‘Crazy Heart’ Earns Multiple Oscar Nods; New Releases; New American Voices Part Dos

Brody Vercher | February 2nd, 2010

  1. Lanibug
    February 2, 2010 at 11:24 am

    Taylor Swift overexposed – NEVER!!!!

  2. Saving Country Music
    February 2, 2010 at 11:41 am

    “Everybody gets up there and is technically perfect people don’t seem to want more of it.”

    Eh?

    That must be Tay Tay speak. You’re right, I don’t understand.

  3. Erik
    February 2, 2010 at 11:46 am

    Scott B. is forgetting that Reba is on his label.

  4. TexasVet
    February 2, 2010 at 11:49 am

    Why do folks always make excuses for Taylor’s embarrassing off key live performances? Off night?? Every time she performs live it’s an off night. As teenagers, if Leann Rimes, Tanya Tucker or Brenda Lee had ever sounded like that their careers would have been over by the time they reached 20.

  5. Steve M.
    February 2, 2010 at 11:54 am

    I thought her performance was downright embarrassing, but evidently shame isn’t part of her or her handler’s vocabulary. If a singer can’t sing live, is she really a singer?

  6. Rick
    February 2, 2010 at 12:04 pm

    So Miranda Lambert includes her own “Dead Flowers” on her personal favorites playlist huh? If she substituted Caitlin Rose’s version of the Rolling Stones’ “Dead Flowers” instead she’d improve the list immensely! (Sorry, I am sooooo not a Ran-Fan!)

    Craig Wiseman’s article is frightening for those of us who wish Nashville would reclaim itself as the home of real country music in the US, which I think lies in Texas these days. Craig asserts Nashville has become a beacon to rock/pop artists and producers from L.A. and New York who want to work in a vibrant music scene/environment that is a pleasant place to live! This new musical melting pot mindset will move mainstream country even further away from its roots and into the pop-rock direction. As far as traditional country is concerned, its gone from “Murger On Music Row” to a Nashville legacy genocide. That’s just awesome…

    Poor Chuck Wicks! First Julianne Fluff dumps him and now Trailer kicks him to the curb! Its all just so…..snarky! (lol)

    Hey, what ever happened to music give-away contests? I’d like a shot at the Eleven Hundred Springs and Texas Sapphires’ albums without having to pay for them!

  7. TexasVet
    February 2, 2010 at 12:05 pm

    I half wish the NFL would have asked Swift instead of Underwood to sing the national anthem at the Super Bowl…their is a train wreck waiting to happen! lol.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1neEWNlT-nY

  8. Dan E.
    February 2, 2010 at 12:12 pm

    Taylor Swift is going to be just fine!

    Also, The Blind Side is nominated for Best Picture of the Year. Sandra Bullock also got a nod for Best Actress. This was such a great movie and I’m glad it’s getting the recognition it deserves.

  9. Jon
    February 2, 2010 at 12:17 pm

    I’m waiting for all the folks who were telling us last week that “technical proficency” in singing don’t make no never mind to weigh in in defense of Siwft.

  10. TexasVet
    February 2, 2010 at 12:36 pm

    Rick’s don’t like list keeps getting longer:

    Willie Nelson, Gary Allen, Patty Griffin, George Jones, Conway Twitty, Rodney Cowell, Reba, Hank Williams,
    Merle Haggard, obamavoters, and now Miranda Lambert.

  11. Kelly
    February 2, 2010 at 12:36 pm

    This is hardly newsworthy, in my opinion. Swift has consistently bombed (majorly) on awards shows in the last couple of years and hasnt given anyone a reason to think she is the next Renee Flemming or Audra McDonald. Her voice isnt what is winning her millions of fans, obviously.

    Besides, what else was Borchetta going to say? He knows she isnt a great vocalist and he isnt too worried about that since she has proven to be a bankable star without a powerful voice, which is what he is understably more concerned with.

  12. Jim Malec
    February 2, 2010 at 1:13 pm

    I’m not sure to whom Jon is referring, but I’ve been preaching the obvious since day one–it doesn’t matter that Swift is a (adjective) singer; she’s effective at what she does. S.B. is right–she’s connecting with a group of people on a substantive level that probably no one else in music is matching. That’s a good thing, and should be heartening to everyone who wishes country radio had more substantive material.

  13. Brady Vercher
    February 2, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    What Swift is effective at is selling records, which isn’t necessarily an indicator that she’s connecting with people on a more substantive level than anyone else in music.

  14. Steve M.
    February 2, 2010 at 1:28 pm

    _Twilight_ seems to connect with people too. That doesn’t make it great literature.

  15. Razor X
    February 2, 2010 at 1:55 pm

    That’s a good thing, and should be heartening to everyone who wishes country radio had more substantive material.

    Excuse me while I pick my jaw up off the ground.

  16. Tara Seetharam
    February 2, 2010 at 2:06 pm

    “…she’s connecting with a group of people on a substantive level that probably no one else in music is matching.”

    I’m not sure I agree. Perhaps she’s connecting to MORE people than any other artist, but not more substantively. That’s a bold statement considering the sea of good, interesting music out there. It also remains to be seen whether or not her fans –who, yes, certainly connect to the truths in her music– are going to continue to connect to these truths as Swifts starts to present them through more complex and mature stories (as I hope she does). So while I absolutely agree it’s heartening – who knows for how long?

  17. TexasVet
    February 2, 2010 at 2:13 pm

    What angers me is that someone like Ashton Shepherd who’s only three years older then Swift and also writes her own songs can’t even get her foot in the door.

