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avril showers
December 3, 2006 6:20 AM   Subscribe

'Cause 2006 is butt naked. How to Create a Sexy Pop Star, a video clip from the film "Before the Music Dies."
posted by four panels (48 comments total)

 
It'll be funny when that girl ends up getting a record deal out of all this.
posted by mullingitover at 6:45 AM on December 3, 2006


That was quite enlightening, in a "the world's going to hell even faster than I thought" way. The pizza was a bad mistake, though. A wad of pizza sticking out of your mouth is just not sexy.
posted by languagehat at 6:48 AM on December 3, 2006


Sadly, the scene in the article about people coming out of the Ashlee Simpson "concert" says it all: most people just don't care.

The comment from Branford Marsalis on blind artists really got to me. Yet there's no doubt he's right.
posted by tommasz at 6:49 AM on December 3, 2006


From the YouTube comments:
Taylor Hannah (The jailbait in the clip) is also a (and quite possibly the hottest) anime voice actor including Super Milk Chan, Loki Ragnarok, and other ADV series. (All this from a quick google search.)

Oh thank heaven for women like her.
Yeeeeesh.

See Also: Brooke Hogan, the autotuned and highly manipulated pop-star daughter of Terry "Hulk" Hogan.
posted by beaucoupkevin at 7:43 AM on December 3, 2006


Now they just need to do an expose of the exposé of the exposé, where they show how they used a live drummer when they filmed the studio recording, but the final track uses a drum machine. ^_^
posted by Bugbread at 7:47 AM on December 3, 2006 [1 favorite]


The top-down, mega-label, got-a-stranglehold-on-commercial-radio music(k) industry is a hideous painted-face sham of a ghost of a whore, sucking up dollars and leaving nothing but ghastly shadows of emptiness in its wake. It's dead, it's rotting, it's worthless and it's soulless. But music is still alive and kicking , all over the place, all over the world. The thing is, people are gonna have to find it. They're not gonna be spoon-fed anything with any soul or substance from corporate entities whose only god is the greenback. By this point no one should even expect that Warner or BMG or whatever-the-fuck boardroom bottom-line bullshit bozo bean-counters are trying to sell you is any fucking good whatsoever. But there is good music out there. Ignore the bullshit!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:49 AM on December 3, 2006 [2 favorites]


The Monkees were popular too.
posted by smackfu at 7:51 AM on December 3, 2006


Josephine the Singer illustrates the final stage of the capitalist amusement industry's expropriation and manipulation of the role of musicians in society. A role that due to the inevitable commodification and fetishism of the sacred art form has in the last two hundred years has undergone a dramatic transformation. I need a beat.

Josephine the Singer by Consolidated from The Myth of Rock 1990.
posted by effwerd at 7:59 AM on December 3, 2006


Meh.
The points here are:
1- It's easy to write a bad pop song
2- There is software to correct out-of-tune singing.
3- Pretty girls are pretty, even while eating pizza.
Meh.
posted by signal at 8:16 AM on December 3, 2006


"OK... that's painful."

Says it all.
posted by psmealey at 8:30 AM on December 3, 2006


Sure, we here on PlanetBlue know this, but a lot of people dont. The is usefull the same way as The Evolution of Beauty is. It's one thing to know it happens, it's another to see it, hear it, show it, and prove it.
posted by Richard Daly at 9:04 AM on December 3, 2006


As shambolic and crappy as this stuff is, from the days of the Brill Building to American Bandstand to Ashlee Simpson, I suspect it has always ever been thus. Occasionally, you have had people like Buddy Holly and Frank Sinatra break the mold, but mainstream pop music industry has always been about packaging.
posted by psmealey at 9:13 AM on December 3, 2006


It's been pretty obvious for a while now that this is how the pop music business works (I mean, it was obvious to me as a teenager in the late 80s). It's hard to f

On the Dylan quote: I find it nonsensical. There was mindless pop music all over when Dylan was a rising star. It smacks of the "kids just don't like real music" crap I hear so often from folks that grew up in the late 60s. It may be a little worse now, but it's not some cataclysmic sea change. The music of the height of the Dylan era was the result of a once-in-a-lifetime cultural phenomenon.

There has always been crap music. It's always been about money (at least since the turn of the 20th century).

And there's always been good music out there, too, among the crap.

90% of everything is crap.

(When you watch a modern pop artist live, you realize there must be some pretty sophisticated software to clean up the tone-deaf singer's voice. That was cool, to see it in action.

