Saturday, June 24, 2017
The Tyranny Of Talent...
What does a good singing voice sound like?
Personally, I don’t know.
Yeah, I know, you can name some celebrity who you think sings good because they can drag out a vocal quiver or warble their voice up and down -which is a silly fad of the day.
Pop culture has so dominated the arts for the past century that the dividing line between good and bad simply no longer exists.
With Youtube we can now get a wider take on much of the pop scene, decade by decade. We can hear bands and singers from a variety of genres.
I was recently listening to some of The Rolling Stones songs from the 60‘s and 70‘s, and...
DEAR GOD, Mick Jagger had/has a comically bad voice. Bad on record, but live it was like listening to a special needs talent show. The band was garage level quality, clanking together in some sort of harmony, I guess.
I won’t even go off on the Beatles -who genre hopped more than Spinal Tap -and were about as talented.
You have to wonder how and why some of these bands became famous.
And of course the answer is media exposure/promotion.
When I was a teenager it was Nirvana. An equally average band with another comically terrible singer.
What’s telling though, is that crappy Pop-Metal bands like Poison and Warrant were really big right before Grunge-Metal broke (and yes, Grunge was a sub-genre of Metal). So the same kids that on Monday were buying ‘Unskinny Bop’ and ‘Cherry Pie’, were, on Tuesday, buying ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’.
Whatever Media tells us is “big”, we accept as “big”, even if down deep we suspect it’s crap.
And very little of what has been pop culture has not been crap.
So what happened to talent?
Talent is Un-American and thus represents an existential threat to Murica, her global empire and all it stands for.
Because talent is too much like a monarchy. And Murica knows no (official) hierarchy.
We love the myths of the scruffy colonists overthrowing the pompous royalty or a mere monk taking on the Catholic hierarchy.
We love stories about the movie star who was discovered waiting tables, or the handicapped athlete who made it to the Olympics.
All of it completely fabricated horseshit. But it makes us feel good about the banality and irrelevance of our own lives. Fabricated exceptions become our avatars.
And of course our elite love that, as it keeps us content as we’re being exploited and destroyed.
The reality of objective talent threatens the illusion.
Talent is a threat to democracy because its qualities are objective. It can’t be made or voted on. Its ascension and reign is beyond our control and its qualities transcend the market place. When genuine talent is acknowledged it cannot be made into an avatar for the masses. It shines a bright light on the falseness of democracy and equality. It makes the rest of us feel average.
This is why it has always been a task of the gatekeepers to mock talent, and, if need be, openly attack it.
You might have noticed that when even mildly talented pop artists do appear to the wider public, critics attack and dismiss their music as “hokey” or “cheesy” or “bombastic" or some such deflective assault.
And we agree, even as deep down we don't.