  18. Leeann Ward
    February 2, 2010 at 2:16 pm

    I can imagine that Miranda Lambert would feel disappointed to read Patty Griffin’s opinion of Miranda’s version of her song. Ouch.

    I just think it’s funny that Scott B said “Maybe they’re just jealous…” Soundsfamiliar, huh? Maybe he’s been commenting here at the9513?

  19. bll
    February 2, 2010 at 2:34 pm

    Scott B has forgotten all about Trisha Yearwood as well

  20. Rick
    February 2, 2010 at 3:36 pm

    Hey Northy, thanks for the list! I had forgotten I dislike some of those artists! (lol) PS – Ashton Shepherd is “Too Country” for today’s “Contemporary/Young Country” Top 40 scene. That’s Ashton’s great sin in today’s marketplace. (The same thing happened to Sarah Johns although I think Ashton has more talent.)

    Taylor Swift stole Hannah Montana’s fan base and so that makes her music substantive in a way that really connects with her fans? Oh brother….

  21. Evie
    February 2, 2010 at 3:54 pm

    I heard Taylor at the Grammy’s and kept saying to myself “what is the attraction?”. She’s a cute kid who can write a catchy tune, but her singing is really bad. However, the kids need to have someone to attach to, that’s just what teenagers do, and that is what’s happening. And when you start making that kind of money, the industry looks long and hard at you, as do your peers.

  22. idlewildsouth
    February 2, 2010 at 4:22 pm

    I thought the same thing, Leeann.

    As Brady said, she may be selling more records than anyone, but when your market is teenagers, that really doesn’t say a whole lot either. A 16 year old kid isn’t going to be quite as discerning with their money (assuming its theirs being spent) because what money they do have is much more disposable than someone a few years older. If I’m spending someone else’s money, or if I don’t have any bills, I’m not particularly picky about the quality of a product I buy.

    But the real issue here is, what matters? As we’ve all gone in circles about over and over, where does the line come down between business and art? If the only goal for Taylor Swift is to be the most grossing singer in all of music, then yes, she has won. But the fact of the matter is, she isn’t that because of quality, as much as she is for exploiting her market. Of course, that’s what business is, marketing, so that’s nothing new. However, I think that has be considered into the discussion. She doesn’t sell so many records because she’s such a great singer or entertainer. She sells so many records because she’s image conscious enough to know that she has to seem like every other nerdy teenaged girl in the world that feels like they’re so alone and misunderstood. Why was Nirvana so successful? Because there were a bunch of confused, despressed people that could relate to what Kurt Cobain was saying. It had nothing to do with how eloquently he said it. So, all of that to say, I find it a little hard to get behind SB’s righteousness about all of it when what he’s really talking about is numbers, not art.

  23. Vicki
    February 2, 2010 at 4:47 pm

    I read the article in the Tennessean about “mixed reviews” on Taylor. Critics as well as people with perfect pitch, were screaming how bad it was. Even Taylor defenders suggested she should have used “auto-tune” that night. Scott has to defend his “golden lamb”. But sorry Scott, there are other emotional singers who can actually stay in tune. My ears want the ones in tune.

    AS for selling so many albums..well, remember she came out with 6 new songs a week before “Play On” came out so that all the teenies would absolutely have to buy the album again. You could look at that and say brilliant business strategy.

  24. Steve Harvey
    February 2, 2010 at 5:24 pm

    As much as I adore Miranda Lambert, my respect for her plummeted after seeing Britney Spears included on that playlist. I’m still trying to decide whether Otis Redding balances her out.

  25. Troy
    February 2, 2010 at 5:35 pm

    idlewildsouth “A 16 year old kid isn’t going to be quite as discerning with their money” How do you know this. Because ive seen people over 30 that don’t care about the money as much as people under 20. Like anyone who smokes or drinks. For most people between 16-20 they pay for anything that is personal.

    @Vicki stop being so bitter that your favorite singer Carrie is not winning the vocalist awards. I like Carrie and have all 3 of her albums but im tired of your someone winning award over my favorite act let me complained about it every chance i get. And without Re-release it was still going to be the best selling country album of the year.

  26. idlewildsouth
    February 2, 2010 at 5:38 pm

    But as a rule, the younger someone is, and the fewer their responsibilities, the less discerning they’re going to be with their money.

  27. Jon
    February 2, 2010 at 5:48 pm

    @Jim I’m not sure to whom Jon is referring…

    I’m referring to the folks who took the opportunity presented by the Lady Antebellum review last week to unleash the startling revelation that they preferred emotion to “technical proficiency” in the singing department.

  28. Jon
    February 2, 2010 at 5:53 pm

    Geez, folks are starting to remind me of the people who dismissed the Beatles as a flash in the pan, to be abandoned at any moment by their fickle, non-discerning audience of screaming teenaged girls.

  29. Jon
    February 2, 2010 at 5:54 pm

    it doesn’t matter that Swift is a (adjective) singer; she’s effective at what she does. S.B. is right–she’s connecting with a group of people on a substantive level that probably no one else in music is matching.

    The great Jim Malec strikes again – I didn’t know singing is not important anymore in the profession of….singing.

  30. Jim Malec
    February 2, 2010 at 5:54 pm

    @Brady:

    As you know, sales can’t always be seen as a measure of success. I don’t think sales are ever fully a measure of success. But, clearly, Swift is connecting with more people, on a more substantive level, than those artists many observers would like to associate her with. The Jonas Brothers? Miley Cyrus? I mean, who are we comparing Swift to from a sales standpoint? She’s outselling everyone. And who are we comparing her to, from an artistic standpoint? Ask a few people with more than amateur songwriting experience whether or not they think Swift’s material is substantive, and, to that end, ask them whether they think it’s more substantive than the bulk of what is played (and not played) on country radio today.

    I remain befuddled at how so many people who follow country music so closely and who care about it so deeply can be so shortsighted when it comes to Swift’s music. No, she’s not singing about cocaine and whores, but she writes about her topics with a degree of skill that is hardly ever matched in the mainstream (or elsewhere). She ain’t no Kris but she ain’t not Chris (Young, Cagle, etc).

    Yeah, we can all cite someone we connect with to a greater degree. But no one else is making those connections on a social level as great as Swift. We could go a million directions from here, but make no mistake–she makes those connections because she writes good stories.

    A lot of folks people could stand to take a lesson from her.

    @RazorX:

    What would you prefer? I know you want the good old days back, but they are gone forever. You’re never getting the old Reba back. And I’m not even going to go any further into the archives.

    If we want country music to thrive on quality songs–dare I say, like it used to–then we should be very happy that Swift is making an iconic name for herself by writing songs that put story first and that contain narrative arcs which deal with conflict (and sometimes resolution). We need more songs like this, unless we want a format defined by the formulaic and prefabricated.

    The future of country music lies, well, in the future. The kids. And if we don’t cultivate an environment in which SONGS are valued, we will end up with a format that cares only about celebrity. I think we should be happy that kids today are learning, from Swift, that songs should be honest, direct, and various other things that most of country music has forgotten.

    It’s all so circular. We’ve been having this argument for 50 years. But we’re at the precipice about separating everything that has traditionally defined “good” country music from the music that is defined by the term “country music.” I don’t want that to happen, because I fear that a full schism between the mainstream and the roots elements will leave one soulless and one with perpetually diminishing audiences.

    Sure, you and I wish these kids could be taking songwriting lessons from Chambers & Nicholson, but it’s not going to happen.

    @Rick:

    H.M. has sold around 7 million units over four albums. Swift has sold 9 million units over two, and both of Swift’s first two discs out-paced H.M.’s first two. Point being: Swift’s obviously done MORE than capture H.M.’s fan base.

    Not to mention that an “artist” with a built-in Cable TV AD that runs for an hour or more every day has a significant marketing mechanism in place.

    The comparison between the two–in terms of sales, and in terms of artistic merit–is “far reaching” at best.

    @Steve_M: Twilight seems to connect with people too. That doesn’t make it great literature.

    And on what ground, exactly, are you drawing a comparison between the two?

    I don’t hear anyone claiming that Twilight is a great piece of literature. I certainly don’t hear the screen writing community talking about what a brilliant work the Twilight script was, or about what it means for the future of movies. So I’m just not sure what your point is–please explain further.

    @:Idlewildsouth:
    I wonder if it’s the kids that have such a hard time being discerning? And why are we so quick to devalue their tastes? When I look at the charts and see things like “That’s How Country Boys Roll” in the Top 10, I think to myself that it may be the adults who aren’t very either.

    We’re gonna remember “White Horse” and “Fifteen” down the road. Those songs are real stories and that breeds emotional attachment. Sure, it’s with teenagers. So what? Would you rather concede country music to the likes of “History in the Making?”

  31. Jim Malec
    February 2, 2010 at 5:57 pm

    @Jon: Gotcha, and I’m with you on this one. I’m of the mind that the issue with Swift isn’t so much a question of artistic integrity but one of topic and target–accentuated and furthered by some truly unfortunate vocal performances.

    Speaking very personally, I’d rather hear Swift sing a good song badly than hear Carrie or someone else sing something I don’t care about and won’t remember tomorrow.

  32. Jon
    February 2, 2010 at 5:57 pm

    Jim has finally revealed he is on Swift’s payroll.

    I mean, how else could he explain that there’s a very substantive, deep emotional connection between himself and You Belong With Me in annals of Jim that no one has ever reached before?

  33. Troy
    February 2, 2010 at 5:57 pm

    But as a rule, the younger someone is, and the fewer their responsibilities, the less discerning they’re going to be with their money.

    Not all the time. There are people with many more responsibilities than others that spend their money freely. So its not a rule. When there are recessions movie sales and liquor store sales go up that is not really being discerning.

  34. Tyler
    February 2, 2010 at 6:01 pm

    I can’t believe out of all the options Country music has chosen TS to be their flagship act. She routinely gives horrible performance and has a wretched sense of stage presence. This combines to create a very awkward viewing experience.

    Maybe, now she can receive the backlash she truly deserves.

  35. Jon
    February 2, 2010 at 6:13 pm

    don’t hear anyone claiming that Twilight is a great piece of literature. I certainly don’t hear the screen writing community talking about what a brilliant work the Twilight script was, or about what it means for the future of movies. So I’m just not sure what your point is–please explain further.

    I think Steve’s point is just because there’s a connection doesn’t mean it’s substantive. You pointed out that Swift’s connection is substantive because she’s connected to more people than anyone has ever done. You could make the same argument for Twilight – so in your words, we should be thankful of films like Twilight or New Moon because it’s made a connection that hasn’t been done in a long time. Does it automatically make the film classic? No. That’s the argument your generously willing to give to Swift – just because she’s connected to more than anyone has ever done means she’s great! We should all bow down to her! She’s perfect! She’s the sole reason of exsitence for country music!

