Monday, March 05, 2007

This Post Will Not Change The World.
However, it is the first-ever documented case of "inattentive blogging".

I just haven't paid a whole lot of attention to the news lately. It's not because I don't tune in; after all, I hear hourly newscasts on the Oldies station here, and I'm always watching Northwest Cable News to see what's happening around this corner of the country. I also look through 3 or 4 different newspapers a week. I don't know what's the matter with me; I used to write about timely things. It's not as if I don't care, but maybe I don't. (How dumb does that sound?) I also have not watched any network TV shows for a few years now. I get the feeling that I'm seeing the same old plots I've seen for years, only the actors are different. If I get familiar with a TV series, it's usually on reruns on another network. By now, I've seen every episode of "NYPD Blue" on Court TV...and for some reason, I've dropped that series like a hot potato. I'm currently 'rather' interested in "CSI: Miami"; it's got a good cast, and the episodes are pretty cool. And I'll watch it if I'm in front of the TV when it happens to be on. But I don't salivate at the prospect of seeing the CSI show, whereas I used to make time to watch two episodes of NYPD Blue nightly. Yea, verily, brethren, if ignorance is indeed bliss, then I must be mighty happy, huh?

Same thing with current music. Obviously, since I'm getting old, I'm into a lot of older music. I'm a classic-rocker, I guess, but I also have a real penchant for jazz; for me, good jazz stays fresh and resilient forever. I didn't even listen to jazz until 10 or 15 years ago. I was taking a long drive at the time, and there was a tape by a progressive-rock group, "Camel" in the tape deck. Well, I had just attended a jazz festival the week before, and the thought came to mind, that the jazz I'd heard wasn't really all that far away from the long synthesizer and guitar excursions found in prog-rock. So, I'm a huge fan of Miles Davis and Weather Report; I think Pat Metheny is an excellent guitarist, and just lately, I've been buying every John Coltrane CD I can get my hands on. People have told me that I should really keep up on newer music; well, a lot of jazz IS newer to me in spite of the fact it may have been recorded long ago. I guess anything's 'new' if you haven't been exposed to it. Oh yeah, by the way, I am also a big fan of Dave Brubeck. And he is still performing; he's in his 80's now. More power to him!

It seems that sooner or later, many of my posts will contain information about music. And so, this post has drifted that way. Well, that's good; most people can relate to music in one way or another. Although, once, when I lived in Idaho, the local newspaper ran a profile of some city businesswoman; maybe she was the head of some influential group, I really can't remember. But I do remember, that among the questions she was asked, was, "what is your favorite kind of music?" And her answer? "I'm not really a music person". NOT REALLY A MUSIC PERSON? Lady, there's no romance in your soul! I can't imagine what she would consider to be "entertainment". Not a music person. Hmmm. I honestly don't know how anyone can say that. It's right up there with "I don't like any kind of food at all." Or, "I totally believe in everything George W. Bush says and does." (see? got my little 'political dig' in there again!) How can someone not be a music person? Now, I know a lot of people aren't into it the way I, or others I know, are. But music is everywhere. She must be one of the "blue meanies" which killed off all the music in Pepperland, in the Beatles' "Yellow Submarine" movie.

So where is this post going? You can see that I'm weaving all over the place here; in my mental state, a computer cop could probably arrest me for "inattentive blogging". (Hey, I like that term!) Anyway, this post does have a purpose, as you will soon see. (or not). Two stories in last week's newspapers struck me. The first story concerned Rap music, and how it is losing popularity. It's an angry, confrontational type of music, and even if the lyrics don't advocate cop-killing or having numerous "ho's" at one's disposal, the music (if you can call it that) is alienating and unfriendly. I decry rap whether it is made by blacks or whites, so this isn't a racist thing, although I have this undercurring feeling that rap promotes separatism of the races rather than uniting the human race for the greater good. That's just the feeling I get when I hear it. I can't help it. Call me ignorant if you will. But rap music, in general, appears to be losing what little luster it had to begin with. It's an art form one can only take so far. Get a rhythm machine, a turntable with a scratchy record, and a loud, rude, outspoken guy shouting into a microphone and pointing to members of the audience, and after a while it just gets OLD. I'm surprised rap's popularity has lasted this long. I just can't see any redeeming value in it.

