Got no soul

Because my knowledge of the current music scene (is that what the kids still call it … a scene?) is limited almost exclusively to the ads I see when I log into my Lycos e-mail account, I feel that I have diagnosed the current problem with music today.

The artists have no souls.

I believe it all began last year when the ads for P!nk began running. I thought at the time that her apparent lack of emotion was due to her having completely exhausted herself thinking up her name, or perhaps the name of her album, M!ssundaztood. :rolleyes: Later, I realized that she was just one of a new breed of peep-show girl: “I’ll show you every inch of my body the law allows, but I’m gonna stare at you like the piece of walking crap you are while I do it so you never forget which way the money is flowing here.” Sorry, B!tch, I ain’t buying.

Next, I believe, came Outkast. Okay, one of these guys looks confused … like he got into his car and when he turned the key, the hood opened up. But the guy with the big hair, he just looks … vacant. The lights are on, but there is No Body Home.

Avril Lavigne came next. You really can’t tell by the album cover, but her racoon-eyed meant-to-be-piercing stare has about as much humanity of rifle barrel. Here’s a tip, honey. In the close-up of her face Lycos offered in her ads, she looked more like a sixteen-year-old victim of child abuse than an artist with (one would hope) more than one story to tell.

But most recently, there’s Ben Kweller. Now, I’m assuming that this is him on the album cover. What intelligence burns behind those unfocused eyes … what compelling observations on the human condition drip from those slack lips … I will never know, I can assure you.

I’m not asking for musicians to smile all the time and act like they love everything they’re going through. (I only ask that of porn actresses.) What I’m wondering is, when did the crack-dealer’s-lookout stare-down-a-dog look become de rigueur for these flavors of the month?

I was torn between “has the humanity of a rifle barrel” and “has about as much … as a rifle barrel,” and you got the best of both worlds. :wink:

Hey, I finally managed to work the Borg into this rant.

Plenty of soul out there. But, as always, you hafta look for it.

Check out Cowboy Mouth. They’ll save your soul and get you laid. How much more do you need?

Cowboy Mouth!

A big second on that one, and that’s coming from an agnostic. They aren’t a “Christian band,” but some of their songs have little dabs of religion thrown into the mix. I’d say their music is decidedly less religious than Creed.

I wouldn’t call them popular, though. They got a bit of airplay with [url=]Jenny Says[/ur] in 1996, but that was about it. I mostly only know them from living here in Louisiana (they’re from New Orleans).

I saw them play live once, a free show at a state fair here in Lafayette. It blew me away. The sheer energy they put into their performance was amazing. Their live renditions sounded so much better than the albums that I almost felt cheated for buying the discs (not really - the CDs are still great - it’s just that they’re that good live).

Aww, crap. Let’s try that link to a clip of Jenny Says again.

To quote Neil Young: “Even Richard Nixon has got soul.”

Since the artists you named are mostly young, are you maybe mistaking immaturity for soullessness? Maybe this bunch should hide behind big dark sunglasses. Go old-school with it like Bootsy Collins, Ian Hunter, and Bob Dylan (sometimes).

If you want soulful looks and music, try Norah Jones.

Surely you are not coming to conclusions about the music based on how the artists look? I like Pink just fine, but I loves me some Outkast. And I’m not that crazy about rap.

Tsk, tsk-- judging an album by it’s cover.

Well, that and talent.

Not all music is meant to have ‘soul’. That’s why there’s such a genre as, er, soul music. None of the artists mentioned (with the possible exception of Lavigne who I haven’t heard) fit into this category. P!nk used to be R’n’B but is now soft rock a little like Alanis or Lene Marlin. OutKast are cartoony rappers. Ben Kweller IIRC is soft rock.

For starters, take a shit all over Pink and those other no-names that you want.

But Outkast? C’mon. You’re hitting a nerve with me there. Cut 'em some slack. Besides, you don’t want someone in an outfit like this on your bad side.

Okay, maybe I’m just being repeatedly whooshed in my own thread, but several of you seem to be under the impression that I have said these artists’ music has no soul; the way Stevie Wonder’s music does, maybe.

I didn’t say that. I said the artists themselves have no souls. I provided the links for a reason. Go. Look these artists in the eyes, and come back and tell me you honestly see a soul behind those eyes.

You may be correct, widdershins, but I don’t think so. Young people should be the ones whose souls are most evident. Look at any picture of Charlotte Church (whose music, for the record, does not appeal to me all that much) or Norah Jones (about whose music I know less than nothing and who may be older than she looks to me): at least there’s someone in there. (I wanted to pick more examples, but I kept coming up with more soulless zombies.)

Yep. And you know why? Because they want me too. You ever notice that physically attractive* recording artists don’t have album covers that look like these? Why not? Because if the artist is attractive* (or thinks so) you (I, we, whatever) are supposed to see the album cover and say, “I’d like to get to know that person better.” So, here’s the flipside of that. I’m seeing album covers and saying, “I can’t possibly be interested in what this marketing automaton has to say.”

  • I am using the term “attractive” in it’s most mass-media, cover-of-People-magazine meaning, not to suggest my own personal preferences.

With all due respect, this:

“you (I, we, whatever) are supposed to see the album cover and say, “I’d like to get to know that person better.””

Is about the dumbest idea for buying music I have ever heard. So, logic follows that the flipside of that is at about the same level. Do people (other than 11 year old girls) really do this?

Plus, Mark Knopfler is quite the stud muffin, thankyouverymuch. :wink:

I know what you mean KTK - are the policemen looking younger yet ?

I didn’t say it worked, I said it’s the apparent objective.

Not only that, they’re starting to call me “Sir” when they pull me over! :wink:

I’m listening to her right now, try her website for more info. I can’t find an age tho’. Really good album IMHO.

I’m not sure about this, perhaps for a few people but I’d guess most people don’t buy albums on the strength of the album cover. I do tend to buy albums with female singers, but then they tend to do the sort of music I like.

I’d guess that the attractive girl on the cover is for two things: so casual browsers are enticed to stop and take a closer look, and to build recognition of the face.

I don’t think they belive that someone would buy an album on the strength of the cover alone. Although it might work for those buying albums as presents … dunno.

As for your flipside, I’ve got a few of the albums you mentioned to hand and I think it’s far more the fact of the photographer not capturing the soul of the artist rather than them not having one. Or maybe soulless is the new trend.

I don’t know and I’m only really stoping buy to recommend Norah Jones.



…I feel that I have diagnosed the current problem with music today.

The artists have no souls.

“Well, that and talent.”
Zappa - “Most people wouldn’t know good music if it came up and bit them on the a**”

So, let me get this straight… you’re judging music artists by how they appear on their album cover? What if they’re not on their album cover? Or, say, maybe just their big toe appears? Or, perhaps, some splodges of colour that they commissioned an elephant to paint on their album cover!? What then? Are they still ‘soul-less’?