“Manufactured bands have brought us some fab solo acts in the way of Mr Keating, and Robbie. Where would the screaming girlies be with out them?” J17 magazine.
The truth is as long as they aren’t screaming and waving their underwear anywhere near me I don’t honestly have a problem with teeny-boppers. Of course I enjoy the occasional joke about some larger than life band with a talent count of minus 50 but they don’t aggravate me as much you might think. Ignorance is bliss! But if I HAD to rant about anything it would be about manufactured and their music. And so to make the rant really good I might as well exaggerate some of my views and thoughts to make me appear like a true cynic and hater of all that is pop.
So I sat in my room staring at my CD collection, tossing away the couple that don’t do me proud. So with my ‘Ricky Martin’ and ‘Spice Girls’ album on one side (carefully poised on the desk, teetering dangerously over the bin) and my ‘System Of A Down’ and ‘Blink 182’ on the other I sat down to write this article.
OK. Ever stop to think about how much hormonally-charged energy you put into the quick quips and biting banter? Your life would be considerably more productive if you took some, what’s that word again, oh that’s it — action. I’m not suggesting that you incinerate some fresh teeny-boppers. There are laws against it. Yep even in that state of the US. But if you’re so fed up of manufactured bands and this article awakes the rebel in you, then I say ‘Go Forth, join a band and top the charts!’ OK fine maybe its not that easy but its more productive than bitchin about the manufactured lot with your mates.
In this world of MTV soundbites (we are not worthy) and insanely uncreative lyrics, the manufactured band and the manufactured singer run rampant <watch out Manufactured artists are about!> They are people who are pooled together, not because they excel musically, but because their looks and personality can be pigeon-holed to fit a “type” : cute, funny, naughty, or sexy. It’s just that simple. Musical passion is generally becoming a fading art, with most people in it for nothing more than the money and the quick-fix of fame. Fame, you see, very rarely comes from the strength of the music.
A few years ago, Britney Spears exploded onto the scene. Her virginal yet strangely flirty lyrics had paedophiles across the world intrigued. Here was a 16 year old girl who loved Jesus Christ, sung about ‘being hit’ and claimed to be a virgin. It was all so…fan-bl**dy-tastic.
Britney went on to sell lots of records, preach Satan’s teachings and get to wear increasingly skimpy outfits in her music videos. With this much success, the clones were bound to follow. And, lo and behold, they did. Christina Aguilera was the first to jump on the pink-coated bandwagon, and one of many to ride Carson Daly’s gear-stick to TRL glory. The girl could certainly sing, but she was the blondest Hispanic in history, and the most annoying anorexic this side of “Ally McBeal”. They became more and more annoying. “Is that humanly possible?” I hear you say but as I say if in doubt turn to the merry U S of A. Enter Mandy Moore. Moore was about 12 and could barely even screech well. She sang a song about missing a guy “like candy”, which is just plain sad. Nobody misses anyone like candy. I wonder what I’d miss my pin-ups like
The manufactured craze is continuing as I write this dread-filled article. Oily men across the industry are lining their pockets and making an absolute mint from girls who dream about “cute guys” and “Dawson”. Why is it so big? Well its not because its so cutting edge. It’s because girls are insecure. And popular culture capitalises on that. Girls think — maybe if I go out and buy that new lipstick, I’ll fit in. Or maybe if I watch this show or listen to that music, I’ll be popular. I mean, look around you now (that’s right just blatantly stare at them!), every one of these girls is incredibly insecure. You can’t even speak your mind anymore without stomping on somebody’s feelings. You make a ‘Five’ break up joke and the teeny-boppers have a fit. You make a Two Pac (deceased) joke and the Hip-Hop posse kindly raise their middle finger. And any comments of Marilyn Mansons femininity will have Satanists swarming around threatenin to send the forces of evil to your abode.
