Monthly Archives: February 2012

Whitney

The death of Whitney Houston was sudden and shocking. It was shocking because I don’t think anyone was sitting around leisurely assuming Whitney Houston was going to die in February of 2012. It was saddening,as every death is saddening. I have considered not blogging about Whitney’s death,because nothing can be said that has not already been said,be it negative or positive. Personally I think that if someone dies people should just keep their negative lashing to themselves,out of decency and respect. I said this often in the aftermath of Michael Jacksons’ passing.

I idolized Whitney Houston as a little girl. Literal idolization. There was no one with more power at that time,it was expected that Mariah Carey would fade out,Mary J. Blige would fizzle and Whitney would reign forever-like Aretha.  Time has passed and we have watched Mariah survive a nervous breakdown and come out on top. We have watched Mary J move to the forefront of all that represents sensible and  strong women in music. It is sad about Whitney,but in truth it has been sad for a long time.
I don’t take issue with people mourning their heroes. Some celebrities state that they draw strength from their fans support. Some feel that their fans are their family or friends. Stars share their lives and in return we should pay homage when they die,so people crying or being sad that she died is not an issue for me. I met hundreds of MJ mourners after June 2009,and we all became a cyber family.

I also did not take up verbal arms against Governor Christie for his decision to lower the flags in her honer. Did she do anything to deserve the gesture? No. Do I support the gesture? No. However I agreed with Christie’s statement “Many thinks she does not deserve it,but I do and it’s my executive order”. As someone who supports states rights,then I can’t attempt to force the governor of New Jerseys hand,the decision had no effect on my life whatsoever.

What I do take issue with is the practiced selectively blind,as well as selectively judgmental. While there are a few scathing comments popping up under youtube videos,they are just trolling for arguments. I have heard so many in shopping isles and on facebook comments talking about the “industry” chewing up and spitting out its own. Talks about how all of it could have been avoided…yes it could have been avoided,but not by anyone’s hand but Whitney herself. I even saw a short article stating how the death of Whitney Houston has “brought up concerns about mixing alcohol and prescription drugs”….really?

When Michael Jackson died I mourned for months,much to my own chagrin;however,the difference in Michael Jackson’s death and Whitney’s are like the difference in a desert and the amazonian rain forest. One has so many factors and variables it has to be studied,while the other is so barren that to see anything but the obvious is to see a mirage. What we want to see. 
 

    The death of Michael Jackson brought on a reflection of a whole lifetimes worth of art,a study of that art and what it tried to convey. It also caused a reflection on ourselves and the perception that we impress on others. It provoked an investigation into a private and deeply thoughtful mind,and yes,it     shone a light on an industry and its inadequacy in protecting its own. While there were stone throwing critics who said Michael was a cross dressing perverted drug addict,deeper inspection still was able to raise questions,especially when nothing surrounding the death/crime scene,the autopsy or the burial ha ever made sense.

The same year that Michael Jackson died,Whitney attempted a “come back”. People were enthralled and I for one was happy about it. We all know how it really turned out,and that in itself was sad. However,she could have pushed the release of the album and the tour off until her voice recovered. She didn’t have to “soldier on”. She didn’t have to compare her soberness with Michael’s supposed addiction. In truth,she didn’t have to comeback. The story was that she was happily being a mom and Clive Davis begged her to comeback.
It is okay to say that Whitney Houston was a drug addict. It is okay to say that she,by her own hand,lived recklessly. She didn’t hide it. It is okay to say that she was very much a diva-she did not hide that either (watch the episodes of her and Bobby Browns reality show). She is not the first to have both those attributes. Etta James was a heroin addict. Billie Holiday was an addict. Diana Ross is a diva. I have read comments on Whitney Houston’s class…Whitney has not exemplified class in a long while. Jennifer Lopez has exemplified class better than Whitney has. Whitney had a strong and perfect voice and could nail a ballad but classy she was not. It is a sad loss yes,but every loss is sad. I think it is hypocritical that last year a very young talent died,and nine out of ten comments said “drug trash what do you expect to happen”. Amy Winehouse went through detox from hard drugs which weakens the body to a dangerous degree,and was sent out to soon after rehab. She died of alcohol poisoning,and before Adele came on the scene Amy was THE new throw back songstress/songwriter. Her death was a blip on the screen of eulogies at the Grammy Awards.

We want our artists to sing songs we relate to. We want them to sing of heartache so we can get through our own. We don’t want them to have their own heartaches and we don’t want them to be on drugs or alcohol or be unkind. So when a “crack whore” like Winehouse dies we will make fun,and when a privileged  singer like Houston dies we ignore reality,or start arguments on how to honor her.  The truth is in all classes of society there is addiction of some kind. I don’t judge it anymore because I have had my own,but if I die of lung cancer one day no one should say it was because of the failures or  the pressures of anyone else.

