Thursday, June 08, 2006

Everyone's a critic

I’m a music editor for a Boston-based social networking site called What this means is that when I get a chance, I write reviews of artists coming to the area to perform. Here are the latest three I wrote.

Kelly Clarkson

It’s the singer, not the song, as the saying goes, but in Kelly Clarkson’s case, the reverse may be true. The first American Idol winner has fought long and hard to shake the show’s associations of pop disposability, (even going as far as denying future contestants the right to sing her songs), and for good reason. One can imagine a 20-year-old Bob Dylan stepping up and squawking in front of the show’s judges and having his dreams crushed, then going on to revolutionize music. The point being that someone with deep talent probably wouldn’t want to be on the show in the first place. This is the ghost that haunted Clarkson. Haunted, past tense, thanks to song doctors, top producers and savvy A&R reps who have ensured that Clarkson sounds edgy enough to be considered almost cool and slick enough to stay on the radio. Rumor has it that her hit, “Since U Been Gone,” was molded after uber-hip NY rock band the Strokes. All the song doctors in the world wouldn’t be worth a wit if Clarkson couldn’t sing, and she delivers on that front, at least. The point being, at least.


You’re an aging superstar who’s just alienated most of her audience by releasing a soggy CD that attacks the American way of life during the most patriotic era in U.S. history since Reagan’s reign of bullshit. On top of that, you have further pissed off your audience by paralleling this CD with a move to England and the adoption of a shaky British accent. What do you do? Take a breather, then appeal as strongly as you can to your strongest fan base: disco dreamin’, dance-floor stompin’, karaoke-singing, aging pop nostalgists. Christ, the first single, “Hung Up,” is based around an ABBA sample. But it’s all OK. Because it works. You see, we all love Madge, especially when she drops her superior attitude and simply loves us back.

Mariah Carey

There are people who are born to sing. Mariah Carey is one of those people. She’s the Einstein of singing, actually. Did you know that the geography of Einstein’s brain was unlike normal brain structure? The same is true of Mariah. Her brain is typical, (obviously), but her throat structure is unlike the rest of humanity’s; it’s deformed in a way that allows her to hit notes, both high and low, that are beyond the range of what is considered normal. Doctors have displayed X-rays of her throat at conferences. Add to that actual music production talent, a great ear for melody and killer looks, and what do you get? More number one hits than any other human being since the dawn of recorded music. She’ll never alter our understanding of time and space, but she’s astounding, nonetheless.


At 10:14 PM, Blogger Adam Zand said...

Yo thoughtbrigade,
How about the male "nostalia" shows with talent: Elvis Costello, Joe Jackson, Echo and the Bunny Men, the recently rocking Buzzcocks and for the cool kids, Bloc Party?

Guessing your hip online social networking we'd love to sell to MySpace or Friendster critic site doesn't provide you with press passes, so I'll tell you how awesome most of these shows are.

Hey Bob Dylan's on XM (I bet his disc collection is amazing) so don't be shocked if he shows up as a judge on that gruesome Karaoke contest next season.


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