Image vs. Creativity

May 1, 2004

I haven’t watched a single American Idol, since Tamyra Gray got sacked in the first series. She was obviously the most talented on the stage, but the audience thought other wise. I remember that Simon, at the time of her ouster, said something to the effect of, “being the best singer doesn’t guarantee being an American Idol”.

I didn’t see Elton John stand up then and cry racism, and I sure didn’t see news reports about the contest being “hacked”. It’s just part of the huge PR machine behind the series. Not saying it was planned, but they just knew that controversy still means high ratings. As it’s been said, “there’s no such thing as bad publicity”.

When we pick and choose artists based on appearance, rather than talent, we wind up with the type of music that’s in the top 10. Bland, cookie-cutter music, that’s mainly based in a producer’s computer instead of using real musicians. Ultimately that also was the reason grunge died. It went from being about music to being about flannel clothes and those numerous Kurt Cobain imitators who came afterwards. The image took over and the music never returned.

I keep waiting for that new band to break out, wanting other labels to have their own, and changing music back to using musicians. I have hope for the jam band scene, and some very funky hybrid rap/folk (think old Beck & The Roots). But ultimately something will come from left field and just take over. This happened when the Backstreet Boys couldn’t get a gig in the US and made their living over in England . Then all of a sudden Britney, BSB, & N’Sync broke and unleashed the floodgates. I think the flooding’s over, now we’re trying to dry out the basement and put down new carpeting.