I need to get something off my chest – I am not a music purist.
Far from it, in fact. Whilst I try my best to develop a deep and intellectual love of a good guitar solo, a banging beat or a haunting melody my music taste remains hopelessly cheesy. And cheesy has its place, as the impending sixth series of the X-Factor, starting next Saturday, would testify.
And, with the advent of more than four months of Saturday night assaults on all that is holy in the world of music, will come the inevitable debate about whether there’s a place in the music would for such artists. It’s pretty well-documented how hard it is for reality TV winners and rejects to create a sustained career – let alone gaining the recognition as true artists they all (well most, anyway) claim to desire.
Look away now as I mention such luminaries as Steve Brookstein (he actually won the X-Factor?), Journey South (they didn’t), Andy Abrahams (him neither) and F*cking Chico (apparently he’s added the F*cking to the front of his name by popular demand). Butlins and Pontins owe these people a debt of gratitude, for they sure can fill a holiday camp in Bognor in the height of summer, and its hard now to believe that they once had the Great British public arguing over their Saturday night pint about their respective merits. No really, I’m sure they did…
But how likely is it that everyone who comes after them is going to go the same way? There are exceptions – Leona Lewis has gained a lot of respect on both sides of the Atlantic and Will Young, whilst maybe a shadow of his former self, gained kudos simply for sticking it to the man (the high trousered man anyway) and doing his own thing. Ask any self-made successful artist and they’ll give you short shrift. Of course these talentless goons can’t do anything, yet they continue year on year to have their five minutes, and the collective five minutes have begun to add up to a whole lot of airplay and media exposure which seems to drag on interminably.
The rise and rise of such shows is creating an obvious split in music, between the look-down-their-nosers and the oh-but-isn’t-it-a-catchy-tune-and-isn’t-he/she/they-lovely-to-his/her/their-mum-gran-dog-local disabled orphaners. And it’s only going to get worse. I’d like to sit on the fence, but I fear it’s time to choose sides.
Are we going to Dumbarton to watch The MacDonald Brothers turn on the lights, or are we going to Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall to watch Elbow collaborate with the Hallé Orchestra? From next Saturday we get to decide as the ‘journey’ starts all over again.
I wonder what Cheryl’s going to wear?