Taylor Time…With a Twist (and some Tin Foil)

10 Apr


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.


Posted by on April 10, 2007 in Taylor


18 responses to “Taylor Time…With a Twist (and some Tin Foil)

  1. Squeebee

    April 10, 2007 at 6:43 pm

    Yeah, I tried to ignore that article. I am trying not to get too involved in the media aspect of things, as it is too frustrating to me. Interesting how AI is trying to spin the ratings aspect. I Like your thoughts on the Taylor/Daughtry management stuff…..sounds like you may be right on the money!

    Cool blog you got here….I will be watching you!

  2. music maven

    April 10, 2007 at 6:53 pm

    I have longed tried to ignore, Squee, but the “slights” are obvious and with purpose. I hope that Taylor continues to buck the system and eventually DOES “beat the man”….again.

  3. jenfera

    April 10, 2007 at 7:32 pm

    Hand me a sheet of foil, DD, because I need a hat.

    I still watch AI, only for the water cooler value. Okay, also for Ryan. But the lack of respect for Taylor is painful. And articles like that do nothing but propel these ridiculous Daughtry/Hicks continuing competition conversations.

    It is so not all about the music. Funny that the one winner who really was all about the music is the one who exposed AI for what it really is.

  4. music maven

    April 10, 2007 at 7:36 pm

    Very well put, Jen. Maybe, just maybe, that IS AI’s Achille’s heel….NOT “being all about the music” but all about the cheese.

    To borrow a phrase from MJ’s…. “Asshats.”

  5. Squeebee

    April 10, 2007 at 7:37 pm

    Oh, I have no doubt that Taylor will buck the system. The fact that he has a bit of a head start on sales as compared to other artists of his style makes me think he will be just fine. I don’t think he ever wanted to be a superstar, just to make enough to live comfortably.

  6. music maven

    April 10, 2007 at 7:42 pm

    Squee — you make a very good point that I don’t think people consider. Comparing Taylor’s sales to his “genre”, i.e., Amos Lee, Marc Broussard, etc., his sales are stellar. Most people try to compare him on the AI scale which is NOT his genre.

    Also, I agree on the quality of life thing. The guy is traveling, first class, around the country, with peeps he really likes and can play serious music, playing music he really likes to people who really appreciate it. Paying the bills and then some…who could ask for anything more. Beats the shit out of working at the bank, huh?

    ……wait. Uh, maybe for some folks……

  7. nolagirl

    April 10, 2007 at 8:15 pm

    I am not going to bother reading the article, as it sounds pretty annoying. And I am in the media, so I KNOW that articles are crafted to show one angle or another – I see it all the time. I can’t even imagine the crafting when millions of dollars and a hit TV show are involved.

    Thankfully I have gotten to the point where I can honestly let the negative things about Taylor roll off my back, and that’s good, because they seem to be fairly plentiful. Like y’all have already pointed out, he seems to be doing what he always said he wanted to do, so that is what matters.

    And I’m sure Taylor has called them more than asshats – I know I would!

  8. IbelieveinTHesong

    April 10, 2007 at 9:30 pm

    I almost didn’t read the Time Magazine article (fairy tale, that is), but I finally gave in. You’re absolutely right — the story about Taylor’s signing with the Firm was twisted 180 degrees away from the truth. And Tay — run, baby, run — as fast & as far away as you can!!

    Btw, cool blog — I’m adding it to my bookmarks. Yeah, & hand me some of that tinfoil, too.

  9. Hickstyeria

    April 11, 2007 at 1:05 am

    I’m unable to find a link but coincidentally, there is a piece about Idol in the Vancouver Sun today that starts:

    “This year’s edition of American Idol has five or six of the best singers who have ever appeared on the program. Don’t believe it? Shame on you! According to American Idol executive producer Nigel Lythgoe, the music has been seriously cool and the singing sweet this season – even Sanj-ABBA”.

    The author, clearly anti-AI or at least the way it operates, goes on to say that the judges don’t make sense half the time so who pays attention to them? He ends the article by writing this:

    ‘Not much fazes Lythgoe – not even the prospect of Sanj-ABBA, or a Sanj-ABBA sound-alike winning the crown. “Listen, I’m old school” Lythgoe said. “Any time my shows are talked about, I’m happy”. There you have it. American Idol is a TV show, first and foremost, a music competition second”.

    I haven’t been watching this season at all so I can’t comment on Sanjaya or any of the other contestants. What I have been seeing though is clearly the ‘jump the shark’ idea that you refer to DD in some of the press I’ve read and/or heard. The reporter mentions that Lythgoe is on a conference call ‘with gripers. Well, reporters actually. No make that gripers’. So what does that tell you?

    The die was cast when Taylor won: the show was never going to be the same. I caught a glimpse of Sanjaya last week for about 10 seconds where he was by the judges’desk and he was holding Paula’s hand and singing. Tonight I saw 5 seconds of someone walking down the steps, through the audience singing – did this happen on any season before A.I. 5? I’m not sure that it did. Why is it happening now? Because presumably the A.I. team loved the record viewing figures Taylor brought in when he entertained everyone watching. No doubt Nigel – a choreographer in a previous life – is making the contestants do some similar moves to keep up the interest factor. of course, I could be wrong and these Idols are merely copying Taylor in the hope of improving their chances of winning. Which brings me to a further point: the media may criticize Taylor and some may suggest he is to blame for the lacklustre contestants that are on this year because it’s easy to say that he made A.I. a ‘cornball’ show. We know it’s not true and it’s lazy and shoddy journalism if they write this. But what happened to imagination, commitment, focus and genuine musical talent if the best the current Idols can do is simply copy someone else? If they believe they can only win by copying a previous Idol’s winning formula? And, if they are truly a second-rate bunch of singers, who picked them for the final 24 and what does that tell you? ????