    Shania also “effectively connected” to a huge, huge number that only her peers like Faith, Martina, etc., can ever dream of. Does that make her the best ever? Should we give her the same acclaim that we reserve usually for Emmylou Harris?

    And as for preferring to hearing a good song sung badly, hey you can always watch the American Idol auditions. Those kids sing classics and also connect to a deep emotional level, complete with gyrations on the floor. I didn’t know that our standards of music should come down to that. I thought there was that special something that separates singers from non-singers. I didn’t know standards should be lowered when it comes to Swift. Whatever happened to singers who have both the technical proficiency AND emotion to deliver high quality songs? Did they just stop existing because Taylor is on the scene?

  36. Jim Malec
    February 2, 2010 at 6:16 pm

    Jim has finally revealed he is on Swift’s payroll. I mean, how else could he explain that there’s a very substantive, deep emotional connection between himself and You Belong With Me in annals of Jim that no one has ever reached before?

    It’s funny that people like this complain about Swift’s music being “childish” or “immature.”

  37. Troy
    February 2, 2010 at 6:16 pm

    I don’t understand how someone can really hope that someone starts to fail. Like criticizing someone is find but to hope that someone fails. I don’t like a few country acts but i’m not hoping that they start to fail.

    Instead of hoping that someone fails you should hope that artist that you like can become a success. TS didn’t have a huge label backing her it was an up start label when she signed to big machine records and at the time country audience didn’t have that many teen listeners so it can happen.

  38. Troy
    February 2, 2010 at 6:26 pm

    @jon I’m going to use twilight in movies sales as i know them and not the actual books sales. Taylor Swift is more like Avatar/Titantic over Twilight. Twilight had very large audience the first week but dropped sharply. Like Avatar fearless has stayed at that number one spot for long time and it didn’t have a quick drop off like twilight. In fact fearless hasn’t even been out of the top 20 since its release. Something that can maintain sales for a long time is obviously connective because of its substance not because of its hype.

  39. Steve M.
    February 2, 2010 at 6:28 pm

    My point with _Twilight_ is that both it and Swift are designed to appeal to the same demographic, teens. Which is curiously enough, the demographic least likely to discern quality. I could care less about the Grammy’s (this is after all the same award show that once had Jethro Tull beating Metellica out for best hard rock album once year). I find it hard to believe that Grammy voters actually listen to the country music they are voting on.

  40. Jim Malec
    February 2, 2010 at 6:33 pm

    @Jon (with no link): Where did you learn to debate, the Republican Youth Camp? When you decide to stop straw manning me, I’ll continue with this conversation.

    That said, there’s one bit of truth in Jon’s comments: Swift’s live performances are disturbingly bad, and I wish that, as a culture, we weren’t so willing to accept such low standards from our entertainers. If this were 1950, Raul Malo would probably be one of music’s most famous singers.

    A defense of Swift’s songwriting should not be seen as a defense of low artistic standards. Obviously, I’d prefer to hear a great song sung well. The point I am making her is that Swift is connecting with people in spite of her vocal deficiencies because she’s offering them something that no one else is. And they fact they she sounds terrible live doesn’t change that dynamic. Her material is excellent, and in galaxy of horrid songs of course that means she’s bound to stand out.

  41. Steve M.
    February 2, 2010 at 6:41 pm

    Well no, I don’t hang around with 20 year olds, at my age, that would be just creepy. But when you promote a teenage artist, as a record company, I don’t think you are expecting _Your Cheating Heart_.

  42. stormy
    February 2, 2010 at 6:59 pm

    Damn. Until I read that line about Taylor Swift being the voice of a generation I was never proud of being from the generation whose anthem contains the line “I feel stupid and contagious.” Man, it could have been so much worse.

  43. Brady Vercher
    February 2, 2010 at 7:04 pm

    @Jim: We can all agree that Swift is a social phenomenon selling a boatload of albums, but I don’t get where the figures are coming from to suggest with any measure of certainty that that’s attributable to her audience connecting with her on a more substantive level than any other artist in music or more deeply than a movie like Twilight. What exactly is backing up your claims that there’s a correlation between the success of Swift’s music and the substance of it?

    Are songs like “Love Story,” “Picture to Burn,” and “You Belong with Me” really that substantive? If another artist were to sing those songs, would they be works of art beyond compare to anything else in the mainstream?

    A lot of people would consider “Fifteen” to be one of her songs with the most depth, yet it’s her lowest charting single to date. Shouldn’t the opposite be true if her audience were truly connecting on a substantive level?

    I don’t have anything against Taylor Swift personally, don’t have anything against her music or people liking her music (it’s not for me), she seems like an intelligent young woman, and serves as a good role model, but there are wild claims coming from both sides of the fence about the quality of her music. I mean really, not liking or seeing the supposedly inherent value in her music is shortsighted now? I’ve acknowledged the quality in songs like “White Horse” and “Fifteen” in the past, but beyond that, well, I haven’t seen anything from her that country music can’t live without.

  44. Vicki
    February 2, 2010 at 7:04 pm

    Troy: I honestly would have been as happy if Miranda, Lee Ann or Martina won that Grammy Female Vocalist award. I just want someone to win it honestly and justly, one who can actually sing and show they are the best female “Vocalist”.

  45. Jon
    February 2, 2010 at 7:15 pm

    We’re gonna remember “White Horse” and “Fifteen” down the road. Those songs are real stories and that breeds emotional attachment. Sure, it’s with teenagers. So what? Would you rather concede country music to the likes of “History in the Making?”

    There are excellent songs by Brad’s in his latest album, by Miranda in her latest album – I think everyone would probably concede The House That Built Me is top-notch material with both real stories and breeding emotional attachment, and interestingly, not for teenagers alone. Sugarland had some good stuff too in their last album. You make it sound like good country music is Swift and no one else. Me personally, I’d rather concede country music to something like Very Last Country Song than Love Story.

    I’m not saying there’s no bad music out there. There’s a lot. But it’s also not Swift alone who arguably makes good material either. She’s probably connected the most, she has a certain appeal and charm. but it doesn’t make the others lesser than her. Or her better than others. Big is not always better. Achy Breaky Heart was once big too. Some people finding her cute and adorable, or thinking “I’m just this simple girl like Taylor Swift!” does not make her better than Jennifer Nettles.

  46. Rick
    February 2, 2010 at 7:33 pm

    Could it be that Taylor Swift’s flawed live performance vocal ability keeps her from being “perfect” in the minds of her legions of teenage and younger female fans and thus makes her more relatable? And as crass as it may sound, maybe her minimal bosom also makes her more relatable to her young female fans as opposed to sexy “hotties” like Carrie Underwood and the surgically enhanced Kellie Pickler.

    All these young girls aspire to be Taylor Swift and live her fairytale life, and their mothers love the clean, wholesome image of personal integrity Taylor exudes. She is the ultimate cute, talented, modest, and driven clean living girl next door type that girls want to be friends with and guys want to date.
    I have a lot of respect for Taylor as a songwriter, business woman, and artist but her voice lacks appeal to me as well as the pop nature of most of her songs. I’d never call it crap, its just not to my taste as an old fogey.

    Also Taylor has used MySpace and Facebook and Twitter in a masterful way because she “gets it”. I think Steve Jobs would be wise to have Taylor doing TV ads for iPads explaining how you could do your reading assignments on them…

  47. stormy
    February 2, 2010 at 7:58 pm

    Rick: No one trendy has tits these days. That’s not “relatable” or “imperfect” that’s just how we present ideal bodies to girls now. Remember this is a world where Jennifer Love Hewitt is “fat” and a size six model is “plus sized.”

    Fat:
    http://topnews.in/files/jennifer-love-hewitt4587.JPG

    Plus Sized:
    http://katiejean.files.wordpress.com/2008/05/0000048621_20080514232903antm.jpg

    Recently fired for being too fat:
    http://in.skyline.kh.ua/uploads/posts/1243856336_wurth_calendar_filippa_hamilton01.jpg

    Taylor is what we teach teenage girls is normal now. See also: eating disorders, social causes of.

  48. Tara Seetharam
    February 2, 2010 at 8:17 pm

    “And if we don’t cultivate an environment in which SONGS are valued, we will end up with a format that cares only about celebrity. I think we should be happy that kids today are learning, from Swift, that songs should be honest, direct, and various other things that most of country music has forgotten.”

    Maybe you’re seeing something I’m not (literally), but I’ve yet to see evidence that kids are learning from Swift on the deeper level cited. What percentage of Swift’s fans values her music as honest, direct, excellent stories? What percentage is attributed to the celebrity/pop culture you referenced? I don’t know, but I’m not making a case either way. Like I said, we’ll see where Swift’s fanbase goes in the next ten years.

    “…but there are wild claims coming from both sides of the fence about the quality of her music. I mean really, not liking or seeing the supposedly inherent value in her music is shortsighted now?”

    Exactly.

  49. Razor X
    February 2, 2010 at 8:18 pm

    @RazorX:

    What would you prefer?

    I’d settle for somebody who can sing on pitch most of the time.

    The future of country music lies, well, in the future. The kids.

    And that’s the problem, Jim. The kids aren’t being exposed to much country music these days.

    But we’re at the precipice about separating everything that has traditionally defined “good” country music from the music that is defined by the term “country music.” I don’t want that to happen, because I fear that a full schism between the mainstream and the roots elements will leave one soulless and one with perpetually diminishing audiences.

    I think it’s already happened.

    I don’t understand how any artist can rack up award after award, after one trainwreck of a live performance after another. Everybody seems to acknowledge that she doesn’t sing well and nobody seems to care. Even a damning admission from her label head doesn’t seem to matter.

  50. nm
    February 2, 2010 at 8:23 pm

    @Jim M.: I remain befuddled at how so many people who follow country music so closely and who care about it so deeply can be so shortsighted when it comes to Swift’s music. No, she’s not singing about cocaine and whores, but she writes about her topics with a degree of skill that is hardly ever matched in the mainstream (or elsewhere). She ain’t no Kris but she ain’t not Chris (Young, Cagle, etc).

    Ya know, though, most hits with Kristofferson songs were sung by other folks. I agree that Swift is a very promising songwriter. But I sure wish she had a publishing deal instead of a recording contract, and that other people were doing the singing.

  51. Troy
    February 2, 2010 at 8:26 pm

    @Stormy just because someone is a size 2 doesn’t mean they have an eating disorder. There is actually a correlation for genetic for eating disorders like anorexia or biological imbalances. Environmental isn’t the only reason people are getting eating disorders. Maybe Taylor is teaching people to be bi-polar too because of the song white horse and love story because she going from one extreme to the other.

    And if your saying Taylor is teaching being size 2/0 that its normal now why would you use a model references. If anything the model world has improved over the last few years.

