Saturday, April 01, 2006

Terrible music. And Buddy Holly.

So, as is our semi-usual routine, Wife and I watched American Idol last night. And the music was worse than ever. The show’s “theme” this week was “the 21st century”, so the cuntestants had to choose songs that had been released in the past six years. Well, what a shower of shit. I kid you not, there was not one song that I had ever heard before in my life – not one; Wife fared slightly better (if you can call it better), saying she had heard one of them before. And in addition to that, I think I had only heard of one of the acts that had originally recorded these songs, Creed. [In fact, Wife has just reminded me, a couple of days after I originally posted this, that there were also songs by Beyoncé and Christina Aguilera. Of course, I am familiar with these gals, but not with the particular tracks performed on the show. My bad.]

Now, I fail to see how it is possible that these people have not heard better songs released in the past six years. And if Kellie Pickler really thinks “Suds in the Bathtub”, or whatever it’s called, is so great, then I feel terribly, terribly sorry for her.

The thing is, I hold my hand up here, I’m hung up on the ’80s, man. That is, most of the music I listen to now is stuff I was listening to during my formative years. And most of the new music I discover is actually via Wife. It was she who introduced me to Elliott Smith and Bright Eyes – probably two of the greatest singer/songwriters to emerge in the last 20 years, American or otherwise. (And I don’t mean singer/songwriters in the bastardized sense of James Blunt, KT Tunstall, Jason Mraz, and Katie Melua, all of whom seem to think that playing a guitar means you can write something of substance. Wankers.) Both Smith and Bright Eyes have released albums full of incredible songs in the past six years. Where is the music of this calibre of artist on Idol? Their music is adaptable, too, as is any great song: it is not restrained by its musical style because it is not entirely about the music, it’s about the words. Remember when music had words that meant something?

And yet, these poor kids on Idol, like much of America, probably don’t know these artists even exist(ed). These are the sorts of artist that are undoubtedly bigger outside of their own home country.

Of course, it goes without saying, in that Groucho Marx way, they’re too good for Idol anyway.

As a post script to this post, how can it be that on the “Fifties”-themed show last week, the two worst performances of the evening were the two Buddy Holly songs? I mean, they really butchered his tracks, “Not Fade Away” and “Oh Boy!” And yet here is an American rock ’n’ roll legend. Ah, I see a pattern emerging: Buddy Holly, too, was totally unappreciated in the United States during his lifetime – indeed, until the mid-1970s. He had been all but forgotten after his brief fling with stardom at the tail end of the ’50s. Guess they can’t see the talent under their noses in the States, and all the while they keep lining the pockets of shit-mongers like Garth Brooks, Celine Dion, Mariah Carey....

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