Friday, June 3, 2011

Harry Nillson - The Point! (RCA, 1971)

This is the town and these are people of Harry Nilsson's “The Point!” This album is the story of Oblio, a young man with no point. You see, the town in which Oblio lives, everyone has a point on the tops of their heads and everything in the town has a point; literally. So, the story is a classic tale of bridging differences as Oblio is banished to the pointless forest that surrounds the town due to his lack of having a point in order to ultimately find that everything has a point.

So to get to the point, American song writer Harry Nilsson creates a fantastic world of imagination that mirrors our own reality. In the mid to late sixties societal norms were starting to change and the point was to offer a perspective that allowed American culture to reflect on the functionality of individuals and their value they offer, no matter the differences. Anyone who is familiar with the voice of Nilsson knows the power and clarity of his use of melody and harmony rivaling the best of vocalists. And some say there has not been such a singer since. The entire album is a dreamy, smooth piano pop piece that is laden with strings and 60's orchestra sounds. As the good humor and contemplative feeling of reflection drifts up and down like a lullaby, Nilsson intermittently pops in with the narrative of the story.

“The Point!” was later made into a musical play and an animated film. The album has Nilsson providing the voices for all the characters involved, which gives a sense of old school story telling as if kids were sitting in a semi-circle around grandpa imitate and contort his voice to match the characters. And as the story seems a little elementary, the simple yet perfectly portrayed cast of characters combined with the angelic voice of Nilsson, deliver a well satisfying dose of comfort. Many have grown up listening to this album or watching the animated version during their childhood. I had only been turned on to this piece about four years ago and as an adult and first time listener, I was able to fully appreciate every narration and song on the album, thus having Harry Nilsson's “The Point!” still be a valid one.

--Sean Dail

Get The Point! Here

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