  52. ALJID
    February 2, 2010 at 8:53 pm

    “The point I am making her is that Swift is connecting with people in spite of her vocal deficiencies because she’s offering them something that no one else is. And they fact they she sounds terrible live doesn’t change that dynamic. Her material is excellent, and in galaxy of horrid songs of course that means she’s bound to stand out.” –Jim Malec

    After reading those lines and looking at the mirror, I looked like I was slapped a hundred times. That was blasphemy.

  53. CJ
    February 2, 2010 at 8:57 pm

    “Jim Malec: Speaking very personally, I’d rather hear Swift sing a good song badly than hear Carrie or someone else sing something I don’t care about and won’t remember tomorrow.”

    Could you please make your arguments without specifically citing other artists? It’s off-putting. We don’t have to drag other artists in this discussion. Thanks

  54. Stephen H.
    February 2, 2010 at 9:13 pm

    CJ, Carrie was already brought up by an earlier commenter who accused Swift of stealing Carrie Underwood’s thunder by releasing digital singles at the same time as “Play On”. So he didn’t introduce any artists that weren’t already introduced.

  55. hmmmm
    February 2, 2010 at 9:29 pm

    I agree that Taylor’s songs are good.. I don’t agree they stand out b/c they’re in a galaxy of badly written songs.. I DO believe her appeal goes past her songs though.. hmmm, maybe it has something to do with her stunning model like look, that fresh young face, naive humble personality.. the O-GEE- WoW’s.. and thanks her fans up and down.. she did work it with her fans.. She’s not completely horrible live either.. I did see some clips of her concerts on utube and she was ok… had a very lively YOUNG audience.. much like the same that Miley has and all those Disney acts.. Time will tell if she can hold onto it, with minimal singing talent, and better than average songs..

  56. CJ
    February 2, 2010 at 9:33 pm

    @Stevie – Yes, I noticed that but it doesn’t mean that he has to stoop to that level. He should at least maintain a certain level of impartiality, or something.

  57. Steve M.
    February 2, 2010 at 9:33 pm

    I had to sit through the Hannah Montana movie this summer because I love my daughter. Comparing Taylor Swift to Miley Cryus is just damning with faint praise.

  58. Tara Seetharam
    February 2, 2010 at 9:37 pm

    “He should at least maintain a certain level of impartiality, or something.”

    He prefaced it with “speaking very personally”…

  59. stormy
    February 2, 2010 at 9:40 pm

    Troy: I used the model refereces because they have taught teenagers that a size 6 is fat. And if it has gotten better why was a size 4 model fired this year for being too fat.

  60. Steve Harvey
    February 2, 2010 at 9:44 pm

    @ Jim Malec
    That was a pretty epic post there, sir. Having withdrawals from The Malec Minute?

  61. Steve Harvey
    February 2, 2010 at 9:45 pm

    @ Stormy
    Apparently Christina Hendricks was used recently as an example of ‘a big girl’ in the NYT. What the holy hell?

  62. Troy
    February 2, 2010 at 10:07 pm

    @stormy Gisele Bündchen was considered large when she first started modeling. Things can get better but still have isolated cases of this happening. There have been many models that have been taking this issues and things have progressed like Tyra. 10 years ago they would have never even allowed Whitney to even be a model. Really you should blame the media for when shows try to show women that they say actually eat they show size 14/16 when they could be doing 6/8 like more to love.

  63. Stephen H.
    February 2, 2010 at 10:24 pm

    My name is not Stevie. I realize there are at least two other Steves in this thread, but find some other way to differentiate me. Or just don’t address me at all, which is good as I have no dog in this fight, so I’m done.

  64. idlewildsouth
    February 2, 2010 at 11:06 pm

    Connecting to your fans and being a good business person doesn’t make it ok to sing poorly. We can go on and on about this forever, but the real issue here is…the girl can’t sing. It’s not that she’s an emotional singer. She’s a poor singer. When the music being played is within a certain key, and the note your voice emits is not within that key on a regular basis, it’s poor singing. Period.

  65. really
    February 3, 2010 at 12:23 am

    We have moved past the excuses for Taylor Swift’s non existing singing talent to now hearing that the fact she can’t sing makes her more real. Really? O, but she writes great songs that connect with her audience. Because of course no one has ever written about the fact that at fifteen you are sure you have found your own true love only to find out later, maybe not. Really? But she has sold millions of albums and her fans don’t care if she can’t sing. But it is maybe that she has learned to minipulate those gulible fifteen year olds that believe that when someone tells you they love you, you’re going to believe them. Maybe its not the songs or the songwriting but the writing on myspace and twitter where she tells them she is their best friend and you can call me Tay Tay. She uploads videos that she tapes of herself, and writes silly gossipy blogs. Yes, she certainly has talent. I just don’t happen to think it is songwriting or singing. But marketing is a talent too. Really!

  66. Jon
    February 3, 2010 at 1:05 am

    It’s not that she’s an emotional singer. She’s a poor singer.

    Apparently these days as long as you sing from the heart it’s all good.

    I DO believe her appeal goes past her songs though..

    I think that’s the case as well. It’s not her songs so much as who she is as a person. I believe her fans connect to the person more than her songs. They probably connect to her because she’s a simple girl who’s super cute and charming and bubbly and tells funny stories, not because she wrote and sang this song about Romeo and Juliet and Scarlet Letter and happily ever after. She’ll say the same things that typical tweens will say to a jerk: “I’ll tell my friends you’re gay…” And she’s an open book and wears her heart on her sleeves. Her fans probably feel like Taylor’s friends are also their friends. You know how people always brag about being friends with celebrities? Teens feel they can do that with Taylor, she won’t be a snob and on the contrary she’ll actually invite those teens to an afternoon yogurt snack.

