Thursday, March 04, 2010

Move Over Outsiders, The Popular Kids Have Taken Over Music

Jim Boggia wrote an open letter to Taylor Swift on He is vocal about his bitterness at her walking away with 4 Grammys after she hobbled through her duet with Stevie Nicks. The most interesting part of the letter is his declaration that the "popular kids" have taken over music. Here is an excerpt:

You know that song of yours? The one where she’s the cheerleader and you’re the unpopular outsider? Well, I’m having a hard time buying into that because – not to dwell on this but, um . . . . LOOK AT YOU. You can feel free to read this next sentence in the voice of Grandpa Simpson, but: In my day, girls who looked liked you WERE the cheerleaders and then, as now, girls who looked like you wound up getting the guy you talk about in that song. And music . . . Music . . . MUSIC . . . well, that was OUR territory – the folks who really were unpopular. You should check out a tune called ‘At Seventeen’ by Janis Ian. Then you should check out Janis Ian. I mean do a Google Images search. See? SHE was in the bleachers wearing a t-shirt, Taylor, not you. Can’t you just be happy being the cheerleader? Do the popular kids have to take over music, too?

But why am I blaming you? The popular kids took over our game a while ago. There was a bit of a back and forth tussle for a while, but there was a moment – it might have been when Kurt put the bullet through his head – that it was over, the cool kids won and popular music (not POP music, but music which is massively popular) became about being popular and not about making music.

This is the most telling thing I've read about the current music scene in a long time. How much does American Idol plays into this? In the 80's MTV certainly helped the careers of those good-looking bands ala Duran Duran or a-HA. MTV has removed music from its name and now it's American Idol. This season more than ever, they are placing more emphasis on the looks. It could be because the talent is so sparse. Contestant Michelle Delamor was wearing a dress from designer Vera Wang, who was in the audience. Randy called her outfit "hot". In a past episode, Kara inappropriately told contestant Casey James to remove his shirt. But then there is Crystal Bowersox who throws the whole theory out the window. On a talent level she is the powerhouse to beat. She is not concerned with fashion. She gets out there and belts it out. It would be more beneficial to her if she places in the top 4, but is not crowned the next American Idol. Daughtry's career might not be what it is had he won. Not winning allows them to do their own thing, not worry about wardrobe changes and be under the strict supervision of the Idol producers. It will be interesting to see where the votes go.

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