And also, like it or not, along with the genuinely talented musicians and artists in the entertainment field are those fad-of-the-moment idols who are nothing but superficial, manufactured image -- the post-teen pop singers bleating into their microphones are more often than not lip-synching along to their heavily engineered, computer enhanced, ramped-up studio recordings. Yes, it's something the trendy teenybopper stars have been doing on TV for 40 years but now they are doing it live on stage and calling it a performance. Interchangable in their uber-sexy appearance, attire, and blatantly provacative poses, these "singers" and their videos not only resemble one another, but run together in a blur of non-recognition after awhile. Sorry, gang. They're not talented.
It's invaded the opera world, too -- singers chosen for their youth, slenderness, attractiveness and sex-appeal instead of their voices -- even the decision of whether or not their photograph on the cover will sell the cd, let alone how they are going to appear on-stage or on a video. Vocal attributes are secondary, aside from the "wow" factor of some forced coloratura who will burn out in two years but can hit three high-D's in succession or a spinto who can declaim a death scene while lying upside-down on a chaise lounge. And they better be slender, good-looking, and under 35. With no little notoriety, the opera performers have been using microphones on stage too, and that is horrifying.
I can't listen to operatic or classical studio recordings done after 1985. They are too slickly engineered, too artificial, so lacking in ambience -- instead of verve and feeling, it's precise, digital, enhanced. Our performers from 80+ years ago would look aghast or howl with laughter at the idea of someone phoning in a studio performance over the computer, recording their track elsewhere and then downloading it to send to the studio to patch together orchestration and vocals.
Okay, so I'm an old fart. I can't abide standing there in Macy's riffling through a rack of blouses cringingly forced to be listening to the store's piped-in music of some pop chick groaning flatly through her plastic-surgeried nose: "I want my money back, I want my money back," when anyone in their right mind buying this little git's over-priced cd would want THEIR money back. Walk into Marshall's or TJ Maxx down the block in the shopping center and another flat, throaty groan of tuneless non-singing hits us amid the mash of equally tuneless, blandly computerized techno-pop background in no particular key. How can anyone call most of the popular contemporary crap out there music? No one's playing instruments, let alone singing. For those of you who will chuckle that our parents raged the very same thing about the rock and soul music of 30-40 years ago, sure they did, but remember there were tunes to those songs? That they didn't all sound alike and we could tell the difference of each title by what the song sounded like? That real instuments were played, synthesizers aside? And even those artists who really couldn't sing very well still put some heart and feeling into their performance, even if it was sappy soft-rock pop or some snarled earl-1980's punk. There's a good reason why we snap to attention with elated grins of recognition when we hear music from "the old days" whether it's a 70's heavy-metal hit from high school, some danceable soulful 60's classic, 50's doo-wop, or our beloved jazz greats from our grand and great-grandparents' era.