I want to first say thank you to the fans who came up to me this past weekend and told me in person that they enjoyed my writing. “Fans” isn’t really the right word, but it happened at places where I was being paid to perform, so fuck you, I have fans. In all seriousness I’m very proud and very thankful of the fact that I get to make my living doing something that I love. Playing music professionally is a lot like trying to be in the NFL. There are a LOT of people in their garages or in dive bars playing music right now, and the chance of actual success is slim to none. For the literal tens of thousands of bands out there, about 1% of musicians ever get the opportunity to pay their bills with their passion.
Whitney Houston is probably one of the purest singers in the history of modern music. Across genre, style, and generation she personified what REAL talent behind a microphone is. If the wind is blowing the right way, and there are some drunk people to help me out, sometimes I get in the same timezone on songs like “Don’t Stop Believing” – but Whitney rarely missed. On Grammy Night (and by the way, I WILL be enduring the awards show so that I can live-post my thoughts on facebook/twitter) it seems appropriate to essentially point out how much better Whitney Houston is compared to what passes for talented singers in 2012.
Just for a reference point, and for my younger readers. An “isolation track” is basically when the studio just focuses in on your channel of sound. It’s before any mixing, effects, processing, producing, etc. It’s a raw cut of your vocals, and nothing else. No bells, no frills, no whistles (and in the case of modern pop stars, no auto-tune):
If you know me at all, you know that I feel that Taylor Swift is single-handedly ruining music. This lanky tart won Best Female Vocalist. Now, you heard Whitney with just her voice, naked and uncut. I’ll be nice and even give TayTay a good band, and one of the best female singers of all time helping her out:
The performance was so bad that it literally took me a ton of work to find even that shitty home-tv recording of it. Her record people have done everything that they could to wipe that travesty from the face of the Earth. Yup, THAT is the “best” singer of our generation – at least that’s what her marketing people keep telling me.
You know, 22 years ago, a band won the “Best New Artist” Grammy and was forced to give it back when it was determined that they didn’t really sing any of their songs, and instead lip synced their performances. I believe that this band, Milli Vanilli, was innovative and pioneered a new direction for music.
I mean, would you rather people like Britney Spears actually… you know… SING?
I find it hilarious and sad that people watched the Super Bowl Halftime show where an aging pop star went out there and did slow-motion choreography while lip-syncing along to a backing track – AND PEOPLE SAID IT WAS GOOD! 22 years ago they would have taken her Grammy away, and now THAT is what passes for musical performance. 40 years ago, “The Monkees” were put together as a parody – a completely manufactured band. Now, bands like Nickelback end up as the biggest rock stars in the world while being as fake and unauthentic as humanly possible. Hey, at least they technically PLAY their own shitty music. What’s the difference between Milli Vanilli and other completely talentless people like Taylor Swift who couldn’t sing her way out of an auto-tuned paper bag?
We’ll miss you, Whitney. Not as much as your crack dealer, but we will. Next time you try to tell me how good modern pop artists are, watch this, and then stab yourself in the eyeball for being so easily manipulated by MTV, record companies, and marketing people who try to tell you that Taylor Swift deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as Whitney Houston.