She was hot. I'd seen her in the record store where I worked. I'd ridden my bicycle past her many mornings on my way in to campus. Always dressed nice. Knee-length skirt suits (just above) and heels. Every day. Fine legs. Very attractive face. And one day in the record store she, much to my surprise, started acting interested. Which was something that apparently happened a lot more often than I noticed, but I digress. This just means she must have been being pretty obvious.
We went out a few times. I was enthralled. And the second weekend we headed to St. Louis to go spend the weekend there with my brother.
In the car, I guess we talked more than we ever had up to that point ... and her shallow nature became increasingly apparent to me. And the phrase that stuck out at me the most was, "why have vanilla when you can have chocolate all the time?"
[here's where you insert the sound of a needle scratching across the vinyl record]
Modern pop singers. The "Diva" sound, as my wife and I call it. And it's not limited to female singers. Was it Mariah Carey who started it? I don't know.
Seasoning is used to flavor food -- to provide some depth to a dish. To compliment the basic flavors in the food item being cooked, be it roast or green beans. Or ice cream.
The national anthem, as sung at public events by celebrities over the last ... I can't even remember when it started -- has gotten out of hand. The "Diva" sound, the way I see it, evolved when singers thought, "enough with this 'melody' claptrap, I'm going to turn the entire song into the variations that get all the applause."
At which point it becomes Pepper Steak with out the Steak. All seasoning, no substance. Big mouth full of black pepper, salt, and rosemary.
The national anthem, at these events, has become painful to listen to.
Now, to be "fair", it seems that most female sung pop-"music" has gone in this direction (with the exception of country, which I think has become the new "pop" precisely because of this diva trend in Top 40). And one could say that the National Anthem has been stylized to fit current popular music trends over the years. And one could argue that this is just an continuation of of that.
I'm pointing out something about where culture has gone here, not about Christina Aguilera or the other singers who do the same thing with it ... and the rest of their "music". This is as much an endictment of where popular music has gone and what it says about our culture as it is anything else. It's not about the music anymore. It's about the attention you get while performing. How loudly and how outrageously you can bend it and turn it into something ... "special" ... that's AAAAAAAAAAALLL about MEEEEE!!!!
When they do it in the studio and in concert and sell records that get played on the air ... ok, fine. I don't have to buy the record, go to the concert, or listen to that station. But when it comes to the national anthem ... drop the pose, and hit it like you mean it.
I'm sure Christina has a fine voice and would have gotten a standing ovation if she'd just sung it straight. Hell, I would have stood up and cheered myself!
Here's an example of how pop singers should handle the National Anthem. Huey Lewis and The News, from the 1985 All Star Game.