A couple weeks ago I was trolling YouTube in search of pre-work amusement and stumbled upon Daughtry’s acoustic rendition of Lady Gaga’s ‘Poker Face’. While on the page – realizing that a good song is a good song in spite of my disdain for most things techno – I spotted a thumbnail claiming “Lady Gaga Performs Live In The Studio.” Having already seen footage of Ms. Bad Hair Month Germanotta doing up ‘Poker Face’ live on piano in classic Tori Amos fashion I was intrigued. Alas, it was the original techno version performed in some dinky European morning show studio that probably doubles as a dentist’s office after 9:00am, but she did indeed pull it off live and proved she has the chops.
I scrolled through the comments on the page, knowing full well the keyboard warriors lurking about flaming one another are always good for a laugh. I came upon an entry that read as follows:
“When she’s (performing) live I hate her voice! It’s just not what I’m used to when I listen to her songs on the radio.”
I was appalled. What kind of a moron actually thinks this way? To each his own, of course, but given that the girl was singing bang-on over the piped-in backing music there was nothing to bitch about. I’ve seen and heard a hell of a lot worse from artists I like.
Live performance? Puh-lease! Why oh why oh why ruin it for the true fans?
Then I remembered that we live in the age of Everything At Your Fingertips in the year of Check Your Brain At The Door. Opening one’s mind to more than what MTV and its ilk shove down the throat just isn’t normal. It’s a big bad world out there, much too scary to leave the comfort zone of sterile multi-media.
My generation is being succeeded by a legion of spoiled brats.
I discussed this very topic with former Death Angel bassist Dennis Pepa a while ago. We traded stories during an interview about our days growinig up, sitting on pins and needles waiting for the next release from our favourite bands that had been delayed three times already. Spending hours in our favourite record stores looking for something new to get us through to the next paycheque. Freaking out when the short-haired banker type with the pink tie beat me to the last copy of Powerslave, and what do you mean there won’t be any new ones in until NEXT WEEK?!
Things that today’s Generation Duh can’t even imagine. With a flick of a switch they have access to music and entertainment of every conceivable kind, giving absolutely no thought to what’s behind it. Emotion, angst, joy, aggression… big deal.
Live performance? Why bother if it sounds so awesome on the mp3 I just scored? It sounds… different live. Ick!
Music for today’s youth is all about the having and not the experience, about staying the course with blinders on. Sad fucking times indeed.
There’s no question that technology has benefitted musical acts in every corner of the world. Artists from Dubai, Estonia, Chile or Kenora, Ontario who wouldn’t have had a chance in hell 20 years ago of garnering any kind of attention outside their home towns now boast international fanbases. Real music fans who thought they knew everything about their genres of choice are discovering new and exciting artists putting their own spin on old themes. And yet, there’s the shadow side to this wonderful tool that is turning out a collective of lazy, numb-witted, uninspired music “fans.”
Here’s hoping that when someone solves the illegal downloading problem they come up with a way to get these clued-out slobs out of the house and into the real world. The world where even a tacky techno-princess deserves respect for not keeping it simple and stupid.