    Taylor is being portrayed as a ‘diva’; remember the early stories of his refusing to sing the original finale song; of his behaviour in restaurants; his refusal to do other things. Where is the misinformation coming from? If he’s truly a ‘diva’then why didn’t this type of stuff surface before, even prior to his win?

    A.I. just didn’t bank on someone older and wiser winning, someone at least used to the business enough to be savvy about their choices, despite the fact that they chose to raise the age limit and should have known an older Idol would have more life experience. They may feel Taylor used them but, as the adage goes, ‘it takes one to know one’. It was a risk for A.I. to change the rules but they got the show and ratings they wanted – they just didn’t realise that Taylor was always one step ahead of them.

    Whatever the relations between Taylor and the A.I. team, judges and Clive Davis – then or now – ultimately he will rise above it all and have a long career.

    Now I understand better why Kelly Clarkson and Clay Aiken got out from under the A.I. label as soon as they could; it seems even if you play the game (like Daughtry appears to have done), you end up Paying the Devil somehow.

  10. Firelight

    April 11, 2007 at 1:23 am

    While I do agree with 99.9% of what you are saying, I must disagree that the media is supportive of Chris Daughtry. This one article-which I have not read, by the way-perhaps, is being supportive, but nearly every review of the album and of concerts have been quite negative. Some articles only seem supportive when they are merely stating facts, ie., Daughtry has sold out venues over the last few months, the album has gone double platinum, etc. etc. etc..

    The sad fact of the matter in this whole idiotic comparison, is that Chris Daughtry and Taylor Hicks are friends, and the whole thing must be horrible and embarrassing for both of them. The deliberate way the media tries to get them to say something bad about the other is simply a way to get the next headline.

    It is a good thing that both these men have too much class and brains to fall for it.

  11. cath

    April 11, 2007 at 6:25 am

    Amen, Amen, Amen. Taylor takes us to church and preaches the gospel of good, down-home music. The devil tries to stop him, but good will overcome evil. Melodramatic, sure, but that’s show biz.

  12. music maven

    April 11, 2007 at 7:21 am

    Firelight — you make some good points. This is not Chris’ doing and I think that Chris will likely be “eaten” by the machine. In reality, Chris is the one really “dancin’ with the devil” and he has to answer to 19E.

    I also think it’s pathetic that they use Chris (and Taylor, to an extent) to try and extend the competition and keep people engaged — and buying. Of course, there’s no need to push Taylor’s music as they really don’t see any benefit from his success, only Clive Davis does. I think Clive sees Chris as the quick money maker and Taylor as the touring “stable” artist that will be here for a long time, a la Springsteen, Billy Joel, etc.

    I did want to be clear, that YES, IT. IS. ALL. GOOD. Taylor is where he wants to be and is rockin’ the country. Good performances will beget better opportunities and positive exposure. Taylor knows how to work hard and hone his craft and to have PATIENCE. THAT, will serve him very well in the years to come.

  13. music maven

    April 11, 2007 at 7:24 am

    BTW Hickstyeria – The “link” is in the gold colored text in the post “TIME about American Idol”.

  14. Squeebee

    April 11, 2007 at 9:47 am

    This is off-topic, so sorry in advance, double to da d! Hicksteria, are you from B.C.?

  15. leejolem

    April 11, 2007 at 10:35 am

    I can’t even bring myself to read the article in TIME. At 1st I thought I was just imagining the slights to Taylor on AI and in the press, but what you said makes sense. I think it’s all about getting back at Taylor because he worked the show as much as they worked him. I try to remember that Taylor is where he wants to be, and doesn’t require TPTB to praise him in order to validate him as a musician. It frustrates me that the American public is being fed this picture of him as a failure, but hopefully over time they will see the longevity and musicianship of his career and know the true story.

    On a lighter note I always thought Taylor was singing “sing the song, Sherman” to one of his buddies named Sherman. Who knew it was “sing the song, children”. I really need lyrics included in my cd liners!!!!

  16. santarosa

    April 11, 2007 at 12:59 pm

    Ah, but too bad for AI. Taylor already won their little game. He has his faithful fans, his tour bus and best of all is playing his music just like HE wants to on this tour. Taylor’s going to be just fine and we will be blessed with all the great music he is capable of.

  17. Hickstyeria

    April 11, 2007 at 2:26 pm

    Hi Squeebee,

    I’m a Brit but now live in BC, just outside of Vancouver. I think you also visit the Boogie Board and I’m a member if you want to email me!

    Cheers! (And sorry DD…)

  18. Hickstyeria

    April 11, 2007 at 2:30 pm

    Don’t know if two posts back to back will go into moderation but…

    Just popped on to and saw an update. Blog header says ‘It Was All About The Music’ and Gray has posted 4 official Taylor site links.

    Can’t help but feel sad about that.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: