Jorge Lopez

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Seek the Musical Truth

After wasting two hours of my life watching the insipid popularity contest that was the MTV Video Music Awards, I remembered why it is I’m slowly bit surely becoming more and more disillusioned with the state of popular music these days and the drivel they’ve been playing on the radio as of late.

Having been a member of eMusic for a week or so now, I’ve come to notice how much stuff gets overlooked in favor of such nonsense like “Fergalicious” or “Buy U a Drank”. Mind you, I too can appreciate popular catchy tunes like “Makes Me Wonder” and “The Way I Are”. It seems to me however, that even the tune with the most ridiculous lyrics still gets tons of attention when there are artists out there who can in fact write catchy tunes that actually have something to say.

Unfortunately, it’s these artists that are poorly marketed and thus fall under the radar and release an album that fails to sell as well as it should, like M.I.A. for example. Instead, the Billboard charts remain dominated by what’s on popular radio and the latest tune that keeps getting played over and over incessantly (I’m looking at you “Big Girls Don’t Cry”).

I wonder if perhaps this so-called sales slump the industry is currently in doesn’t have something at least partially to do with the fact that popular music in general well, it sucks. I do honestly think these labels need to go out and hunt down some good independent talent.

But there boys and girls lies another issue. For one, I’ve kept tabs on the music industry long enough to know that major labels are mostly manipulative money hungry corporations who dictate what you can and can’t release and thus stifle creativity. And that’s why so many artists who were once on major labels and had talent have gone the way of doing things on their own terms, even if that means sacrificing exposure and large sales (Aimee Mann for example).

Thus, I implore you to seek out the hundreds of musicians and singers out there who are doing their thing not necessarily for the sake of worldwide fame and money, but because they actually have a passion for music and have something to say. Just like many major label artists, I’m sure you’ll come across some indie band or something that well, they make it obvious why they remain an obscure act but for every “dud”, there’s a gem among the others that have lost (or never had) their luster.

And by all means keep supporting the major labels. Oftentimes talented artists do come along that manage to gain the acceptance of radio (Alicia Keys, Outkast) while not being some manufactured garbage. I say find a happy balance, you’ll be amazed at what you’ll come across.

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Britney and the VMAs

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Despite my high hopes and anticipation, I do have to join the masses who were disappointed by Britney Spears failed “comeback” performance. The keyword here is disappointed, I didn’t hate it. I’m one of those people who was actually rooting for her hoping this would return her to the spotlight (in a positive way) and demonstrate why Britney has always been an excellent performer, if not the most gifted singer.

Alas, she looked completely bored and like she put zero effort into re-solidifying her career with this performance. The fact that she didn’t even bother to lip synch at times was just sad. I’m still giving her the benefit of the doubt since she may have been nervous and let’s face it, after all the negative and questionable publicity she’s received, that must be pretty nerve-wracking to go out half naked and see hundreds of people quietly judging you based on your past transgressions. And unlike many who’ve commented on her figure, it didn’t bother me.

A lot of people are saying her career is now officially kaput, that this was her last shot and she screwed it up. Though I do think this is going to make it a great deal harder for her to reignite her career, I still think there’s hope for Britney. I mean, her new song “Gimme More” has had a polarizing effect on people. There are those that like it (such as myself) and the others who like it until they find out who the person singing it is and then end up hating it. Aside from the promotional work she’ll [desperately] need to do, I think she should stay out of the press and perhaps schedule a knockout performance on Conan, Letterman, or Leno along with an interview where she doesn’t come across as some loopy girl who’s lost it. If she can get over her jitters or whatever it is that’s been causing her to act all bizarre, there’s still hope.

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