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411 Fact or Fiction Music 11.09.12: Don’t Go Chasing Holograms

November 9, 2012 | Posted by Joseph Lee

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Welcome to another edition of Fact or Fiction: Music. I’m your host, Joseph Lee.

This week we have Chad Webb against Andy Rackauskas.

Round 1
1) You expect Britney Spears to return to The X Factor next season. Andy Rackauskas: FACT.

Honestly, I can’t figure out why anyone would want to watch this program. But I don’t see why she wouldn’t continue on. She’s not really (lip syncing) singing anymore, so she needs to earn a dollar somehow. And the alternative film industry in the Valley hasn’t called yet…

Chad Webb: FICTION.

Let me count the ways I do not care about this. But to address the question, the latest word is that Fox wants to cut production costs and that includes judge salaries. If money is an issue, certain judges will not return. The trend with American Idol seems to be to lure in a popular musician in hopes that they increase ratings. For the musician, they simply want to keep their name in the limelight. Once that plateaus and they’ve raked in a giant check for sitting there and pretending to be nice, they go back to their day job. Britney will likely do the same thing and not think twice. And even if she’s forced out due to budget cuts, it’s not like she can’t do anything else. She did make music last I heard. I don’t watch X Factor, but I have skimmed over the show and seen some clips from this season. Simon Cowell and L.A. Reid basically look over the shoulders of Spears and Demi Lovato and talk to each other because really, no one takes the opinion of the other two seriously. They are present so viewers have a familiar face. Spears didn’t look all that comfortable in the segments I saw, but hey, who knows? I doubt she’ll come back. I would wager that they’ll search for another, fresh name to fill her spot.

Score Card: 0 for 1
Round 2
2) You enjoyed The Killers’ music video for “Miss Atomic Bomb”.
Andy Rackauskas: FICTION.

There’s nothing wrong with the video. But we’ve been seeing the same video ever since Bon Jovi went on his steel horse. It’s old hat. Music video is not what it once was, so really anything from a decent band isn’t really a bad thing. But, I’d much prefer something a little more out of the ordinary.

Chad Webb: FICTION.

A music video that consists merely of behind-the-scenes footage from their tour? Yeah, I’m pretty sure we’ve seen that before…like a zillion times before, so I’m going to award a hearty thumbs down for the music video. I do enjoy the song a lot though and as a matter of fact The Killers new album Battle Born is quite good, but as I’ve stated on here in the past, music videos have to be really impressive for me to care and this one was just thrown together so they could have a music video. I would wager only die-hard fans actually give a hoot about watching the group fool around backstage and seeing them in slow-motion on stage. I like their music, but I can stick to audio thanks.

Score Card: 1 for 2
Round 3
3) You’re not surprised by the success of Taylor Swift’s new album Red. Andy Rackauskas: FACT.

Taylor’s a pretty girl with a nice voice that people seem to like. I don’t like it. But I’m not surprised others do.

Chad Webb: FACT.

I understand that Taylor Swift is immensely popular right now, so I am not shocked by the success of this album, but for the life of me, I do not understand why people like her so much. I have listened to her music, including Red and it’s simply generic pop. Nothing wrong with that if that’s your thing, but there is absolutely nothing that separates her approach from the dozens of other comparable female pop artists with pianos and guitars apart from the assumption that she comes off as a really nice person. Every song on Red sounds the same. And it’s not like I just don’t get music that younger kids enjoy. I listen to anything and everything, but her popularity baffles me. I have talked about this before in the music zone and the mere insinuation that Kanye West’s stunt at the VMAs boosted her existing fame resulted in her fans handing me plenty of lashings. Taylor Swift just happens to be one musician people like lately. Since her debut, she has been getting progressively more popular, so Red’s sales should not come as a shock.

Score Card: 2 for 3


Round 4
4) The idea of a new Eminem album in 2013 excites you.
Chad Webb: FACT.

Definitely. I’ve always been an Eminem fan, even if I haven’t loved all of his albums (Here’s looking at you Encore). But the greatness of The Marshall Mathers LP cemented that anything he releases will be of interest to me. The rap genre is crowded with mediocrity at the present time. There are a handful of solid artists that I’m still drawn to, but for the most part, everyone is spewing the same shtick. After all these years and so much gossip/controversy that has gone down with him, Eminem still has a unique voice and still delivers distinctive material, so I look forward to his new effort.

Andy Rackauskas: FICTION.

Eminem has talent and has his place in hip hop history…but I seriously doubt he’ll break any new ground and shock the world. Interested, yes. Excited, no.

Score Card: 2 for 4
Round 5
5) Bringing back Lisa “Left-Eye” Lopes as a hologram for a TLC reunion tour is a bad idea.
Chad Webb: FICTION.

I could answer this one of two ways. I’m not particularly fond of the idea, so I was tempted to respond “Fact,” but it’s not a bad idea from the slant that it will probably be successful for TLC. Let me say that I have detested this sudden hologram trend since it started and has continued to gain traction. The notion of having Tupac, Elvis, Michael Jackson, etc. tour as simply a three-dimensional light spectacle is dumb in my opinion. Why would someone want to pay for tickets to a concert to stare a special effect of a person that’s dead? Having said that, TLC’s plan isn’t nearly as bad because T-Boz and Chili are obviously still alive, so fans wouldn’t be paying just to see Left Eye as a hologram. They’d be paying for the full package and the hologram might be an entertaining bonus for people. So, while I personally wouldn’t pay to see this attraction, I can understand why some wouldn’t mind it. It’s still a money grab, but perhaps a more acceptable one? Bands have been faced with honoring or filling the shoes of deceased members before. Just this past summer I saw The Beach Boys. Dennis and Carl Wilson are dead, but the group played along with a video/audio of them for a couple of their songs on a big screen. Is including a hologram instead of archive video footage that much different? I suppose not, but there is a difference between paying tribute and pretending a person is on stage when they’re not. Having someone else step in for her might not be a terrible idea. Regardless, this can’t be cheap, so I for their sake I hope the gamble pays off, but count me out. In this case, I prefer the real thing, and that time has passed.

Andy Rackauskas: FICTION.

Lopes at least poses the threat of doing something offensive and ridiculous. Thus, it makes for a more interesting event other than just a run of the mill state fair reunion tour. I say bring her on and grab your popcorn.

Score Card: 3 for 5
Round 6
6) You’re impressed with what you’ve heard so far from Atoms for Peace.
Chad Webb: FACT.

Radiohead has always been one of my favorite bands, and I highly enjoyed Thom Yorke’s solo The Eraser as well, so Atoms for Peace is right up my alley. I like the supergroup trend and this line-up is intriguing to me as it includes Flea. Apparently the band performed Yorke’s solo record i its entirety in concert. The first song I heard was “Default,” which is good, not totally dissimilar to the most recent Radiohead sound. I’m anxious to hear the rest of their debut album though for making a concrete judgment. The style is described as “experimental rock, electronica,” so it should be something Yorke fans take to based on what I’ve heard. I also came across a remixed track that combines two songs maybe, “Tamer Animals/Other Side.” Not sure if that’s the version that will end up on the album, but it was ok, less impressive than “Default.”

Andy Rackauskas: FICTION.

I’m not honestly impressed. I prefer Yorke’s music with his regular outfit. It’s not that it’s bad. It’s simply not as interesting as Radiohead’s stuff. Some of what I’ve heard, like “Default” sounds kind of too much like something Muse might have done. Again, not bad…but not truly impressive. I simply expect more from him.

Score Card: 3 for 6

Anything you agree with? Disagree with? Sound off in the comment section.


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