Nevermind The Posers

See ya in the pit.

2010 Grammys- Taylor Swift’s Day or Mayday February 5, 2010

By Gregory Swindasz

So the Grammys are all said and done, but the dust storm known as Taylor Swift has not yet settled.  Taking home the most honored award in the music industry has not helped the doe-eyed country phenomena, in fact, it seems to have only hurt her future.  As we all know, after the Kayne West MTV VMA embarrassment, Swift was on top of her game.  Even Obama called West a “jackass”.  We all felt bad for the cute young sacran-sweet blond from Tennessee.  Her teenage ballads remind us of a time when we were young and hopeful for our fairytale ending (“Love Story”) or of the vulnerable times of young lives (“Fifteen”), but no one, at least of those who I have spoken to, thought she deserved what she got – either at the VMAs or the Grammys.

With contenders like “I Am…Sasha Fierce” (Beyoncé) and “The Fame” (Lady Gaga), Swift’s “Fearless” did not seem to compare for Album of the Year.  As cute as the songs are, this was not game changing music that would go down in the anthems of American music history.  Songs like “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)” or “Poker Face” had a bigger impact on the music world then “Fifteen”.

This is only one piece of the puzzle.  Her performance at the Grammy Awards (and really at any other live on-air performance) was less than stellar.  So much so it prompted CEO of Big Machine Records, Scott Borchetta, to say to the Associated Press: “This is not `American Idol.’  This is not a competition of getting up and seeing who can sing the highest note.  This is about a true artist and writer and communicator.  It’s not about that technically perfect performance.”  When the CEO of your record label has to compare the Grammys to American Idol to defend your seemingly undeserved victory, something is off, and it’s not just her pitch.

There is something off here.  Lady Gaga, Beyoncé, Green Day and so many others gave perfect and amazing performances.  Beyoncé whipping her hair around as she bounced up and down on her knees, Gaga singing with Sir Elton John, or even the triumphant claim by at the end of the Black Eyed Peas performance “Welcome to the future” is what the Grammys are all about.  I’m sorry Taylor, if you’re going to win Album of the Year, at least sing on key.

There could have been something else here.  I remember hearing a few months ago that Swift was what the young people wanted, so the music industry was going to give it to them.  If giving Swift this highest of honors was in some way a shot at reclaiming sales lost to piracy, then that truly is the furthest thing from honorable.  Personally, I don’t believe that’s true.  We will all just have to watch and see how things go.  There is something off here, maybe it is just her pitch or maybe we will never know.


The 10-Year “Bad Day”: Billboard Announces Daniel Powter’s Single is ‘One-Hit Wonder of the Decade’ December 30, 2009

by: Dave “The Klone” Maresca

     Now, I know any decade that begins with a world-altering terrorist attack on the globe’s last-standing super-power is not going down in the history books as “The 10 Years of Humanity at its Best”, but was the first installment of the new millennium really deserving of Daniel Powter’s “Bad Day” as its defining anthem?  According to popularity, the answer is “Yes”.  Ahead of their full “Best of 2000’s” content roll-out, on December 9th released its “Top Ten One-Hit Wonders of the Decade” list, with Powter’s “Bad Day” at number 1.  Spending five weeks in the top slot of Billboard’s pop charts in 2006 gave the track the bragging rights that let it pull ahead of other dance-floor favorites like “Lean Back” from Terror Squad (2004) and Crazy Town’s “Butterfly” (2001).  Billboard also does disclaim the facts that the contenders for this years list were artists and acts from the years 2000 through 2007 to account for any acts that may be taking an extended break or touring on the success of their first hit.  To qualify as a one-hit wonder, an artist or act’s second hit had to have not cracked the top 25 in the same chart listing. 

     Facts and figures aside, let’s look at some of the real implications here.  The first ten years of the new millenium could be considered, for some people out there, among the last of humanity’s golden years.  Recent pop-culture phenomena surrounding ancient Mayan prophecies dealing with the end of the world, any myriad of stories on the evening news covering the several wars happening at once, even artistic renderings as far back as Rush’s classic 2112 album all point to a spot on the not-to-distant horizon as the official start of humanity’s decline, if not the actual rapture itself.  Take all that into account, do we really have to say that we’ve all “had a bad day” everyday for the last ten years?  Regardless if the world is about to end, and that the political machine is constantly scaring us into believing we’re seriously screwed in every way you can imagine, are there no more moments in the sun to make us happy to be alive?  Realizing that the last two years have been completely omitted from consideration (explaining why Daniel Powter was even able to compete with newcomers like Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, or dare I even mention Miley Cyrus), does the fact that “Bad Day” was the featured “Thanks for trying, better luck next year” send-off music for the most recent season of American Idol mean it defines the last ten years (minus ’08 and ’09) for the music loving public?  Have sales popularity and commercial regurgitation replaced all the standards of quality by which we, the music loving public, decide what music is good or bad, or defines the times in which we live? 

     You tell me music lovers, I’m just giving you the news.  Do you agree with Billboard’s choice?  Does a song’s commercial success determine its social relevance?  Are your spent dollars the ballots by which you vote?  The floor is yours, let the discussion begin, and as always, keep it poser-free.

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