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Posts Tagged ‘Simon’

steely-dan-albumIt will change my family’s life….that’s what several of the “contestants” stated after winning a ticket to Hollywood the last couple of nights on “American Idol.”  

I’m sure we’ve all had our share of musical aspirations or dreams.  Mine is to backed up Tim Reynolds and jam with Dave Mathews or Steely Dan and if all went well I’d make a lot of money!  However, in an era where Malcom Gladwell reports that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to be any good I don’t see those artists showing up at my house this week.  Meanwhile musicians complain that today everybody plays.  You’re competing with amateurs employing GarageBand and posting material on MySpace, yet on the “idol” somebody’s going to win.  

How much money can a person truly make?  It’s an industry where most people have no idea what the number one album is?  “American Idol” is a television show.  First and foremost.  It’s bigger than any contestant.  I think it’s glorified karaoke.  Yet, I find it fascinating to watch because it perpetuates the myth that there’s a singular filter, a gate, which if you can pass through, solves all of your problems and you’re a star.

So thousands turn to the “Idol” and plead their case.  Typically it goes something like…I’m beautiful, I can sing like Beyonce, this is America, I get a chance for stardom, right?  I want my chance!  That’s what everybody is jockeying for on the “Idol.”  Please, use me, make me the next big whatever.  This is just the opposite of classic rock and the sound that still fills arenas.  Classic rock (Pink Floyd, The Ramones, Led Zeppelin) was about doing it your own way, giving the man the middle finger.  But now Simon Cowell gives us the middle finger and the businessman is the star.  You’ve got to hand it to Simon, at least he’s honest.

“Idol” is not reality.  It’s entertainment and fake like so many other things America TV specializes in.  Rather than show us the nitty-gritty of the music industry, they pull heartstrings, try to make you laugh, you had a good time, right?  The hoards of people who line up to play the producer’s game of a contestant on the “Idol” think they deliver the hope that people still care.  They don’t, because winners on the show become 4th tier celebrities that most people just don’t give a rip about.  These soon to be newly-minted “idols” enter a world where train-wrecks are posted all over the internet, almost instantly, and are then forgotten.

They should take a lesson from Harley-Davidson.  If you want to last, you’ve got to build slowly.  You’ve got to be selling something beyond your desire to be rich and famous.  You’ve got to get fans on your own merits.  And, you’ve got to be satisfied with who you are, because today, even if you’re on the cover of “Time”, you may still have to work 9-5.  Being famous is easy.  Making people care is much harder.

If you put being rich and famous first, you’ve got nothing that makes you attractive or makes you desirable.  And we need more.  A pretty face is not enough even if it’s in a bikini – Simon! 

I hope you didn’t ruin your laptop keyboard by spitting up your morning coffee.

Photo courtesy Steely Dan.

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