In the States, songs about coming on over and getting hit in the face are all the rage. In Britain, the flavour is love. If you’re ever making a boyband, be sure they sing songs about “love” and “sex”. If you’re planning on making a girl group, make sure they sing songs about “love” and “sex”. Really its not that hard. The dudes on ‘Popstars’ make it look so hard. However, if you plan on plucking an underage girl from school (and there are laws against it) in the hopes that you’ll create the next Britney, make sure she sings songs about “genies in bottles” and being unvirginised.
As I was surfin the wonderful net and followin the proverbial ‘yellow brick road’ to all that is fake…(with a capital F ladies and gentlemen) I discovered that Britain is just as bad as the States in terms of manufactured bands. There’s a deep-seated history involved in the art of making boybands. In the seventies, the Bay City Rollers were all the rage. Essentially, they were ugly Scottish dudes who wore Tartan costumes (kilt-like but not quite) and sang really badly (they have sound clips on the site….sayin they sing badly is like saying ‘o the arctic is a bit chilly’). But the teenyboppers loved them, simply because the machine trained them to love them. It’s like that mind-washing scene in “A Clockwork Orange”. Impressionable kids are force-fed a cocktail of bland music, and few of them have the intellectual tools or inquisitive nature, and think to themselves ‘er…why’. Well, it’s very simple. These guys make money, and the formula is easy to reproduce. And people will buy anything if it’s well-packaged.
Best not to think about it too much. It hurts my b r a i n! Fact is, these bands make great money for their producers, all by living up to a fallacious image. It’s easy money, and while the fat cats grow obese, we’re the ones who are losing out. Because when genuinely talented performers fail to find a niche in the busy marketplace, we’ll be overcome with these beasts.
I’ll be honest, though. I like a wide range of music. Sometimes I’ll be blown away (OK, hooked) by a boyband tune or maybe I’ll even shock myself and buy the track…(id like to stress that this is not a frequent occurrence, and any tracks I do waste my money on tend to be incinerated by some Satanist folk that hang around these parts.)
OK, let me be completely honest: I prefer rock/punk music to virtually any other type of music (yes, even opera). Now, I like a lot of “respected” artists as well and I think I have fairly good taste when it comes to rating music, but there’s something alluring about Pop. I’m not saying the music is necessarily good, but it is very effective. I realise that it’s manufactured, that it’s sugary and the song lyrics are dud, but tell me you yourself haven’t caught the Pop bug at some point. These songs linger in your mind, even more so than Papa Roach screaming about how much life sucks and how we should all die. Not dissin P’Roach or anything…Coby, Dude, You Rule!
That strange mixture of superficial positivity and cynical marketing works for some. Not me, but it does for some…ahh an outcast yet again. But while I won’t admit too vehemently that I enjoy cheesy pop ballads, I’d like to celebrate some of the manufactured “artists” here in this article – where no-one “in real life” will ever know.
Our group up for discussion is…
Westlife, or using their pronunciation, “Westloife”.
Flying without Wings
Everybody’s looking for a something
One thing that makes it all complete
You’ll find it in the strangest places
Places you never knew it could be
Some find it in the face of their children
Some find it in their lovers eyes
Who can deny the joy it brings
When you’ve found that special thing
You’re flying without wings
This is Westlife’s entry into the “we condone drug usage” halls of chart history. I know that I’m only flying without wings after ten too many beers (so that’s 10 beers in total yea). It’s obvious that these depraved young men are either promoting illegal substances (S club Seven wannabe’s) or singing about love. Whichever way you look at it, the song is pretty damn kooky. All right, it’s sweet and touching. This sucks.
And to conclude….o wait someone’s at the door. ::Abruptly stands knocking Ricky and Spice-eys into the bin. Looks out window::
And now I’ve been called away by a knock at my door. And the person knocking is a God-lover telling me I need the light of God. I’ve been thinking…God is a lot like a boyband. People go on about him 24/7 and plaster his posters on their bedrooms, but has he ever written his own tracks?