September 10th, 2003

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08:23 am - on Justin Timberlake's great contribution to the recording industry...

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on Justin Timberlake's great contribution to the recording industry... - graffiti.maverick — LiveJournal

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[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: September 10th, 2003 - 07:08 am (Link)
Yeah, Britney is different. I look at her and I see a prototypical pop star. Just randomly looking at a few women who have Top 50 albums right now, I think Mary J. Blige, Christina Aguliera and Kelly Clarkson all have naturally stronger voices than Britney, and I find Beyonce, Shania Twain and Ashanti naturally more attractive. But Britney has a certain IT quality that makes you a pop sensation. Its something that makes her appealing to a very large mainstream of the populace while alienating the rest of them.

I think there are 3 main groups of innovative performers. The classic examples I can of the first are Michael Jackson and Madonna. Britney is here, though obviously not on their level (yet?). She is an entertainer first, and a musician second, if that makes any sense. Innovations are made through recreation of her image over and over again (or at least the attempts to do so) while finding some nebulous means of connecting with the audience. And yet they are talented enough along the wide array of spectrum that is performance to really shine. These are people who put on concerts that are about spectacle and they sell out all over the globe. If the fanbase is a pie chart, these people can score half of it. The problem is that the fans are very very fickle, so you can be platinum one day, and a year later everyone hates you.

Christina Aguliera on the other hand, I liken to something closer to Prince or P-Funk. This group is musically more talented than Britney (much like Prince to Michael or Madonna) and willing to perform, but clearly concentrating on changing the music more. Thus creating more sophisticate works, but they are less ubiquitously accessible. So although they willing to perform, and may do a remarkable job at it, they are less able to strike up that total fervor than the first group. They can grab any amount of the fanbase. Its touch and go, some albums may bomb, others may sell bigger than those in group one. And many fans won't follow from album to album. But who cares? Here is where musical innovation and experimentation is happening.

Then there are your Barry Manilows (sorry Steph) or your Tori Amoses or your Tracy Chapmans. They are probably more talented along a very narrow part of the spectrum than anyone else. So narrow that they alienate a vast majority of the public, but so excellent within that 2 degrees of the pie chart that they can be legendary. Barry Manilow can make the same basic album over and over again, and every one of his fans will buy it. The same is true of Luther Vandross, or Rush, just with different fanbases.

Justin on the other hand I think is just outside of the entire chart. He's like Elvis. He's not exceptionally talented, he's not exceptionally innovative. He doesn't have anything particularly interesting to say. He's just an otherwise unassuming guy who has enough of the talent and the IT quality to be amusing without really pissing anyone off. And not having a real message means that he can be more or accessible to anyone. "ooh, he's singing about a girl he broke up with... that happened to me once. " Just like "oh, yeah I would be upset too if someone stepped on my blue suede shoes." Light-hearted, refreshing, and fun. A delightful snack. Dumb but harmless.


thanx for the trip well wishes

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