Posts Tagged ‘Michael Jackson’

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!

Mother Hen Goes Gaga!!!

 Mother Hen tries to be a hip, with-it chick, or whatever it is that they call it these days.

She has survived mini-skirts so short one dared not drink from a school water fountain, lest all the boys see the fountain of youth, endured the agony of repeatedly spraining her delicate ankles falling off of six-inch platform shoes, and even participated in dying her little rooster’s feathers a delightful shade of Smurf blue. She may be an old Mother, but she danced the Hustle with the best of them back in her day.

Many of the unfortunate but hysterically amusing trends MH has observed have since been replicated over time, some becoming positively redundant in their refusal to disappear. She disdainfully refers to the annual re-introduction of the nautical look in spring, plaid patterns in the fall, and animal print fabrics in the winter, as examples of bad trends gone worse through over-use. (Take a hint, fashion mavens!)

Another sad but true reality, is that when an original voice, a true innovator, passes either from public view, or onto that great catwalk in the sky, imitators abound. Mother Hen would calmly and patiently like to explain to subsequent generations that there will only ever be one Coco Chanel, one Marilyn Monroe, and one Audrey Hepburn. Now get busy finding your own icons, you little imposters, and leave ours alone! There, Mother feels much better.

 Similarly, once a great entertainer has reached the vertigo-inducing heights of stardom, then begins to “jump the shark,” as it were, the search for the next great whosit begins. Who will be the next Elvis, the next John Lennon, the next Michael Jackson….well, no one, you silly geese!* If the next big thing was like the last big thing, it would only be the next small thing.

Having gone all the way around for a shortcut, this brings Mother Hen, sorrowfully, to the subject of Lady Gaga. The blasphemous Roman Catholic references, skimpy attire, provocative dancers…hmm, where has Mother Hen seen this all before?

Let Mother state the plain truth here: Lady Gaga is no Madonna, whom she is most evidently trying to be. This woman might as well have named herself Lady Yadayadayada, she is so completely a reiteration of someone who has gone before her.

Is she talented? Undoubtedly. Original? Not a chance. Does she get a lot of attention from being outrageous? Sigh! Even Mother Hen is compelled to write about her. Need more be said?

Gaga dear, take a little advice from an old chick who has been around the barnyard once or twice. Nobody loves a wannabe. Be yourself, or get a new gig.

*with apologies to fracas