I happened to catch two installments of the VH1 series Classic Albums this week. One discussed the making of Pink Floyd's The Dark Side Of The Moon; the other covered the creation of Bat Out of Hell by Meatloaf. Both are classic albums, in their way. Though I will never quite be able to get the memories of a number of nights when my 21 year old self had to put up with bars filled with people singing along to "Paradise By The Dashboard Light" at around midnight, they both deserve their due. Both are also phenominally successful, with Dark Side remaining on the Billboard album chart for over 14 years, and Bat has never exited the UK Top 200 chart.
Sadly, I don't think that anything as adventurous, or perhaps as odd, would even be made today. I am dismayed that the entertainment cartels seem to have confused celebrity with musical talent once again. So who gets an album these days? Scarlett Johansen. Haylie Duff. Jamie-Lynn Spears. Whoever wins American Idol. Whoever doesn't win American Idol. Dare I even mention Paris Hilton and Kevin Federline? I know that the lasting music of an era rarely, if ever, makes it to Number 1 on the charts, but please. I recall when Milli Vanilli lip synced live and became pariahs. Now "music" artists do it all the time.... so they can better fit choreography into the act. The Hollywood model of "make it in the first weekend" dominates the music industry. There is no attempt to develop careers. It all seems to be about the next big single, to sell a CD for a week.
Perhaps I make this point too often here. Perhaps it is just too easy to cherry pick all the great music of the 1970's and say "the music scene right now seems so lame". Then again, everything seems so manufactured. How do records get made these days? Committees. Earnings statements. Focus groups. The men-over-40 bare midriff segment. The women who want to dress like call girls segment. The young adolescents with tattoos and piercings segment. The rump shakin' segment. The suburban white kids who want to talk like they're all ghetto segment. Yeah right, in the words of that old MTV promo, "hey yo! bitch! I said NO sprinkles on my frozen yogurt!"
Maybe Roger Waters said it right on Dark Side all those years ago:
Money it's a hit
The almighty dollar is really the name of the music business, and the rest of us are deluding ourselves. In a contest between art and commerce, the joke is really just on us and Britney Spears is laughing all the way to the bank.
But don't give me that do goody good bullshit
on 2006-10-28 at 9:10 p.m.
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