Snap Judgment: “Live Like We’re Dying” First Listen
First off, if my plane fell from the sky, chances are I would be dead and not deciding to whom I would be making my last phone call, especially when mobile service would be nill and I doubt on-board wi-fi would be up and running if all systems and pitot tubes failed. You couldn’t even tweet before plunging into the dark sea. (Hey, I’m the type of weirdo fuck who discusses Air France Flight 447 if I’m sitting next to an off-duty pilot on a cross-country flight. I take airline safety and maintenance very seriously.)
Anyway, what do I think? I like it enough. Live Like We’re Dying is catchy, upbeat…nothing earth-shattering in the least. It’s pleasant, one of those I would turn up if it came on while I was driving. These songs often differ from those I keep in frequent rotation on the iPod — know what I mean?
I must give HBD props for doing the little speedy rap-esque chorus, however, ESPECIALLY on those sections of the song, I could have done with the digitally-mastered HBD echo effect. I agree about it being overproduced. I feel like a little less could have taken it a lot farther. As of right now, its very Gavin DeGraw-y, and I sincerely hope the rest of his album steps back from that sort of sound because I think the sterile, benign styling of DeGraw (and John Mayer. I hate John Mayer. I wish he and Perez Hilton would make out some more because they truly deserve one another.) isn’t the best way to distinguish oneself from the masses — especially starting a career with the hindrance of Idol. I’ve always thought HBD’s strength lies in his ability to actually connect with a song, rather than just going through the motions. I would prefer to see him go the Ray LaMontagne-Citizen Cope route over the DeGraw-Mayer path.
I don’t believe the rather humble Kris Allen considers himself a trail-blazing original attempting to make his mark on the music world. I think he’s just a guy who wants to write and sing songs he believes in to connect with his audience on a personal level by conveying genuine emotion. I think he is about singing songs people can identify with based on shared experiences. Sadly, this is often not enough for Idol fans, many of which tend to believe personal connections are fostered through meet & greets rather than stage performances — even if the ones guilty of this mentality seem to always chant a shared mantra claiming it’s all about the music.
But I’m pulling for Kris Allen. I think he can do it. I would like to hear the rest of his album, but as far as expecting some radical, awe-inspiring religious experience based upon his music, I think that’s setting the bar a bit too high. Let’s just see where the kid goes in his career. (The same goes for Adam Lambert, too.)
On my previous post, Kimberly posted a killer quote:
“What is originality? Undetected plagiarism.” — William Ralph Inge
Exactly. Perhaps I’m cynical (I call it being realistic), but I would argue true originality is impossible, given we are all a product of the things around us. It’s just what you DO with the influences which make you “original”. Pure, unadulterated originality, however, is bullshit. If I was raised by monkeys & parrots on a desert island in the South Pacific, only to be discovered by human beings decades later, would this make me an original? Frak no. I was just copying monkey & parrot shit. Monkey see, monkey do. Squawk like a parrot. And by having opposable thumbs, perhaps I would fling my poo differently, but that really doesn’t change a thing, does it? I still would be heavily influenced by monkeys & parrots…a product of my own environment.
While that’s an extreme analogy, this belief is probably why I give Lambert a hard time every so often, because I don’t consider him to be a revolutionary. He’s just trying to bring things which have been done in gay/dance/underground clubs for years into the mainstream through the Idol machine.
And Lady GaGa? Is she original because she eschews pants, wears stupid masks and hangs herself on stage? No. She’s setting things which have been done ad nauseum on the performance art & club kid scene to catchy little pop songs. In actuality, it’s not much different from Madonna’s early career and frankly, give me Borderline and Like a Prayer over the likes of Paparazzi any day.
Everything has been done before and everything will be done again. And again. It’s just all in the way you package it. Elvis Presley was just a white boy singing what he had seen African-Americans performing in the south for years. In an era when black artists recorded LPs featuring white models on the covers, a lily-white boy from Tupelo suddenly emerged onto the music scene with a seductive allure and a rockabilly sound encompassing rhythm & blues, country and gospel sensabilities. This was unlike anything white-bred 1950s America had ever seen the likes of on The Ed Sullivan Show, however, I would bet serious cash it was probably because they weren’t hanging out with “colored folk”.
In this day and age, people are exposed to a lot more than in 1950s America. And frankly, if you’ve never seen the likes of an Adam Lambert or a Lady GaGa before 2009, perhaps you should leave your home. Leave your town. Leave your state. Leave your country. There’s a whole world outside filled with interesting, incredible people of ever shape, size, ethnicity, sexual preference and cholesterol level you would just not believe. Check it out. It’s awesome. Even colorful psychotic freaks (mainly furries & plushies, or any related varietal) are fun if you keep your distance. (Hell, why do you think I am somewhat fascinated by Idolfanlandia?)
So yeah…if that’s originality for ya, get out of your house and start experiencing something new. You know, maybe try and live like you’re dying.