Share that smile….
This week’s Taylor feature is My Friend from Under the Radar, Taylor’s 2005 CD pressed right before his stint on American Idol. One of the least known and least played tracks, My Friend, is just a fun, carefree tune to round out this very credible compilation.
“Sing the song, children”: My Friend
This is such a happy song. I can just see Taylor getting a bunch of his friends in the studio and directing them to “get a little rowdy”. This song certainly has an unmistakable New Orleans flair. Brian’s piano intro sets the wonderful tone followed shortly by the great horns. The arrangement really shows Taylor’s depth and joy from music. The harp infusion is simple, yet impactful and who can’t love the “OPA!”. Interestingly, it is the only song from Under the Radar that Taylor has not performed live, either on this tour nor on the live sets that are available from pre-idol days. (ETA: “My Friend” debuted in PA on April 12th….subtle Libra Dragon waves????)
While we’re on the Taylor topic, I feel compelled to address the 500 lb. elephant that appears to be in the room that no-one really wants to address. I get TIME Magazine each week. One of those free subscription things I received and I must admit that I genuinely like most of the articles. This week, in TIME, there is a story in TIME about American Idol. In this article, TIME tries to examine American Idol and why it “is really about us” — the people, i.e. fans.
First, let me say that I really don’t hold the author accountable as he prints what the sources at AI are feeding him, but there are a few inaccuracies that, of course, the average reader does not know about, and therefore believe to be fact. Like the fact that the article begins with bogus claim that AI is breaking previous ratings. In fact, AI has experienced a decline in both ratings and voting of about 18%, comparing 2006 to 2005, since the top 24 were announced. While Time Warner, who I firmly believe is in colusion with AI, wants to perpetuate the AI juggernaut and protect “the franchise”, the truth is that Season 6 is definitely looking at a “jump the shark” moment.
Most who have been followers of the show agree that this season is boring, lacking talent and “safe”. AI wants to make folks believe that it’s still relevant and watchable, therefore the TIME article and the full court press initiative in various publications and TV to dispel the fact that the “franchise” is waning. Sorry, but I don’t buy it. The AI producers are quick to say that the American public “can’t be fooled” and with that, I agree. They admit in the TIME article that although they proclaim that AI is “a singing competition”, it’s really about ratings and who can draw people to watch. It extolls the fact that you need “a story” and to “work” the crowd, politicking like a Democratic nominee.
Yet, for me, the article loses credibility when it mentions FOUR times (twice in bolded quotes) that Chris Daughtry is basically the better “idol” than Taylor Hicks. The article also blatantly is unfavorable to Taylor Hicks, twice. Once, criticizing the “corn ball” choices of In the Ghetto and Levon and a second time making a distinct point that Taylor’s CD has sold disappointingly, without publishing the fact that he DID sell 650,000 copies of his CD. Again, this is selective journalism that paints a biased picture and I feel, a targeted message to Taylor Hicks from the AI minions that he cannot beat “the man”.
The last straw of the article was the outright lie that Simon Fuller CHOSE not to represent Taylor Hicks, instead choosing to represent Chris Daughtry. Now, what the general reading public doesn’t know is that Taylor chose not to have Simon Fuller represent him (pre-emptively choosing The Firm to do so) and that Chris Daughtry really had no other option. So, what does all this mean….
Well, I may be WAY off here, but here’s my theory. 1.) American Idol (Simon Fuller, Simon Cowell and all those associated) DO NOT want Taylor Hicks to succeed without them. I think Taylor really pissed them off and cut them out of significant income from a VERY popular winner who will likely have a prolonged career; 2.) Since they are obviously, and selfishly, supportive of Chris Daughtry, it behooves them to manipulate the public through various avenues like AI itself, music sales numbers and the major media by dissing the winner, TAYLOR HICKS, and promoting “their guy”; 3.) It is a mega-power play where millions, if not billions, of dollars are at stake. Therefore, manipulation for money is enevitable. These people are scrupleless. They will lie, cheat, and steal to get you to believe their bill of goods and support their franchise. Otherwise, they’re out of a job and out of a gravy train.
As for their “charitable” endeavors. (I mean, Borat soliciting money on behalf of AI??? Gimme a break.) I promise you, they are not doing anything that’s not going to give to their favorite charity — themselves. These people are about one thing — mo’ money. All else (honor, truth, charity, and principles) matters not. It’s part of the reason why I just can’t bring myself to watch Season 6. That, and the fact that the talent is frankly, lacking.