Monday, March 21, 2011

American Vitriol

I was recently reminded of why I have a never-ending flow of vitriol for the American Idol franchise. I was calmly enjoying my bowl of Cheerios when I read someone asking to name bands you like that have singers who don't sing well. The poster went on to say that there are a lot of cool bands who might not fair to well on America's #1 karaoke contest. I agree with the last fact, I could, off the top of my head, name thousands of bands who wouldn't get any recognition from American Idol (their judges, and their fans)...let alone be anywhere close to "winning" anything on the show. Maybe the mere fact that they wouldn't be honored by AI is a positive thing? I'd hate to see some of my favorite bands having to whore themselves out and be judged by 1 non-singer/kind-of-dancer (J-lo), 1 former lead singer of a once good rock band (Steven Tyler), and 1 incredible session bassist who clearly has lost his knack for discerning what constitutes "talent" (Randy). What if this was the scenario on AI: Thrice...after destroying the AI stage with pure awesomeness...having to stand in front of the judges...being told they the vocals were a "little pitchy" by J-lo (the same J-lo who probably hasn't sung something live in over a decade)...or Steven Tyler saying something like "it just didn't rock enough". Sorry, Thrice forgot their bandana's. I think I, along with thousands of other music fans, would be mortified...and I think it would prove my point: AI is style over is their mission to find an empty shell...a shell that can hopefully carry a tune (or not, depending on how current their Antares plug-in is). They aren't concerned with real musicians...because real musicians don't need AI.

Real bands/real musicians/real vocalists (notice the emphasis on real) have no need for AI with the current state of technology. Anyone with a computer can record their own music, and have it online (with videos) in a matter of minutes (Justin Beiber loves himself some youtube)...all ready for mass-consumption without the need to prostitute yourself on a karaoke tv show. I think the contestants on AI truly want to "make it" in the business...but I also think that they want fame without work...and I think the contestants are just as bad as the creators of AI. Maybe I'm making a gross generalization? I just don't see any other plausible reason for someone going on AI outside of wanting to have fame without putting in the work to attain such fame. U2 didn't have AI. Jimmy Eat World didn't win some contest to become a working band. Sade didn't need a glorified karaoke contest to record...tour...and have her work fawned over by millions of people. What we see on AI is something that happens every week day, in every airport hotel lounge, all over the world. Thousands of people singing along to their favorite songs...some incredibly talented...some to drunk to remember to read the cued words. It's been done billions of times...and despite it being somewhat fun to do occasionally, it doesn't come close to the real thing. I'll take watching (and supporting) a real band over karaoke any day of the week. So do yourself a favor...go see an actual band, or singer, or musician playing at a local bar, club, community center, basement, or church. Spare yourself from an over-hyped 2 hours of nonsense twice a week...with a group of empty-shelled voices trying to "make it".

That is my disjointed...vitriolic rant...and also my encouragement for the week. Don't watch American Idol...and go support a band or two this week.

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