    Because like Brady put it, if there was a deep substantial connection between Swift’s songs and her fanbase, Fifteen would/should have been a massive epic hit both on pop and country charts. That’s inarguably her best song to date – I think even Swift’s staunchest critics would give her that. But it’s the fluffy YBWM that became the album’s biggest hit, the song that plays on Swift’s own imperfections, simplicity and girl-next-door factor. And a song that really doesn’t deserve much analysis on whatever hidden meaning or symbolisms the song might carry.

    She’s a marketing dynamo, no doubt. Where others shied away from celebrity and intrusions to their personal lives, she embraced those, and so her fans feel she’s just a door knock away, or in these times, just a tweet away. But I think there’s a huge difference between a marketing genius and a torchbearer of country music.

  67. Dan E.
    February 3, 2010 at 1:32 am

    Jon: Love Story was a bigger hit than You Belong With Me.

  68. ALJID
    February 3, 2010 at 4:26 am

    And Fifteen wasn’t that a country hit since it barely cracked the Top 5. Perhaps it was successful in Pop or Teen markets? I don’t know about that…Perhaps some Taylor fan can inform me..

  69. hmmmm
    February 3, 2010 at 4:36 am

    @really..

    You’re correct.. brilliant marketing indeed! She’s not heinous live either.. I can sit thru and even be entertained by some of her concert footage on utube… but to take home a bunch of awards.. hmmm, is all I have to say to that..

    Anyway, I think if she won a bunch of pop awards noone would care, it’s the fact that she’s dominated over some very talented country singers.. and I agree some certainly aren’t based on the merit of her singing.

    I’d still rather see her at the top of the charts than a lot of those pandering R&B/hip hop artists that use over the top sexual innuendo in their lyrics..

  70. David S
    February 3, 2010 at 12:46 pm

    If anything, Patty Griffin is just jealous of Miranda. ML is a legitimate COUNTRY star with artistic credibility, and also happens to be experiencing commercial success without having to sacrifice who she is as an artist. I think it just irks Patty that one of her songs was used on ML’s Crazy Ex-Girlfriend album and it’s Miranda who is experiencing the commercial success, and it was Miranda who went up on stage to accept the Album of the Year Award at the 2008 ACMs. Patty is just bothered that people know “Getting Ready” because of Miranda.

    Also, Patty should be thanking Miranda instead of condemning her style. Patty probably wishes Miranda would “sell out” just so she could group ML with the pop-country blonds who couldn’t write a song or carry a tune to save their lives. Patty is just angry that Miranda rivals her in every aspect of being an artist- vocals, live performance, song writing, playing instruments. There’s nothing Patty can do that Miranda can’t do just as well, if not better; and I’m sure that just kills her.

    Everyone can see right through Patty’s nastiness. If she is lucky, maybe another artist will record her material if they aren’t afraid of her public condemnation and being let down by one of their heroes.

  71. Leeann Ward
    February 3, 2010 at 12:58 pm

    Whoa, Dave S… Fanboy much?

  72. Erik
    February 3, 2010 at 1:05 pm

    Dave S. almost gives the Carrie Cult (err… fanclub) a run for its money.

  73. Chris N.
    February 3, 2010 at 1:08 pm

    That’s some very aggressive fanboying right there.

  74. Steve M.
    February 3, 2010 at 2:04 pm

    That reminds me of the lone Kellie Pickler fan/insane person.

  75. Leeann Ward
    February 3, 2010 at 2:27 pm

    Also reminds me of a very extreme Scott Borchetta:

    Dave S.: “If anything, Patty Griffin is just jealous of Miranda.”

    Scott B” “I think (the critics) are missing the whole voice of a generation that is happening right in front of them. Maybe they are jealous or can’t understand that.”

  76. Matt B.
    February 3, 2010 at 3:05 pm

    Scott could’ve said what Brandi Carlile said about an ‘imperfect’ performance of “The Story” (it’s on the record)…”it’s technically wrong but emotionally right.” Perhaps that’s what we can ‘gleam’ from Borchetta’s comments?

  77. Kelly
    February 3, 2010 at 4:19 pm

    Matt B, I see what you are saying, but still, Carlile’s performance on that song/record fits and those imperfections were the result of real vocal power and obvious, unbridled passion. Borchetta would likely know to stay away from making that claim for Swift’s performance.

  78. David S
    February 3, 2010 at 5:50 pm

    Can anyone provide any opinion as to why they may believe Patty Griffin is right about Miranda’s version of the song, instead of attacking my character?

    Or do you know what Patty’s motivation could be in telling a magazine that Miranda’s version basically sucked, after Miranda has said only praise and great things about Patty and her work since borrowing her song for the CXG album?

    I just don’t think it was in Patty’s best interest to bash Miranda, who is a gold and platinum selling artist who took Patty’s song to a level of awareness that is alien to Patty’s previous works.

  79. Leeann Ward
    February 3, 2010 at 6:05 pm

    I don’t think we attacked your character as much as ribbed you about your over-the-top “attack” on Patty Griffin. You said that she was jealous of Lambert, along with attacking her career. I’m a fan of Lambert, but Griffin has a right not to like her version of her song. Perhaps it wasn’t exactly kind of her to publicly state it, but doing so doesn’t deserve the accusations that you piled on her either.

