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I said I’d start catching up on my Rantables, so here we go.

I am fed up with the music business.  I have been for many years.  The simple fact that the least talented people are getting their tens of millions of dollars for looking pretty and having elaborate music videos and live shows apalls me to no end.  The sheer fact that somehow, autotuned bitches like Britney Spears have hundreds of millions of dollars makes me want to kill myself.  Yes, she went insane, but she’s still a fucking millionaire.  It’s not so much that this whole concept of image being more important than actual talent occurs, but that it happens so frequently it ends up restricting those with actual talent to small venues for their entire careers.  And you end up with 45 year old rockers who have immense musical talent, but are stuck playing at airport hotels and seedy bars.  It’s sad, really.

What bothers me just as much is that this practice is not confined to the “popular” music genre.  It’s rampant all over the spectrum of music.  It has affected every genre of music known to man.  From rock and roll to hip hop to gospel to even classical music, the importance of image has managed to outweigh the importance of true musical talent.

I bet you want to know how this practice has infiltrated and ruined classical music.  I will tell you in two words: Celtic Woman.  A group of impossibly attractive women singing traditional Celtic tunes, either folk or classical or other genres, their performances so obviously lip-synched it makes me want to puke every time I see them on my local PBS affiliate.  Oh, sure, they do have some talent.  But that gets in the way of how pretty they are.  There is another case of this, very similar to Celtic Woman, only it’s a much larger group of Chinese women, all playing “traditional” Chinese instruments.  I saw this a few months back, again on PBS.  There were maybe a dozen of them, all playing in perfect syncronization with each other, none of them missing a note, none of them missing a beat, all of them far too good-looking for their own good.  It actually hurt my brain to witness this travesty of music.

The number of actually talented singers/groups/what have you is so small compared to the number of autotuned, bleach blonde, plastic surgery bimbos and boring, cookie-cutter rock bands being overhyped and recorded every day.  For each truly talented band that gets a major record deal (let’s say Tool for example, and you can try to debate me on this all you want, but they’re damned fine musicians), there are 10 Jessica Simpsons being promoted because they’re pretty.  For every Our Lady Peace, there are a dozen samey rap/hip hop artists somehow getting #1 records released because they have 45 other rappers being “featured” on their song.  And for every Faith No More, there are a hundred Nickelback impressionists just waiting to show off their dull, lifeless guitar riffs and “edgy” image consisting of a lead singer with long hair and a goatee (or bald), a guitar player wearing mismatched clothing, a bass player with a mowhawk or a fauxhawk, and a drummer with spiky hair, a wifebeater, and a bunch of tattoos.

When will this practice stop?  Probably around the same time video games start creating original games instead of rehashing the same five World War II battles in every first person shooter, and when they stop focusing on graphics over great gameplay.  Or when the movie industry starts using non-sterrotypically perfect humans in their leading roles and the writers begin to write new scripts instead of “reimagining” an old movie into their ugly, twisted, piss poor excuse for a remake.  Which is to say, it probably will never happen.  And that saddens me.

Now, I know I’ll never be a famous pop musician, and I’m perfectly fine with that.  I prefer my music to have a less-produced feel to it, without all the layering and the 95 piece orchestra backing up one singer singing five harmony parts which are all perfectly in tune thanks to one of the worst invenitons of all time, autotune.  I feel like hunting down the person who invented it and strangling them to death, if they’re not already dead.  I like my music to sould as though the whole band performed the whole song in one take.  At least that shows they have the talent to play the fucking songs, instead of having to record one piece at a time, and then have to have the whole thing played through the PA system instead of hearing the actual band play live.  I am so sick of bands advertising themselves as, say, having three members, but when you see them live, there are SEVEN GODDAMNED PEOPLE ONSTAGE!  (I’m looking at you, Green Day)  If you’re going to advertise yourself as a four-piece, then you should be a goddamned four-piece band when people come to see your music live.  There shouldn’t magically be an extra guitar player or a keyboard player who wasn’t shown or even mentioned anywhere on the album.  If you’re going to record music (this is for any up-and-coming musicians reading this), my advice to you is to learn your instrument damned well, and that if you ever plan on recording a song, or a full album for that matter, that you are able to record the entire song in one take with the full group (if you’re in a band).  Don’t take the shitty way out and record one section of the song at a time, one instrument at a time.  That’s for practice before you record, not when you actually record.

I realize this has gotten off topic.  It’s turned more into a general angry rant about the ills of the music industry in general.  But that’s okay with me.  Because this is Rantabes, and the only rule here is that I get to write about something I want to write about, and if I change topics midway through the entry, so be it.  I think I’ve thought about the pathetic music industry for one night, so I will end here, and bid you all farewell for now.  Maybe I’ll squeeze a third Rantable in here this week, so I’ll be getting very close to caught up.  And once I am, I will continue to write one Rantable a week, until…well, until who knows?  I certainly don’t.

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