My metric for really respecting [as opposed to just enjoying] a musician as an artist is to see them live. If they can do it live, they're the real thing. Assuming that their live is actually live).
posted by teece at 9:16 AM on December 3, 2006


meow!
posted by phaedon at 10:16 AM on December 3, 2006


Now, if Taylor Hannah were to cover the songs on the MeFi compilation disc and release that, then you'd have something.
posted by JDC8 at 10:32 AM on December 3, 2006


That was quite enlightening, in a "the world's going to hell even faster than I thought" way. The pizza was a bad mistake, though. A wad of pizza sticking out of your mouth is just not sexy.

I think that bit was a joke.
posted by delmoi at 10:37 AM on December 3, 2006


I think it was meant to mock product placement.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:58 AM on December 3, 2006


I like recordings and I don't care how they make them as long as I like the way they turn out. If, say, Peter Gabriel did not really write and record any of the Peter Gabriel records, I still like the records. I'm not a Gabriel groupie. I don't dream of hearing him sing directly into my ear.

It's the same story with live music. As long as I like it, I like it. If the real Outkast is two short fat albinos hiding behind a curtain, well, as long as they fool me and I like the show, I get what I paid for – the Outkast show.

But they're not allowed to mess up and reveal themselves and disappoint me. I pay for the illusion (starting with microphones and amps and reverb and echo and lights and greasepaint and girdles and capped teeth and going on up to pitch correction and the rest) and part of the deal is that they must maintain the illusion for the life of the music. After no one cares about the Beatles, after all the screamers are done with screaming, it's OK to admit that, yes, Paul is dead.
posted by pracowity at 11:01 AM on December 3, 2006 [1 favorite]


This is why we need to pirate music. You're giving us crap, Recording Artists Association of America. The only way for us to find real music is to suck it off the airwaves. This is your fault.
posted by tehloki at 11:06 AM on December 3, 2006


I think that bit was a joke.

See, I can't even tell anymore, now that you kids have gone and turned everything all "ironical."
posted by languagehat at 11:11 AM on December 3, 2006


You all do know that Erykah Badu's afro is a wig, right?
posted by Nahum Tate at 11:30 AM on December 3, 2006


It was a pretty good clip, but I would have liked it better if the song had turned out to be catchier. I mean, if their point was how easy it was to make a pop song, then the production should have been as good as your average pop song. It wasn't.

Still, 2006 is butt nekkid.
posted by Bookhouse at 11:45 AM on December 3, 2006


The only thing that surprises me is that people are surprised by this sort of thing. This has been going on forever, and- iIf you listen closely enough, you can usually tell when the only talent involved in a song is the producer/recording engineer. As much as I love punk and the DIY ethic though, there's nothing like a well-produced and engineered song. The song in the video clip wasn't especially well done though.
posted by lekvar at 11:46 AM on December 3, 2006


There has always been crap music.

That's true, but there is a distinctive difference today, as mentioned in the article, "the business model that once used profits from big, popular acts to support the development of new and lesser acts has broken down. In one American industry after another, from radio to records to books to retailing, the financial foundation for developing the next wave of talent has collapsed." That's a very important detail. The machine which allowed the development of bands as diverse as The Beatles in studios, due in no small part to George Martin's wizardry, and pop-schlock Journey, whose originations were due to a producer in the industry, who mapped out their entire career and catalogue in advance. Even the punk "backlash" against the over-produced bands was, in itself, the brainchild of a producer in the industry. Brilliant. Manufacturing the rebellion needed to keep it alive. (To be fair, what happened around the edges was interesting ...)

The industry doesn't try to develop artists anymore. A&R people aren't going to nurture a band the way they used to (yes, good riddance to most of those leeches, but some of them were very creative in their own right). All the industry does is pump out whatever they think will sell advertising on radio stations. The DJ-centric album-rock stations of the '70s are a distant memory. The long format of an LP expanded music beyond the singles-driven rock and roll era of the '50s; the move back to singles (in the form of mp3s) has forced a reversion. Excepting public and listener-supported radio, media is consolidated and owned by very few players, and programming is formulaic, top-down, and pre-programmed. Something is different this time.
posted by krinklyfig at 11:52 AM on December 3, 2006


It's meant to sell a movie, much like the Development of Beauty, (Richard Daly link above), is meant to sell soap, we all know that, right?

Just checking.

