Manufactured creativity.

You know, I’m white. I can’t dance. I admit it. Oh, I like to flail around when I am by myself, but not in public, people would probably call 911 or something for fear that I was having a seizure. What’s my point? None, really, other than that I can’t dance. I guess that I like to listen to music that maybe really wouldn’t be considered dance music. Some of it you might ‘sway’ to, or ‘rock’ to, or even ‘put your fist through a wall’ to. I like a lot of different styles of music from reggae to thrash metal, in fact I really hate to apply ‘genres’ to this music because I pretty much can find something of merit in it all. Most of it anyway.

I can appreciate an individual, or group of individuals making an effort to write a song and play it to the best of their ability and take enjoyment in sharing that song with other, usually like minded, individuals. That’s pretty much what it’s all about.

I know, I know, you’re asking about my point again. Well, let me say a few things. Backstreet Boys. N’Sync. Now, before you dismiss my little discourse here as a wanton berating of said groups, read on. I am simultaneously in awe and loathing of said fellas and their music. I mean, you have to respect that they work their asses of learning all these moves, keeping in shape, singing and keeping up the touring and appearance schedules that they do. I am in constant amazement of the finely oiled marketing machines at work behind these and other similar groups. If you give them nothing else, at least acknowledge that they are clocking much bank. I’m sure that they’re nice guys too, and that they love their moms and don’t drink anything much stronger than lime kool-aid. It’s a good image, it’s good for the kids. Well I wonder.

Are we trying to raise a bunch of mindless savants that only listen and enjoy what we as a society have fabricated and force fed them? I mean does it even matter what the real story is? Maybe all the Backstreet Boys are actually ex-cons that got a liberty pass if they agreed to keep their noses clean, learn to hit a high C note, electric slide and told kids to stay in school. Has anybody thought about who they really are? Does anybody really care? Now I know that some of them actually do play instruments (although I wonder with what proficiency), but do they write these hit songs they sing? Do they choreograph the moves they make? Do they determine which markets the cd will be available in on which dates and for how much? In short, do they do much more than anything other than do what they’re told?

I can see the backlash coming from supporters already. Sure they do, they write songs they play instruments, they are involved in the business side of the biz. Sure they are, NOW. Once it gives them credibility, but when they started, they were just punk kids, like all the others that wanted to be stars. Somebody somewhere (Big Brother Management Co.) took advantage of that and molded them into prepubescent winning lottery tickets. for the most part, when it all goes down, they sound alot to me like, well, pawns.

I don’t know if I really want my kids worshiping some older kid who is just out making an idiot of himself without so much of a though of what it all means. These guys aren’t musicians, they are entertainers. While it’s not a bad thing, let’s not lump them in with the likes of the people who actually put meaning into their music by writing and/or playing their songs because they are expressions of themselves. Songs and music that asks you to listen to it and think, form an opinion, be it a good one or bad one. Let’s remind ourselves that music originated as a way to entertain, yes, but also, and more importantly as a way to tell stories and evoke emotions. I think we should re-introduce people to the likes of jazz, blues, the roots of rock ‘n roll in all it’s forms – even classical music (egad!). Even the Backstreet Boys and the like have roots in all this. We cannot loose our taste for or willingness to share music that is actually played and composed as opposed to programmed and mass produced.

But hey, that’s just my opinion, and If you disagree, well, you’re wrong. I’m outta here. I gotta go get my new Jordan Knight record autographed at the Super-Huge-Mega-CD-Store-that-only-sells-albums-from-the-past-year-and-a-half. That’s it retailers, don’t take a risk and actually go out on a limb and stock some older stuff for kids to discover, or God forbid throw in a record that wasn’t distributed by a company that has less than 23 floors of office space.

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