Posted by: docdenbow | October 9, 2011

It Means The World To Me Cos I’ve Always Wanted To Do This


When I was in my teens there were some great groups and solo artists. Roxy Music, David Bowie, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, even pop stuff like Slade, T.Rex and the Sweet. There was Elton John before he went M.O.R. and lots lots more. The Eagles, Robin Trower, Trapeze, Deep Purple; the list is virtually endless. Almost without exception these were fine musicians with a true command of their instruments. It’s true that Emerson, Lake And Palmer were over the top and that Yes were boring but these blokes could really play. I remember early Queen and Be Bop Deluxe and both were something different with a great musicality and some originality in their sound. These statements make me sound like a really old man, but I believe this to be true.

In the last few years we have seen an increasing banality in popular music. The rise of Rap and DJ is something I fail to understand. The former is designed for people who have a lot to say, a good sense of rhythm but precious little musical talent. The DJ culture appears to be about learning to use something like Cubase and ripping off your “tunes” from somelse’s talent. The same goes for endless cover versions by spotting youths in “boy bands.” Now to me that’s a misnomer. A band to me implies an ability to play a musical instrument, so by that definition only McFly and Busted can possibly fall into that category.

Then we have the devices that are the most insidious all. They are the devil’s contribution to mediocrity. They are the sequencer and auto tune. It is true that the sequence has legitimate uses. It can help you demo songs in a home studio or helps make PC game designers to build repetitive loops for the crappy games they bring out. Sadly the Crazy Frog came about because of a sequencer. I bet Hendrix is turning in his grave.

The worst of all is the autotune where talentless bozos can churn out blandola and sound like they have half a voice. The use of this autotune is widespread and is even used in a live environment. If you have a decent set of ears, a decent hi fi and can bear listening to the kind of pap that uses auto tune then it’s very easy to spot. The vocal sounds compressed and somehow robotic. Technology is good, but not that good.

Like I said at the start, and you can probably guess, I look back on the 1970s as halcyon time for music. I also said these were fine musicians who made it to the summit via sheer hard work, graft and many hours in back of Ford Transits.

Any of you heard of Emily Nakanda? No, thought not. How about Phillip Magee? Drawing a blank there too. Bet you know who Kerry McGregor is? Ahhh 3-0 to me. Tell you what I’ll give you a clue.

“It means the world to me.”
“Me Gran died last year and always wanted me to be star.”
“ I’ve always wanted to do this.”
“Big arenas, million selling albums.”
“It’s better than being a barmaid/scaffolder/working in Burger King/doing time for violence.”

Yes boys and girls it’s that star making money machine the X-Factor.
Look at this list below. How many of these folks achieved their dreams? They all appeared in the live finals of the X-Factor. Some of them even won the competition. Most if not all were devoured by Simon Cowell’s Faustian money making machine. Oh yes I wonder how much money the winners actually made. You know the ones who remained under Cowell’s control. Last years winner has to be disposed of to make way for this year’s winner. Reminds me of something – can’t think what.

Perhaps the saddest thing of all is that 16 million UK residents go on this rollercoaster ride of emotion, sharing the highs and lows of the contestants and promising to buy any future releases. Well that never happens because these contestants are so devoid of real talent that a long career is beyond them. Even a short career eludes many. Pliable winners like Shayne Ward, Leon Jackson and Joe McElderry are disposed on like a soiled tissue. Steve Brookstein who tried to stand up to Cowell left the great man’s stable of stars due to musical differences.

2 To Go
4Sure
4Tune
Andy Abraham
Addictiv Ladies
Rachel Adedeji
John Adeleye
Robert Allen
Nikitta Angus
Jamie Archer
Bad Lashes
Belle Amie
Alisha Bennett
Steve Brookstein
Scott Bruton
Alexandra Burke
Mary Byrne
Tabby Callaghan
Matt Cardle
Treyc Cohen
Cassie Compton
The Conway Sisters
Lloyd Daniels
Daniel DeBourg
Diva Fever
Nicholas Dorsett
Austin Drage
Brenda Edwards
Eton Road
Daniel Evans
Niki Evans
Rebecca Ferguson
Nicolo Festa
Futureproof
F.Y.D.
G4
Girlband
Aiden Grimshaw
Hope
Roberta Howett
Rachel Hylton
Leon Jackson
JLS
John & Edward
Danyl Johnson
Lucie Jones
Journey South
Kandy Rain
Verity Keays
Maria Lawson
Storm Lee
Leona Lewis
Cher Lloyd
Rikki Loney
Ruth Lorenzo
The MacDonald Brothers
Joe McElderry
Kerry McGregor
Ashley McKenzie
Phillip Magee
Ben Mills
Miss Frank
Dionne Mitchell
Olly Murs
Emily Nakanda
One Direction
Eoghan Quigg
Ray Quinn
Paije Richardson
Rhydian Roberts
Same Difference
Rowetta Satchell
Chico Slimani
Stacey Solomon
Kimberley Southwick
Beverley Trotman
The Unconventionals
Diana Vickers
Voices With Soul
Katie Waissel
Wagner
Shayne Ward
Laura White
Andy Williams
Chenai Zinyuku

Ciao For Now!
Denbow

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Responses

  1. This is why i avoid the show until the very end when my daughter insists we watch! Seems like no one wants to earn anything these days or work from the bottom up.

  2. It’s sad to see that Autotune has crept onto one of my favourite artist’s recent CD (Alice Cooper). However, having left the UK I am happy to say that I’ve not ever seen an episode of X factor/idol. I do have the misfortune though of knowing exactly what happened on the Saturday (or is it Sunday) night’s shennanigans, as a lot f my friends post the results as their facebook profile 🙂

    A valid point though Den about being chewed up a spat out. A friend of mine up here actually won the Finnish version of X-idol 2 yrs ago and after a fairly good 1st 6 months has been mostly ignored/forgotten by his label and management team, as he wants to do songs that he likes or wrote himself- not gonna happen according to his label, as “it won’t be popular”. So much for the public deciding what they want to listen to eh?

  3. Hi Doc, I agree with you totally here. A creative art has been reduced to a corporate cash cow. Bands don’t rise from the streets and clubs like the Beatles or the Stones any more. They are manufactured watered down toss that appeals to kids and teenagers. Ever noticed how girl and boy bands have a mix of content to appeal to as many kids as possible ie the posh one, the scary one, the sporty one etc… it’s all about marketing and money and very little to do with real talent and songwriting ability.

    RIP REM.

    Take care, Jay.

    • Hi Den, Your big brother Wolfie here! You and I are on the same wavelength about musical talent. A band/artist should first and formost be able to play/sing without artificial techno support. At my advanced age I use a drum box cos I have no drummer and a Zoom pedal for my acoustic guiter, and a bit of echo on vocals. I am no great talent with guitar but have a following that enjoys real live music, songs with tunes and lyrics we all remember. Would I get on X-Factor/Idol? Don’t think so, and don’t want to. KEEP MUSIC LIVE AND REAL.
      Power to the People, Wolfie


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