On a tangent, if I were in big business, I'd already have backup plans for generating a zillion of micro-brands to win local loyalty of clever people like those who frequent MeFi, and to hide from their prying eyes the fact that their conscientiously spent money still goes to one single pocket in one rich land.
posted by Laotic at 11:52 AM on December 3, 2006


mainstream pop music industry has always been about packaging.

What psmealey said. Without making a list of names and hurting fans feelings, the manufacturing of pop stars has been part of the music industry - note that last word well - *at least* since the 1950s.

A lot of the less-talented "stars" hired mostly for their looks back then — to sell records and teen magazine covers — were, and are, treated like dirt ... But they were kids, used and tossed away when the *industry* was done with them. (The movie industry sometimes treated child actors in the same way.) Not even the big-name stars were immune from pressures to amp up, their stagecraft. Of course the pressures increased when MTV came along.

If music lovers were blissfully unaware of all this in the past, that's too bad. And it's hard to blame the industry alone, fans got what they clamored for. They created demand that lots of people jumped in to fill. In the early days of rock'n'roll, the kids didn't write the music — adults did. Teen dollars were a big, new market; with few exceptions it was a decade before teen songwriters arrived to fill the demand.

Americans, at least, live in a country full of people that like capital and like to fuel fame ... and shouldn't act so shocked at the outcome. A lot of musicians died an early death trying to live up to the hype the fans expected from their idols.
posted by Twang at 11:54 AM on December 3, 2006


from the second article:

the culture's growing emphasis on physical beauty; and a mysterious loss of humanity and heart, certainly in the music business and perhaps in the species.

crap crap crap crap crap crap crap crap.

are people seriously so weak-minded as to believe "emphasis on physical beauty" is a new thing, when it's clearly observable in the mating behavior of humans throughout history, not to mention other animals?

The real question is, who's the bigger ass-clowns, the people manufacturing crappy music, or the "filmmakers" trying to cash in on the manufacture of crappy music while simultaneously trying to paint themselves as somehow morally superior.

I vote for "b." Like fellow assclown "Banksy," they are cashing on those they claim to hate, and they are not nearly as clever as they think.
posted by drjimmy11 at 12:07 PM on December 3, 2006


Am I the only one who heard "2006 is butt naked Wednesdays?" Because normally, I hate Wednesdays.
posted by Partial Law at 12:12 PM on December 3, 2006


She said it's hard for me to see
How one little boy got so ugly
Yes, my luttle girly, that might be
But there ain't nobody that can sing like me

Ain't nobody that can sing like me
Way over yonder in the minor key
Way over yonder in the minor key
There ain't nobody that can sing like me
posted by The White Hat at 12:15 PM on December 3, 2006


90% of everything is crap.

...and 99% of the remaining 10% is not all that good either.
posted by tkchrist at 12:52 PM on December 3, 2006


James McMurtry on Austin City Limits January 13th.

That will make you feel better about music.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 1:07 PM on December 3, 2006


Most of these complaints actually parse to "I'm old and I miss my youth".
Whenever new art/entertainment production or distribution systems come out, people start whining about how this changes everything, the new generations.... blah blah blah.
This happened with player pianos, with wax cylinders, etc., etc.
In 30 years or so, when all performers are Idoru-like synthesized, people will be whining about how at least Britney was human, etc., etc.
There is nothing special about these times we live in except that we are experiencing them. These are not the end times, everything has not changed.
posted by signal at 1:18 PM on December 3, 2006


I'll say this though. The US produces the best worst music in the world. I can't stand most of the crap on the airwaves, but it's gold compared to a lot of countries' pop music. Eurovision anybody?

Also, listen to the pop they play next time you're at your favorite falafel joint. It's like listening to the worst example of pop from 15 years ago times ten. Though I have to admit, I don't speak Lebanese, so the lyrics might rock.

I do have a soft spot in my heart for soft Scandanavian pop/dance. That might be our stiffest competition.
posted by Telf at 1:20 PM on December 3, 2006


I'll say this though. The US produces the best worst music in the world. I can't stand most of the crap on the airwaves, but it's gold compared to a lot of countries' pop music. Eurovision anybody?

So true.
posted by Anything at 4:13 PM on December 3, 2006


I watched this movie when it first went through Austin -- it's excellent. This clip doesn't even begin to do it justice. It's just exceptional.
posted by spiderwire at 4:16 PM on December 3, 2006


MetaFilter: 90% of everything is crap
posted by bwg at 4:53 PM on December 3, 2006


Eurovision had a lot of bad music this year, but it was won by a rockin' and very good heavy metal band - and I don't even like heavy metal much. They were also quite beautiful, but they couldn't help being made that way.
posted by jb at 5:02 PM on December 3, 2006


I think there are a couple of reasons why some people believe that music is on a steady decline.