I did not watch the funeral except for Kevin Costner’s speech,which was very honorable,funny and dignified as only Costner can be. It was a speech from a friend and probably the fan favorite as it dealt with the movie the Body Guard. I will say,that no matter the circumstances we should show respect,there are living friends and relatives who still live in the public eye when one of them falls.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Madonna’s Half Time on America’s Biggest Stage

I am a relatively new Madonna fan. In my younger years the only songs I liked by Madonna were the never dying “Vogue” and later the pseudo rap song “Don’t Tell Me” accompanied by the Wrangler/Marlboro/Gap commercial video. Madonna was so controversial in my youth that I dared not be associated as one of her fans. True story. It was only in the last year with the Lady GaGa  Establishment take over that nearly drove me insane that I decided to go back to the roots of nearly every blonde thing that has tried to be the next innovator controversial spectacle. I bought her two disc “Celebration” hit set and the concert set she released of the “Hard Candy” tour. I loved the concert so much I bought an older concert from the Drowned World Tour, and a couple of more albums. Given the longevity of her career, I don’t think anyone can still say she is only famous for her sexcapades in music videos and song….she really has not done that in a long time. I loved the passion she put in Evita (one thing I did watch in my teens) I loved the guts she had to be controversial and yes to re invent her style (I say style because the term “reinvent herself”is overdone and not true. Becoming more mature,having children changing your stage style and music style is not reinventing yourself. Madonna is the same person just like Cher is the same person) I also did respect her business sense,she has trailed on no ones coat tails and took no ones advice but her own and she still defied the odds.

It doesn’t mean that she is likable or a soft cozy person. One reason I liked to watch the behind the stage cuts off the concert DVD was it showed snapshots of her acting silly or reprimanding the auditioning dancers for being a “strip show”. It seemed more real then her interviews where she never makes eye contact with the interviewer and always sounds like she is marrying into the Royal Family…cold and controlled. But as far as the DVDs of stage performances that I own,a Madonna concert is one I would like to see. Her vocals are not that of Bette Midler but I would rather hear weak vocals that are not auto tuned with something to say,then the synthesized to perfection meanderings that come across pop today.

So I was real excited that Madonna was going to do the half time show for Super Bowl  2012. I was really interested to see what she would do. Some critics made fun that it would be her…for some reason. Some called it a comeback but that made no sense because she has not went anywhere. (Those were NEW releases I bought last year). I am fascinated by the intricate and exact timing that goes into the Half Time Show,but it seems that every artist tries to out do great shows before them-like they want to see how much of a circus they can get on a stage in precise exact timing. Allot of people liked it but half way through I was bored. Too much. It was the equivalent of watching a Mission Impossible movie with one of those never ending fight scenes….like get to the point already. Granted her concerts have allot of circus…as does Cher’s as did Michael’s…but there is time to balance it with a few vocal only performances…a few lower key elements. Things that are not really afforded in adrenaline rush hat time show for Super Bowl I guess….although Michael did sing “Heal The World” and Prince did sing “Purple Rain”….in the rain.( best show ever).

Thee were three special guests, Nicki Minaj who has tweeted anyone who would listen that Madonna kissed her on her Birthday. This got all kinds of press although nobody saw the kiss and Madonna says it was not even really a kiss. This got so much coverage that I figured they would kiss on the Super Bowl stage. I thought they did because we got that “5 second block out” by the network. I still am not sure what that was about but no one has reported that their was yet another girl kiss by Madonna. Good thing….I mean really? Foreshadowing for a month and then kissing on stage…again? I wouldn’t brag if I were Nicki,considering every new pop Barbie that Madonna has kissed usually hits a road block in their career that lasts for the next decade. There was M.I.A. who apparently did the most memorable thing that nobody even saw! She in her emotional rapping uttered something nobody heard and flipped the middle finger which in all the mili- second camera swooping no one saw. It is not just me,it is every news site and blog I read today when I was trying to figure out what the CBS block party in the middle of the show was about. They all start with “you probably didn’t see it but”…and an accompanying video of the offense. What? …are we trying to drum up the same kind of uproar that accompanied the Janet/Justin show years ago? If it keeps being talked about the way it is it will be, because apparently that was the only thing memorable in a show with tight rope acts,smoke and Egyptian style dancing (another incarnation of Vogue…gotta give it to her-how many themes can you give that song).

Cee Lo Green was there but you never heard him. He accompanied Madonna on the old favorite “Just Like a Prayer” the song which Madonna ends all her shows with but this rendition was just boring. Maybe she was not lying when she said she was nervous because she really seemed out of element-just like her acceptance speech at the Golden Globes except to music. Like she was expected to meet some invisible criteria that everyone was judging. Her work directorial debut W.E , which she calls a work of passion,that she promoted in every avenue she could is not getting coverage except from her,so I don’t know why she didn’t insert it’s award winning theme song into her performance instead of giving that same tired performance of “Like a Prayer”. Heck even her stage intro was almost identical to “The sticky and Sweet Tour, the only difference was she was dressed as an Egyptian goddess instead of Carrie Bradshaw. I almost put in that DVD just to make my wait worth while. In fact Lady G probbly would have had more passion-the girl has pipes and would have played on an elevated piano and seemed more in tune with the crowd. John Mellencamp-who is from Indiana would have had a little soul as well. Oh well… I guess everyone cannot be on the same plane as Prince who can take two girls, a guitar and a microphone and turn the world on its axis.(I still don’t think he lip synced)
All in all as impressive as the woman can be this wasn’t. She looked great as usual but it was not anything new,except for her new song that features rappers…oh yay. Stop doing dance albums Madge. You don’t need to. Remember the incredible album that was introspective and the best album you had done up to that point…and since? Ray of Light? Go somewhere  quiet and get some insight again, the only way to defeat the Beyonce’s and GaGa’s of  the World is not to join them or attempt to out perform them, it is to out think them…which we all know you can do.

Madonna Ray of Light Live “Drowned World”

Madonna Devil Wouldn’t Recognize “Sticky and Sweet Tour”

Madonna Halftime Show

Prince Half Time Show -2007

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized