Posts Tagged ‘music’

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 Presents: The Marbles for Vanity Fair Campaign

Mother Hen is completely gobsmacked (otherwise known as utterly astounded).
She never dreamed that she would use that term in connection with herself, but there it is. What, you ask, has brought MH to such a state of shock and incredulity?
Shocker #1  Lady Gaga is on Vanity Fair‘s best dressed list!
Unbelievable! Mother Hen thought that she had seen all the potentially ridiculous displays that modern fashion could devise, but since when does a woman who attends a baseball game with her bra in full view merit a commendation for personal style?
Next Mother supposes that the drug-crazed street-walker look that Gaga sports will be on the racks in the kiddie aisles at Wal-Mart!

 What? It is already there? Excuse Mother Hen while she reaches for her smelling salts!

Beware all motorists! Eyesight reducing Mardi Gras masks will heretofore be worn in all seasons. Exercise extreme caution! Oh wait, Mother Hen forgot — all the car drivers of the world are wearing them as well. Well, Mother can assure you that this is one chicken who will not be caught crossing the road any time soon!

Shocker #2  Lady Gaga is not only on Vanity Fair‘s best dressed list, she is on the COVER of the Best Dressed Edition.

The only thing saving Mother Hen from a complete apoplectic fit is the amazing irony of it all: Gaga, who is supposedly so well coutured, sports not one apparent stitch of clothing as she poses on the best dressed cover!

The fashionistas at VF have, quite clearly, completely lost their marbles. That being apparent, Mother Hen would like to suggest that we all send them any we can spare, even if just one, in their hour of need.

Address your marbles to:

Mr. Graydon Carter

Editor-in-Chief, Vogue Magazine,

c/o The Conde Nast, Inc.

4 Times Square, 7th Floor,

New York, NY 10o36

Please include a short note explaining why his fashion editors are in need of your marbles (as if it isn’t obvious enough!).

Thank you for supporting this worthy cause!

Yours sartorially,

Mother Hen

UPDATE:  Tee-hee-hee!!! Lady Gaga wore a meat dress to the VMAs!!! Now Vanity Fair really does have egg on its collective faces!!!! Keep those marbles coming people — the fashionistas at VF are in dire need!

Mother Hen Discovers America (Doesn’t Have Talent)!

Mother Hen was spending a relaxing evening with her claws up, watching the America’s Got Talent semi-finals with Father Rooster, when a thunderbolt came crashing through the roof of the coop…well, not really, but a startling idea occured to her.

Apparently, America doesn’t have talent!

Now settle your feathers down, Mother Hen does not mean that all the acts on the show lack ability (although the elderly stripper/ magician/comedian was lacking in talent, he was at least amusing in a pathetic sort-of-way). This is not about the contestants. Oh no, this is about the judges!

If America is over-flowing with talented individuals, Mother Hen would like to ask why on earth none of the judges are American!

The newest recruit, famously OCD comedian Mr. Mandel, is Canadian. The lovely but foul-mouthed Mrs. Osbourne, is British.  The dapper and nasty Mr. Piers Morgan was born in England, though apparently for reasons of cultural pride identifies himself as Irish.  No matter, Mother Hen is not inclined to split feathers either way.  The point is, all of the judges on America’s Got Talent hail from somewhere other than America.

Mother Hen being a Canadian bird herself, has nothing against people with Green Cards earning a living in the US of A.  Au contraire, my little chickies! She says if God hadn’t wanted foreigners to work in the US, Columbus would have gone down with his ships in 1492, and Native Americans would be running the place (which wouldn’t have been bad at all, since they didn’t eat chickens until the Europeans turned them into barbarians!). If some rich American ( or Brit) wants to hand over lots of green and all the corn she can eat, Mother Hen would fly the coop and head south for the winter pronto!

No, Mother is simply cackling at the irony of it all, since she absolutely adores irony! Don’t we all?

By the way, Mr. Cowell, if you are reading this — and why not, the man knows a winner when he sees one — and you ever have an opening for a typing chicken on your show, Mother Hen is your gal!

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

Downloading Dilemma

My iPodDear Mother Hen,

I take my iPod everywhere. It is practically my BFF! I love my tunes so much, but I read somewhere that you’re not supposed to download songs for free. What’s up with that?

I am only a teenager with a part-time McJob. There is no way I could pay for all my music, so I don’t think it’s fair that some adults out there want to charge us for stuff that we can get for nothing!  Besides, everybody else does it, so what difference does it make?  I’m sure iTunes isn’t going to fold up and die if I don’t use their site, and I don’t see how come they should have my money.

I’m going to keep downloading from the free sites, but I feel just a little guilty about it. I’m not doing anything wrong, right?

Downloading Diva

Dear Downloading Diva,

Here’s what’s up with downloading songs for free.

1.  File sharing copyrighted material is illegal.

I thought I would mention this first, because it ought to matter. True, it is not like a police officer will show up at your door to arrest you or give you a ticket or anything, but that is only because they can’t track you down…yet. You asked about what is right and wrong though, and disobeying the law is wrong, plain and simple.

If there are laws against something, generally it is because someone will get hurt if you do it. Who gets hurt by free downloading ?

2.  Artists get ripped off.

When you don’t pay, guess who doesn’t get paid? Those bands, vocalists, and songwriters that you say you love so much, get nada for their work.  How would you feel if you didn’t get paid for the work you do at your job? I bet that you wouldn’t like it much.

You state that you don’t think it’s fair for you to have to pay for your music because you don’t have a lot of money. Does not having much money make it alright to go into the variety store and lift a pocketful of candy bars? (I hope that your mother raised you right and you said no!)

Downloading music without paying is stealing. That is all there is to it.

3.  It does make a difference.

Let’s say that you have about two thousand songs on your iPod. At ninety-nine cents a tune that comes to $1,980. (Now you are sure you can’t afford it, right?) Think of it this way though. You have taken away almost $2,000 dollars out of the music industry. If every single student in your chemistry class did that (and maybe they do), that would be around $69,300.

There is a lot of controversy about how much money the music industry is losing to file sharing, because if those who download for free had to pay, obviously they would download less, so exact dollar figures are hard to come by. There is no doubt though that they would still be paying for a lot more music than they are now, right? If you and your friends had to pay for your music,  you might have less on your iPods, but more money would go into the music business.

4.   Why should you care?

Reason # 1  Jobs!  There are a many people who depend on the recording industry for their income, and less money going in means fewer jobs for those people.

Reason # 2  Less money means fewer new acts are discovered. Your next favorite band might never get a break if there are fewer talent scouts and auditions.

Reason #3  Making music is hard work, and people should be paid for their work, especially when they are people whose music you love and adore.

Mother Hen realizes that it is tough being a teenager with limited means, but she is not going to tell you it is okay to steal. If you continue to download free music, then she thinks that you probably ought to feel at least a little guilty.  If you don’t pay the price, that’s the price you have to pay.

Mother Hen