The “Next Big Thing”

 Naturally, Mother Hen is a little bit country, but she is also more than a little bit rock and roll, baby!

In fact, MH appreciates a wide variety of musical styles, although she does have a strict policy on quality control, which Missy Hen and Junior Rooster have not yet come to appreciate.  Snoop Hoggy Hog has no business fouling up the Coop, thank you very much!

In all genres of music a phenomenon occurs regularly that has bemused MH for…let’s not mention how many years.  Periodically the media ponders the profound question: who will be the “next big thing?”

Fair enough. After all, a huge amount of time, effort and cash goes into seeking out fresh talent (hello, American Idol!) despite the incredible proliferation of the untalented (American Idol, again). Finding the goose that might potentially lay that golden album is an incredible challenge given the large number of folks with at least one tin ear apiece.

What gives Mother Hen the chuckles are the vast number of chuckleheads who think that the next big thing will look a lot like the last big thing.

Let us take a little wander through modern musical history, shall we?

Having searched for the next Frank Sinatra, how astonished the scouts must have been to find out his name was Elvis. While everyone was looking for a sophisticated crooner, instead the next big thing was a hillbilly singing rock and roll like he was born in Harlem. Go figure.

While everyone was wondering who could ever fill Mr. Presley’s shoes, how startled were the experts when” he” turned out to be a “they”? The Beatles blew in from the UK in the 60s on the wave of the British Invasion (since every talent-seeking exec promptly boarded the earliest flight over the pond to find “the next Beatles”), but surpassed all the other subjects of Her Majesty thanks to the combined songwriting genius of Lennon and McCartney.

Well, who on earth could follow the lads from Liverpool, really? Surely not some rhinestone rocker with foot-high platforms who swung both ways? Nobody saw Elton John coming, though in retrospect with those outfits how could we all have missed him? (Mother Hen was particularly fond of his feather couture.)  Attention-getting costumes aside, Sir Elton’s tunes, both fun and thoughtful, sometimes simultaneously, have ruled the airwaves for four decades.

Nor were any of us thinking that a pint-sized kiddie leading a band of brothers would grow up to be the King of Pop.  Michael Jackson had been there all along, yet he burst on the scene with a fresh approach to the Motown sound and music videos as if he’d come out of nowhere. MJ’s Thriller and military-style jackets, glitter glove and Moonwalk became iconic, and though the controversy surrounding his later years overshadowed his brilliance for a time, his music has profoundly impacted the world.

So where was the next great man of music to emerge? Although the subject of one’s sexual identity and remarkable fashion choices remained a constant, he turned out to be a she. Madonna shocked her way onto the charts in the 80s with provocative outfits, a “women power” message and her love/hate relationship with the Roman Catholic Church.

Honestly, who would have expected that after these flamboyant acts, a rapper, a white rapper called Eminem, with his hoodies and knit hats and dark looks, would become a superstar? For that matter, was anyone figuring that rap and hip-hop would be the new major genre to change the music industry?  Talking crossed with poetry combined with singing has changed the way even artists of other genres record and perform. Frankly, rap is not Mother Hen’s cup of tea, but that rude man who interrupted Taylor Swift appears to be quite talented. Pity!

Glam and controversy have been revived by the latest phenom, a bizarre but incredibly gifted woman who took on the moniker Lady Gaga. Her peculiar risqué ensembles defy description, while her music pulsates and sparkles like a disco glitter ball. Leading the industry’s charge back into dance tunes, her recordings are more complex and layered than the hits of the 70s. Gaga could never have been foreseen. She could only have been discovered.

Now that our little whirlwind tour is up-to-date, can’t you see the futility of scouring the world for the next Lady Gaga or Madonna or the Beatles or Elvis? Pointless!

Talent comes in all shapes, sizes, genders and formats, fortunately. The next big thing will look nothing like the last big thing, and if that means no more meat dresses, Mother Hen is absolutely fine with that!

Advertisements

6 responses to this post.

  1. As a music lover, I share your fascination with how music styles have developed and evolved over time. 🙂 Lady Gaga is a fascinating one. She really does remind me quite a bit of Madonna, however. Or maybe that’s because I always hear “Express Yourself” whenever “Born This Way” comes on the radio?

    Reply

  2. Great minds think alike, my dear.
    Why Mother Hen wrote the same thing about Lady Gaga a while back. Did you see it?
    https://motherhensnest.wordpress.com/2010/07/07/mother-hen-goes-gaga/
    Or are we just birds of a feather flocking together?
    Mother Hen

    Reply

  3. Good post!! However…

    Maybe your lil chicken feet got tired of typing Mother Hen…but you went all the way from Madonna to Eminem (I won’t even get into the fact that there’d be no Eminem w/o the Beastie Boys)?

    That’s a pretty big leap in years. There are some huge, “face of music”-changing, acts that could have been mentioned in between the two: Ever heard of a little band called U2? Or how bout the band that set the tone for the early 90’s…Nirvana? They ushered in an entire new sub-genre for goodness sake: Grunge rock!

    I’ve been inspired by more than a few blog posts I’ve read recently…to write about my relationship with music. I might have to start working on that.

    Reply

  4. Dear Ms. Evie,
    Mother Hen does realize that her analysis of the music scene was a tad arbitrary, but as her intention was to hit the major new influences over some 50 years, there were bound to be some significant exclusions.
    Mother Hen did consider U2, as the band has been a major success, but she was unsure of the true extent of their influence or whether their contribution reflected a radical change in the direction of musical history.
    Nirvana did indeed pioneer “grunge rock” as a genre, but because they were a band with a short shelf-life and grunge tends to be a sub-category of hard rock/heavy metal, she stands by her decision not to reference that group. (There is no Grammy for best grunge album, now is there?)
    Let’s take a look at some other genres and artists MH neglected, but could have acknowledged, for example.
    Genres:blues, jazz, R&B, reggae, disco, folk, country (which is as influential as can be) and Motown (which Mother Hen did consider including, and probably should have, as Berry Gordy’s studio changed the sound that the world listened to in a powerful way.)
    Artists: Well, MH has a whole list, but a link to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees should suffice to demonstrate all the choices available. (Mother Hen did not see the Beastie Boys there, BTW).
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Rock_and_Roll_Hall_of_Fame_inductees
    So she was totally subjective, but what the hey, it’s her blog.
    Arbitrarily yours,
    Mother Hen

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: