Remember the old commercial for audio tape called Memorex? The announcer asked "is it live - or is it Memorex?" He asked because the tape quality was considered so good the listener of music taped on Memorex tape could not tell. It sounded so perfect. It sounded like a live performance.
Earlier this past weekend I had some interesting discussions with friends about music, including which is better : recorded vs. live performance. And, last night I watched the Billboard Music Awards on TV, and so now I'm thinking about WHAT is it that makes music reach people…? And I'm thinking about the difference between a "musician" and a "performer." What makes you love a singer?
I realize everyone is unique, and different, and goes through life with ups and downs, and therefore the various genres in music are out there to experience at different times. There is no one right kind of music. It's emotional, it's personal, it's…. real. Or, is it?
I have been wondering about techno and computer-generized music. It found a home in music back in the 80's. It has changed, evolved, and gotten twisted into music since then. Last night during the awards show a hologram of Michael Jackson "played" on stage and it was touching,yes, but also crazy, and perhaps a bit wrong.
In fact, most of the "musical performances" last night were more about the visual then the audio - and as I watched I questioned how singers can move, dance, fly around AND still sing. Really? I swear Shakira was lip-syncing…and she had a hard time singing both parts on the recording. It was almost comical. Did you notice? Perhaps not - because she DOES have the hips and the sexy moves. A beautiful face and gorgeous hair. Lots of visuals were distracting from what she was singing.
Katy Perry flew. J-Lo danced - a lot. Even two of my favorite "country" singers, Miranda & Carrie, came on stage looking rock & roll-ish and sang a "non-country" song at a show put on by a music ranking company (Billboard) that labels them "country." Seems nothing is predictable anymore.
I consider myself a "purist" when it comes to music. I love the talent that a true singer and his instrument, often a guitar or piano, can bring - without studio fixing it, and without computer sounds and overdubs and other technical terms.
For me, a single performer who can hold a crowd alone is an awesome thing. It's the best! It's a beautiful moment in time.
There are certainly places where I love to dance, to "groove," to feel the strong beat. (But don't laugh at me!! ha) And, there are times I can even listen to a rapper (for a little while) and have fun.
But when I want to HEAR music, especially those who are supposed to be rated best in the genre, I want to hear it "live" and to understand the words. In fact I like to close my eyes and listen. Try doing that at a concert now a days.
The funny thing is I LOVE LOVE LOVE a live concert…because that is when a true musician can shine! That's when I can get completely moved by a performance - a song and it's lyrics. An amazing voice. There is a connection made. It's REAL and it's the best!