  80. Leeann Ward
    February 3, 2010 at 6:08 pm

    You said: “I just don’t think it was in Patty’s best interest to bash Miranda, who is a gold and platinum selling artist who took Patty’s song to a level of awareness that is alien to Patty’s previous works”.

    This is a more reasonable response and I would have even agreed with you if that’s what you had originally said.

  81. Leeann Ward
    February 3, 2010 at 6:10 pm

    PS. Patty Griffin is extremely talented in her own right. I would not agree that Lambert is more talented, just more fortunate when it comes to mainstream success.

  82. Brady Vercher
    February 3, 2010 at 6:11 pm

    Does anyone even know what exactly it was Patty Griffin said?

  83. Leeann Ward
    February 3, 2010 at 6:25 pm

    No, I don’t. I’m just judging by Lambert’s tweeted disappointment and the “loud” word that she applied to Griffin. Lambert took it as criticism, though I have no idea how serious Griffin’s statement really was.

  84. David S
    February 3, 2010 at 6:26 pm

    I guess what I’m trying to say is, if a songwriter is going to put their songs on the market to be recorded by others, collect your royalties, sit back, and shut it. Otherwise, if you’re going to act like an American Idol judge and critique an artist for putting their own style on it, you’re going to alienate your colleagues in the business, or in Miranda’s case, those who look up to you.

    Also, assuming it is jealousy is a bit presumptuous of me, but in this case I don’t know what else could explain it. I’d love to hear what Patty has to say about others’ work in the mainstream business since she evidently doesn’t approve of Miranda’s style, who is hardly the problem with today’s mainstream country music.

  85. Leeann Ward
    February 3, 2010 at 6:33 pm

    * severe rather than serious…

    I don’t think whatever Patty says will really impact whether or not others record her songs in the future. I don’t even think that she’s obligated to pretend that she likes somebody’s version of her song if she was asked about it and truthfully responded. There’s even something refreshing about the honesty, though I still understand why Miranda would be personally offended. Of course, as Brady pointed out, we don’t even know exactly what was said. For all we know, it wasn’t as bad as it seems.

    Also, there are any number of reasons that Griffin may have said what she supposedly said. Jealousy is not the root of all criticism, as many people seem to think when their favorite artist is criticized.

  86. David S
    February 3, 2010 at 6:41 pm

    I think it’s important here to go back to the word Patty used to describe Miranda’s version of the song: “loud.” In any case where Patty may listen to the song, she should have control of the volume, so she obviously isn’t referring to the volume being too high and hurting her ears. So, in my opinion, she’s obviously referring to poor vocals or poor production.

  87. Leeann Ward
    February 3, 2010 at 6:44 pm

    Actually, Lambert’s latest album is too loud. Just ask Crhis Neal.:)

  88. Brady Vercher
    February 3, 2010 at 6:52 pm

    “Loud” can refer to a few things, none of which really constitutes bashing. And if Griffin was directly asked about Miranda’s cover, why shouldn’t she be frank? I actually appreciate the candidness and it’s not like we’re not allowed to respectfully disagree with someone instead of tossing out wild accusations about motives.

  89. stormy
    February 3, 2010 at 7:42 pm

    Troy: Its just as bad that now they are showing “real” women who are sized 10-12 and talking about how brave they are for modeling. Its the same BS, just a different package.

  90. Jon
    February 4, 2010 at 7:22 am

    I guess what I’m trying to say is, if a songwriter is going to put their songs on the market to be recorded by others, collect your royalties, sit back, and shut it.

    *facepalm*

  91. silvio
    February 4, 2010 at 9:09 am

    Here’s what Patty Griffin said as reported by Whitney Pastorek in Feb. 5 issue of Entertainment Weekly: “It doesn’t have to be loud,” she says of Lambert’s raucous “Getting Ready.” “To me, it is tongue-in-cheek. When you’re younger, forces inside of you are telling you to stand on a table and scream and tell people to look at you.”

    (In the same article, Griffin praises Kelly Clarkson’s and Susan Boyle’s versions of “Up to the Mountain (MLK Song)” and the Dixie Chicks’ covers of three Griffin tunes. She says she has never heard Jessica Simpson’s version of “Let Him Fly.” The Lambert one is the only negative one.)

  92. Leeann Ward
    February 4, 2010 at 12:21 pm

    Well, if Lambert really respects Patty as an artist as it seems she does, maybe she’ll consider Griffin’s “advice.” There’s actually merrit in what Griffin said.

  93. andie
    February 5, 2010 at 8:32 am

    okay..so i tried not to weigh in on the whole swift performance but once her label chief obviously took a shot at carrie underwood i got pissed..yeah! im guilty…im a huge carrie fan( cult! lol whatever we might as well be), mister brocheta(i call him that)
    taylor cant sing well live..no surprise there…i actually like her songwritting…i think she has potencial to be a really good songwriter… i just dont think vocalist should be for her….miranda was more deserving in that category

  94. Lisa
    February 5, 2010 at 7:52 pm

    I would rather listen to Carrie Underwood (or any other artist for that matter) any day of the week than Taylor Swift.

    I think Malec is Scott Bullshetta. Otherwise, he wouldn’t be so desperate to tear Carrie Underwood down at EVERY turn.

  95. Madison
    February 6, 2010 at 9:10 am

    GLAD TO SEE CRAZY HEART IS GETTING RECOGNITION! IF YOU’RE NOT FAMILIAR, THIS IS RYAN BINGHAM SINGING THE ‘BEST ORIGINAL SONG’! SO GOOD!!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zelvaxvTaUk

    -Madison

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