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Has image overtaken music? - CNN.com

Is Lady Gaga an artist?
Sure, she can play piano. She's got some songwriting talent, too. But music isn't what comes to mind when the former Stefani Germanotta is discussed. Instead, it's the attention-getting antics: The controversial videos. The in-your-face sexuality. The crazy concerts. The meat dress.

Is it about the music, or the Fame Monster?

Rachel Weingarten wonders. "I don't consider Gaga an artist," the New York style consultant says, then reconsiders. "Well, maybe she's an artist for our time. Every generation gets the artist it deserves."

If that's the case, Gaga has a lot of company.

"They want to be famous, not make music," says Lyndsey Parker, managing editor of Yahoo! Music, of some of the new breed. "The music is just one facet of the celebrity."

It's an indicator of societal shifts, she says. Now you can upload a video and receive immediate fame. So much for learning three chords and working your way up the ladder.

"Now everyone expects overnight success, whether it's because someone discovered your video on YouTube, or you went on a reality show," she says.
Has the gimmickry gone too far? Have we become numb to the emotion and the power of music? The stuff used to be about something, dammit, not a soundalike drone of manufactured robots, lip-synching amid falling tinsel.
 

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Wirelessly posted :)sponge:)

See also the late 80s. Which is why a lot of people my age are itching for the 90s to come back, where people just want to write good songs and get up on stage in whatever they're wearing that day, before that, too, gets exploited by people who just want fame and money. I'm ok with musicians not becoming rich anymore, as long as they can still make a living, because then only those who want to make music will make music, and those who want fame and money can go do something else.
 

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Well, the 90's had an image as well. I don't know how it was where you grew up, but everyone here had a flannel and ripped jeans, and $50 shitty flannel shirts were everywhere.
 

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I am Groot
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get up on stage in whatever they're wearing that day
This is why so many people stopped caring about rock music in the 90s. People didn't go to large rock shows to see people dressed like the guy mowing their lawn, singing dour political songs. They go to shows to forget about life for a while, which is why large shows have smoke machines, lasers, pyro, video screens, a rack of lights, and a band full of guys that look like fuckin' rock stars. I may hate Kiss, but they have the formula drilled, which is why they play stadiums.
 

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NSLALP
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Image has always been important when performing music to a group. Humans need to identify things. Clothing and setting help them do that. Is this my thing, should I be here? Is this socially acceptable (or otherwise)? I'm rambling but youprobably get the idea.

Part of the magic pre-Internet is that you had no idea what a band looked like outside of the small photos in the album unless you became a big idea and went to a show. For me, Led Zeppelin and Metallica were basically fiction in my head for how I wanted to imagine them. Kind of like reading a book. Until someone shows you the movie. Then you kind of re-image the whole thing next time you read it because the movie changed your perception.

Doesn't bother me. Rock isn't quite dead. I think this is one reason local music seems to be getting bigger: a pushback against constant musical melodrama, accessibility and image.
 

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Is Actually Recording
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I don't think it was ever quite that simple, Dave - maybe by the end of the '90s when the rejection of gimmickry had itself become a gimmick, but at the beginning there was an intensity that came from a bunch of guys just standing there and playing, focusing on the music and not the stage show.

By the time grunge blew over? Sure, t was just as excessive as hair metal had gotten at the very end, but like most new genres it wasn't at the very start until the bands ripping off the innovators came in, much like djent today.
 

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MG.ORG Tubular
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Well, Stefani tried the musicianship thing. Turns out writing songs for others from the shadows while they soak up the stage attention isn't rewarding. I fucking hate all her music I've heard, but good on her for changing it up and trying something else when what she was doing wasn't working as she'd hoped.
Pop stars who hit it huge these days have society to thank, as we have society to blame. It's the same uploading of videos and immediate fame which opens our eyes to what's happening across the world. I'm just fine without seeing the pre-teens singing along to their favourite artists, but on some very fucked up level inside my head, I'm reassured and glad they're there. It gives us something to use as a lowest common denominator.

Click at own risk.
 

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Well, the 90's had an image as well. I don't know how it was where you grew up, but everyone here had a flannel and ripped jeans, and $50 shitty flannel shirts were everywhere.
By the end, yeah, but not at first. Just like anything, once something starts getting somewhere on its own (i.e. the first grunge bands on indie labels no one cared about before suddenly getting huge out of no where), people will copy it and make it a formula for printing money, and it works for a while until people clue in and it dies and they move on to the next thing.

Plus, by the late 90s in Canada anyways, we had "post-grunge" bands pre-Nickelback that was awesome. Good rock music that had some image and performance, but also had musicianship and flash. Bands like Big Wreck, I Mother Earth, The Tea Party, etc. were a big part of me growing up in Canada in the 90s, so that may be why myself and my friends up here are less bitter about the 90s music scene :lol:

This is why so many people stopped caring about rock music in the 90s. People didn't go to large rock shows to see people dressed like the guy mowing their lawn, singing dour political songs. They go to shows to forget about life for a while, which is why large shows have smoke machines, lasers, pyro, video screens, a rack of lights, and a band full of guys that look like fuckin' rock stars. I may hate Kiss, but they have the formula drilled, which is why they play stadiums.
I absolutely agree, and I love both kinds of shows, to be honest, as long as they know how to perform. The really great bands in the 90s that didn't do the huge production type show had enough intensity and energy in their own performances to not need it, and there's plenty of bands today that still do it that way. Bands like Maiden are great because they do the huge production but don't rely on it exclusively, and have lots of energy and intensity in their actual performance. Some bands rely on the choreography and production too much and are boring performers if you ignore all of that, and that's the kind of performers this article's talking about.

Image is important, obviously, and every band that's worth anything is very aware of the image the project, even if it's the no-image. There's just too many bands/performers relying on it exclusively.
 

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The (early) 90s:





 

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Music like any art is creative culture. We just live in a very visual, instant-gratification sort of world right now. The creative image is more important to people than the creative music. Both sides are art. Image is just vapid art that sucks.
 

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I Am The Tweaker
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There's a big difference between having fame because of your look & your music versus being known for your look.
Precisely. If KISS came out in the 70's and released their music without the costumes & make-up, I'd put money down that they would have disappeared after 2 albums. Bands like Anthrax or Machine Head never started out with flashy stage sets or costumes and they've achieved fairly decent success on the merit of their songwriting.

On the flip side, I couldn't name 2 songs done by Rihanna or Kesha but they are continuously in the news and not because of their music. I'm sure their music is listenable (because people ARE buying it) but is by no means memorable in the way bands like Nirvana, Black Sabbath, etc.. are.

I think that the industry of 'pop music' has kind of always been like that though. There are always exceptions to the rule but the artists that get the biggest push tend to be the ones that are either really good looking or have some sort of gimmick to promote. After all, it's hard to market a band based on talent alone. However, with the internet & social media sites being so easy to use, bands can very easily market themselves as effectively as any marketing firm could.
 
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