July 18, 2006

Pop Princess Poseurs

Posted in Celebrities, Health and Fitness, Music, Personal at 2:49 pm by Elizabeth Swann

Have any of you noticed how many of today’s pop artists sound terrible when singing live? It seems to me like they are out of tune for an entire song. I recently heard Kelly Clarkson, Cascada, and Rihanna sing live, and they were awful. It sounded like the way someone would sing at a karaoke bar. Of course these pop artists’ albums sound near-perfect, but if one cannot sing a decent song live then there is a serious problem. Anyone could make a CD and sound really good with all the right digital voice-enhancing techniques and everything else that is involved to get that crystal-clear sound. The real talent appears when one does not need enhancement; it is a natural voice that has been cultivated from years of experience.

While I must say I am a fan of some of these pop princesses, I think their music sells so well because of their bodies, as they have become more of sex symbols rather than being known for their vocals. The reason the average American’s music wouldn’t sell is because they don’t fit that “ideal” image. What kind of message does this send to young men and women? For men, it teaches them them to lust and to desire women who are sexually attractive. While this is damaging, it is even more so to young girls. They see what is desirable, and they feel like they have to fit this perfect image to be accepted. What may then ensue is a period, or even a lifetime, of self-consciousness about their weight and looks as they try to do anything within their reach to attain “perfection.” They often begin without even realizing the harmful effects on the body and mind.

Sadly to say, I have been caught up in this way of thinking–and the more obsessed I became, the more discontent I was with my body. Instead of being thankful for what I did have, I was constantly comparing myself with other girls and their waistlines. But I was never satisfied, even when I was close to reaching my ideal weight. Fortunately, I eventually realized the extent of my foolishness and my wrong way of thinking. I thought being thin would make me happy, but it never did. I was focusing on someone I could never be instead of becoming the woman I was intended to be. An outward beauty does not last, and I wouldn’t want a guy who wanted me just for my body. So with that mostly behind me (I’m sure I’ll always struggle a bit), I am now working on attaining that inner beauty which is of far more value and consequence in the long run. I know changing will be a long and challenging process, but it will be worth it all in the end. Life is too short and precious, and I don’t want to waste it on mere trivialities.

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1 Comment »

  1. judyrose said,

    Your post reminded me of something I saw many years ago (decades, probably). I was watching the old “Tonight Show” and Rosemary Clooney was a guest. I was a voice student at the time and well acquainted with that “naked in public” feeling whenever I had to sing anything without the comfort and cover of instrumental accompanyment (preferably an entire orchestra). I was a good singer with a respectable voice, but had lots of stage fright. This is probably why I never went into it professionally. But back to the story… Johnny Carson (or Jack Paar, it was so long ago that I don’t remember) asked Rosemary to sing something. She didn’t do a prepared number with band arrangement. She just sat on the couch and sang something that most readers of this comment will likely never have heard. It was a song called “Tenderly”, the first line of which is “The evening breeze caressed the trees tenderly.” Maybe that will jog some memories. She sang it a capella, and the performance was simple, clean, and perfect. I was so impressed, not only because of the beauty of her artistry, but because I knew how difficult it was (for me) to sing my best under such conditions (even with only a living room full of friends and family, not to mention a full studio audience and millions of viewers!) There was no high tech available in those days to prop up a performer with little talent. Singers had to be real musicians. Physical beauty was a plus, but not the most important thing. Today, I believe people become famous because of their potential to be celebrities, not because of their ability to perform well. I prefer the old standards (you can read that statement in several ways.)


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