This next paragraph also concerns music, or what's left of it these days. I have never watched an episode of "American Idol". I don't want to see young, exuberant fame-seekers have their dreams shattered in front of a nationwide TV audience. "American Idol" is no more than an updated version of the tragically memorable "Gong Show" which was aired in the 70s. The only difference is, that if your performance stinks, instead of one of the panel members bashing a gong to get you off the stage, you are instead subjected to Simon Cowface and his blithering-idiot-pseudo-knowledgeable withering putdowns. Meanwhile, Paula Abdul is trying to focus her eyes on you, because who knows what she's high on. Anyway, various "American Idol" winners have done quite well; Ruben Studdard or Clay Aiken (I don't think he won, did he?) (See? I do try to stay current) have both had pretty good careers. Well, one of the recent winners, the gray-haired Taylor Hicks, the hoarse guy with the Rod Stewart-like voice, has experienced lackluster sales of his newest CD. All of a sudden, America isn't embracing "American Idol" stars as it once did. Maybe, America is getting tired of having its tastes dictated by a few loudmothed critics who think they know it all. What I kinda think is that "American Idol" just kinda spits out a few stars from the many contestants that get ground up in the meat grinder.

It seems that, to be a star today, you have to "pass inspection", "win the contest", "fit the image", and any kind of artistic integrity just kinda flies out the window. Any know-nothing with half a voice who creates the right impression can be an INSTANT STAR! And I just don't buy any of it. Most of the musicians I admire paid their dues in clubs, in numerous bad bands, suffered bad reviews, were cheated by greedy managers, but somehow kept it together and worked hard at their craft. They wrote their own songs. They played their own instruments. They often went against the politically-correct "grain" because they wanted to be honest with themselves and not "sell out" to any obvious pandering for a hit. This is where I run into the proverbial brick wall, because I know there are a lot of younger musicians in "alternative" bands who possess artistic integrity, and I can't seem to find time to listen to them. A fellow blog-reader sent me a few CD's he'd put together of '90s and '00's artists, and the music was generally pretty good, and in some cases, really good. So I need to find a radio station that plays newer stuff, and just FORCE myself to listen. Music hasn't totally gone to hell yet, although it seems you have to look a little harder for good songs these days. Or maybe that's just me. I'm old, you see. But I already said that.

So I weaved, I dodged, I bobbed, I rope-a-doped, and got thru another blog entry. And, I've probably made tons of enemies among those who watch "American Idle"...I mean "Idol"...and my philosophy concerning Simon Cowhead? "Those who can, do; those who don't, CRITICIZE."


Blogger Phil said...

I'm slowing down on the new music, just because it's too tiring to keep up. I still hear things I like... Some of these new "punk pop" bands are kinda fun to listen to, but only in small doses or they all start to sound the same.

I've watched American Idol on and off over the years. The last season I paid close attention to was Season Two, when Ruben Studdard won and Clay Aiken came in second. I'm a fan of Aiken. His voice is majestic, yet plain (if you know what I mean). I also like Josh Gracin, who came in 4th that season. He's turned into quite the country singer, and I don't even like country music all that much.

I don't listen to the radio at all... Haven't done that for 15 years at least. I read reviews, get mix tapes and CDs from friends, and now I'm even part of a little group that emails new songs to each other (each person has a day assigned to them - I'm Tuesday).. It's a great way to share music and learn about new bands.

If you want to hear a recommendation for one hot new band... Check out The Feeling. Their debut CD "Twelve Stops And Home" just came out -- extremely catchy, melodic Beatlesque rock songs.

2:39 PM  
Blogger raymond pert said...

"Lady, there's no romance in your soul."

The meaning of life summed up in seven words.

way to go!

6:09 PM  
Anonymous lil' ol' me.... said...

Hey, Mr. Pert, I'm not that 'original'. "No Romance" came from the title of an old song by, would you believe, the HOOSIER HOT SHOTS.

3:31 AM  

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