1) Their tastes have become stagnant. It happens to some people; they become fixated on a particular style, and they end up listening to the same songs for the rest of their lives (with some exceptions).

2) They aren't young anymore. Musicians don't just pop into existence when they're 40... most of them start experimenting in their college days, and a lot of great music comes out of these scenes. But if you're not in college, it's hard to find out about new, young, non-manufactured artists.

3) It's more comforting to think that music is declining than it is to realize the truth: people don't have any goddamn taste. As someone said earlier, 90% of everything is crap, but the average person is perfectly willing to listen to crap as long as the studios provide it. ("Hell, at least it's not silence... silence is boring.")

/bitter music fan.
posted by mazatec at 5:44 PM on December 3, 2006


Here's a good place to start looking for the stuff that isn't crap.
posted by flabdablet at 5:57 PM on December 3, 2006


Eurovision anybody?

Eurovision is not a fair representation of any of the countries competing. For example, consider contemporary British pop music and compare it to the recent British entries in Eurovision. Not comparable. There are many music scenes going on in the UK, many good acts and good recordings. None of it is at all related to Eurovision.

It is similar in all other competing countries. Eurovision music is peculiar to Eurovision. Songs are written and groups are formed or "discovered" (dug up) just to win the contest. Real musicians in the competing countries tend to scorn that competition.
posted by pracowity at 10:00 PM on December 3, 2006


In a pivotal moment in the movie, filmmakers Joel Rasmussen and Andrew Shapter use man-on-the-street interviews with people coming out of an Ashlee Simpson concert to demonstrate what the radio and record industries have wrought: Music fans who have never heard of Bob Dylan, and can only giggle at the notion that musical acts once drove people to burn their bras or mount a political protest.

This is a pivotal moment? Come on. Even back in Bob Dylan's prime, I doubt that the equivalent demographic had heard of Bob Dylan or political protests.
posted by TwoWordReview at 2:45 AM on December 4, 2006


Wait, the Monkees weren't a real band?

Wait, they were?

What's a real band again?
posted by phearlez at 8:56 AM on December 4, 2006


In 30 years or so, when all performers are Idoru-like synthesized, people will be whining about how at least Britney was human, etc., etc.
posted by signal


Maybe your people will, but my people won't.
posted by NationalKato at 11:27 AM on December 4, 2006


This is a pivotal moment? Come on.

It's a pivotal moment in the film. The way the clip of the girls is woven in with the narrative (they can sing the words to "LaLa" but have less than no knowledge about musical culture) is just heart-wrenching.

If you've watched the entire documentary, that one moment really does have a particular painfulness to it.
posted by spiderwire at 2:48 PM on December 4, 2006


"Musical culture"? What the fuck is that? Why are today's teenagers supposed to give a flying fuck about what the teenagers of 30 or 40 years ago listened to?
People listen to what they want to listen to. Labels, radios, etc., are a business, they do not respond to some higher calling, and they have no responsibility other than making a buck. If people buy crap, that's their problem.
posted by signal at 5:48 PM on December 4, 2006


You've learnt no lessons
All that time so cheaply spent
There's no youth culture
Only masks they let you rent


XTC, "Travels in Nihilon," 1980
posted by ZenMasterThis at 7:36 PM on December 4, 2006


It's a pivotal moment in the film. The way the clip of the girls is woven in with the narrative (they can sing the words to "LaLa" but have less than no knowledge about musical culture) is just heart-wrenching.

Yeah, I get that alright, but what I'm saying is that this isn't damning evidence. Back in the sixties I'm sure the young girls could sing all the words to 'I wanna hold your hand' or 'puppy love' or whatever but couldn't give a fuck about what Dylan was singing about or the politics of the time, nothing much has changed. If this is the pivotal point in the movie then it can't be saying much, can it?
posted by TwoWordReview at 4:31 AM on December 5, 2006


Yeah, I get that alright, but what I'm saying is that this isn't damning evidence.

No, that's not what I was saying. The primary point of the clip isn't to comment on the broader culture -- it's an aesthetic counterpoint in the film to a bunch of brilliant artists like Bonnie Raitt and Branford Marsalis explaining how the industry creates fans like that.
posted by spiderwire at 5:45 AM on December 5, 2006


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