Spoiling the Broth

There's no reason for it.

Well enough could be left alone and everything would be perfectly fine.

More importantly: Why do they do this to me?

Here's what I mean.

Listening to music is one of the most important things in my life. It plays in the background when I need to be creative. It makes me euphoric when I'm feeling happy. It helps me heal when I'm feeling sad. It wins me dance contests when I was in college.

Music matters.

So why do artists try to screw that up?

There are three things that make me want to get in a fistfight to protect the thing I love:

  1. When artists stop singing and let the crowd to take over. By any metric, Justin Timberlake is a great performer. He can sing, he can dance, and his shows are tightly organized. So why does he constantly stop doing his job and let the crowd take over? See it here. He's the expert. He's trained for years. At the same time, we've paid good money. We've made special travel plans to see him. What I didn't do is go to all that trouble to listen to thousands of drunk people sing his songs. What gives? Who wants to go to a show and listen to a Starbucks barista sing JT lyrics? If you need a break, Justin, take a break. We'll wait. BUT SING YOUR OWN DARN SONGS!
  2. When artists go off-beat on purpose. Can anyone explain this? For example, Pink's lyrics to Who Knew start: You took my hand/You showed me how/You promised me you'd be around. Excellent! Poignant! On-beat! But sometimes in concert, she might go: You took my hand./You...showedmehow./You...promisedme...you'dbearound. Off-beat! Rushed! Abrasive to the ears! Why do that? How does pausing and then hurrying the next line help the song in any way? It doesn't. It only makes it worse. It always makes it worse. The person who's been waiting months to hear Pink sing this song live now gets slapped with this sub-standard version. And, again, it doesn't make anything better in any way. But a lot of people do it.
  3. When artists sing "mayyyy" instead of "me." When was the international song-singing summit where it was universally recognized that dragging the vowel out in the word "me" was acceptably artistic? It's not the same word. They don't sound the same. THEY ARE NOT INTERCHANGEABLE! My least favorite example of this occurs in All Cried Out by Allure. This was a powerfully emotional song when Lisa, Lisa and The Cult Jam sang it, and Allure does a nice job with it up until the 2:52 mark of the video. At that point, the unthinkable happens. The first line is, "I gave you all of me." (pronounced properly, "me" rhyming with "see") No problem. The next lines are, "How was I to know/You would weaken so easily." Perfect. Great line and "easily" rhymes marvelously with "me." But that's not what they do! They sing, "You would weaken so easilayyy!" What was that? Easilayyyy? That no longer rhymes with "me." The word "easily" was specifically chosen to bookend the rhyme with "me," and yet they sang it with an "...ayyyy" on the end when they absolutely didn't have to. It helped nothing and hurt everything. Inconceivable!

So what's the big deal? My deeply philosophical answer is that sloppiness begets sloppiness. A great coach once said, "You can't be a slob six days of the week and expect to be a champion on the seventh." In that regard, doing those sloppily ignorant things could be harming your life in subconscious ways.

The other answer is that ridiculousness can hurt sales. I will never go to live concert if I know the artist has a history of letting the crowd sing. And I will never purchase a song with unnecessarily butchered rhymes. 

If there are people like me out there, then doing silly things can hurt someone's bottom line.

Then again, maybe it's just mayyyy.

My latest book is The Inevitability of Becoming Rich, and you can find that here.