myself… No, now listen to me, Linda! This is not just about me and you. This is bigger than us. I speak on behalf of the world at large; a world that faces a major musical crisis; a world in which the retarded, pregnant teenybopper demographic dominates the industry and is catered to with infinite releases of mindless crap. I’m certainly not implying that anything you’ve ever done is crap… Stop yelling, Linda. That’s not what I said. I simply mean that an endangered species of your extraordinary abilities and classic style with any degree of clout as a recording artist in these troubled times has a certain responsibility to keep the genre alive. Frankly, Sweetie, we do not have time for you to start experimenting now.
I’ve always had faith in you, Linda. It was touch-and-go there for a while, after you and Frank Wildhorn split. I’ll say it: I think I suffered the most. I was very uncertain about the path your career might take, and it shook me to my core. I was a mess. But you eventually came through with your magnificent Judy Garland album, and I got out of bed. And I will of course accept The Other Side of Me into my heart and love it as my own. However, I urge that the next time you feel the need to “return to your roots”, you hop on a plane to Minnesota, ride your horses for a few days, milk a friggin’ cow, pluck a couple’ chickens… shoot something if you have to. But in the meantime, put down the banjo, put on a shiny red gown, cock your head to the left, drop your jaw and belt the shit outta “Swanee”. You are the last Emperor. Do not fail us.
I love you, and I’m not mad.