For starts, I know the Super Bowl was, in Internet years, several ice ages ago, and the Grammys pretty much before I was even born, but several lingering comments this week have started a rattling in my coffee-buggin' brain this morn, so I thought I'd type.
The concerns of which I speak regard Nashville's youngest, brightest, comeliest songbirds, Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood, and their performances at the aforementioned televised events. Critics, bloggers, trolls, and the like from various Interweb outlets have registered complaints, commented snidely, and made more than a few mentions that Swifty was off-key during her performance with Stevie Nicks at the Grammys, and Carrie Underwood's pitch fell flat during the national anthem at the Super Bowl.
Maybe it's because I've grown old adoring snotty punk singers whose limitations have little need for pitch control, but frankly, if these ladies can't sing, then I'm not sure my ear is refined enough to tell who can. Obviously, if these two award-winning broads were incapable of holding a note, we'd have no idea who they are. Pro Tools can work wonders, but Grammy-winning miracles? Either I'm entirely too forgiving or audiences have grown impossibly particular.
To keep this from becoming a 10-page essay, I ask of you the following questions in hopes of sparking a discussion: Are T-Swift and C-Wood really bad singers? Have nine seasons of American Idol turned every Joe Six-Pack into an armchair Simon Cowell? Have studio tricks done to our performance expectations what magazine airbrushing has done to our body image? Would anyone have given Patsy Cline, Aretha Franklin, Karen Carpenter or Madonna this much shit 20-50 years ago or is it only this modern genre of pop vocal performers that's expected to be completely flawless? Do modern audiences prefer pristine pitch to an impassioned and soul-bearing performance, or is this genre so devoid of these things that technical accuracy is all that's left to appreciate? Aren't folks being a little unfair to expect both the virtuoso capacity of Susan Boyle and the effortlessly adorable mug of Taylor Swift?