Posts Tagged ‘Dixie Chicks’

In yet another instalment of this live series, here are the performers I haven’t yet had a chance to see, but hopefully will get to one day.

Beyoncé

They called it “Beychella” for a reason. Plus, I’ve never seen anyone slay live.

Pink

I need to see her music live. I don’t know of any other chart topper that puts that much physical effort into their show (based on what I’ve heard,) and it’s sure to make me have a better appreciation for her music. So win-win for me.

Backstreet Boys

Seeing BSB live will channel the inner closeted boy band fan girl inside of me, and set her free. (In case you were wondering: Brian is still my fave.)

London Grammar

Their music breaks my heart every damn time, and I know witnessing them live will just destroy me (in the best way possible.)

Adele

When I first heard “Someone Like You,” I hadn’t had such a visceral reaction to a song in a very very long time. Adele knows how to express the deepest, darkest of emotions, with a perfect voice, which glorifies the pain and the sadness. Her music must to be experienced live (it’s just impossible to actually get tickets to her show.)

Dixie Chicks

I do my very best to be a well-rounded music fan, dabbling in as many genres as I can, to gain a more whole understanding of music. The Dixie Chicks were my gateway into country music, which is why I so badly want to see them live. Their music is beautiful, meaningful, and everything that makes them country, is what makes them so damn great.

Radiohead

I love Radiohead. My favourite way to listen to them is alone with headphones on, so I can drown out the world around me. I always hesitate to see them live when they come to town, because I don’t want that effect to get ruined when they play to thousands. Having said that, if I never get to see them live, I’ll never get over it. I missed them this year, here’s hoping they decide to come back.

 

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The music industry is full of kinds of characters, so it’s not shocking then that musicians, like all celebrities, often get involved in controversies. I’m not talking about drugs or sex scandals, because let’s face it, who hasn’t been involved in one of those. I’m talking about controversies that gain not only significant media attention, but also cause a significant fan reaction. I know as music fans we’re supposed to be able to separate a musician’s professional life from their personal life. But it’s not always so easy. Where’s that line? How far do they have to go to for their music careers to be affected? Is it different depending on who the artist is? Here’s a look at a few such incidents.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Musicians have the unique privilege of having their voices heard. They know how to appeal to the masses via their music, live shows, interviews, websites, and so on. Enter Kanye West. Now he has been known to speak his mind on more than one occasion (usually to express his disdain for not  getting what he thinks he deserves), earning him a reputation of being quite arrogant. His second album Late Registration dropped on August 30th, 2005 and debuted at #1 on Billboard 200. On September 2nd of the same year Mr. West claimed on a telethon that George Bush didn’t care about black people. Not the kindest comment one could make about one’s President, but apart from a few surprised faces, it did not in any way affect his album sales and no one really cared about it a few days later.

Now put this against the Dixie Chicks controversy of 2003. While playing a show in London, England, lead singer Natalie Maines admitted to feeling ashamed that current U.S. President Bush was from Texas, due to her differing opinions with him on the war in Iraq. Classified as an anti-Bush comment, fans went crazy. They started boycotting their music, burning their albums and sending death threats. Their single “Landslide” fell from #10 to #43 on Billboard’s Hot 100 in one week; a week later, it wasn’t even on the charts. All this because she said something.

Kanye insulted the President on live television, on U.S. soil; Natalie made a comment about the same President all the way in London, England. Of course, not every single Dixie Chicks fan reacted in such an extreme way, but there were enough to gain media attention. Does this mean Dixie Chicks fans over-reacted or do they just draw the line at political opinions? Or is it just Kanye West fans don’t take political opinions as seriously? Is Kanye West more popular than the Dixie Chicks, which is why he was able get away with it?

Religion is always a complicated topic to address, especially when you’re famous. Let’s talk about Madonna. We all know how famous she is and how she likes to push the envelope as often as possible. Her video for 1989’s “Like A Prayer”, depicted several burning crosses and her making love to some sort of religious figure. The Vatican was not too happy about this and banned her from performing in Italy. The video had come about as a collaboration with Pepsi who due to all the heat from various religious groups had to drop her sponsorship. However, “Like a Prayer” did famously well and none of this caused even the slightest bit of a dent in Madonna’s career. As we all know.

Flip to Sinead O’connor. Best known for her 1990’s contribution, “Nothing Compares 2 U”, Sinead sparked a huge controversy in 1992 when she appeared as musical guest on SNL and ripped a photo of the Pope and calling him evil and the enemy (this was during the height of child abuse discoveries within the Catholic church). After the SNL incident, Sinead released her next album in 1994, entitled Universal Mother. Despite pretty good reviews, it just wasn’t enough to get her career back on track. Since then, though she continues to make music, I wouldn’t really say her career is booming.

One could argue that Madonna is just more talented than Sinead and that’s why her music career hasn’t been as illustrious. Fair enough. But it’s almost like Madonna’s controversy only drew more attention to her song and video, whereas Sinead’s actions just maybe went too far in some people’s opinions. Was it just that Sinead’s music wasn’t as popular as Madonna’s so it couldn’t carry her past the incident? Maybe.

This is the toughest controversy for me to get my head around. Domestic abuse. We’ll start with Chris Brown. A young hip-hop artist often referred to as the next Usher, had a career that was gaining momentum rapidly and offered the whole package: the look, the voice, the moves. I for one had no issue with him, didn’t mind hearing his generally upbeat songs at a club or on the radio. Then in February 2009 he was accused of domestically abusing his then girlfriend singer Rihanna. His album Graffiti released later that year did poorly and received pretty negative reviews, most commenting on the poor quality of his music. It’s hard to say if this was a result of what had happened, though it’s possible. But his latest release, 2011’s F.A.M.E., spawning its first single “Yeah 3x” in October 2010, debuted at #1. Maybe it’s because the incident occurred when Chris was only 19. Maybe because I, as most of the public, was able to see a photo of Rihanna after Chris attacked her (courtesy of TMZ – how do they do it!). Maybe because every time I see Chris Brown, I see that photo. Whatever the reason, I refuse to listen to his music or support him in any way shape or form. He recently appeared on Good Morning America and when asked about the Rihanna incident he got angry and instead of performing a second song, he trashed the dressing room, ripped off his shirt (apparently in a Hulk-like manner) and after security was called, he eventually left the building topless. I don’t think the whole anger management thing is working.

Now if we take a look at Eminem, the story changes. Here’s a guy who is a lyrical genius, one of a kind. Arguably one of the best rappers out there. His lyrics are honest, angry and always make a statement, which is what I love most about him. He doesn’t back away from want he wants to say and that is something to be respected. Though Eminem hasn’t ever actually been arrested for domestic abuse (as far as my extensive Google research goes), he has written plenty of lyrics describing his hatred, aggression and even his desire to kill women (see 2000’s “Kim”). Eminem got some heavy criticism for how he portrayed women in his lyrics, several feminist groups even protested and boycotted his music. During his Anger Management Tour in 2000, he was almost banned from performing in Toronto due to a complaint filed to the Hate Crimes Unit of Toronto, claiming his lyrics were equivalent to a hate crime against women, as described by Canadian law. Eminem was actually interrogated prior to his entry, but no reason was found to disallow him from entering. I’m in no way defending his lyrics (they do get pretty graphic), but why has no one tried to stop Chris Brown from coming into the country? He was actually arrested for his hate crime towards a woman.

Eminem’s career has always been controversial, so it’s hard to tell how much of what he does actually affects his career. Some fans appreciate his honesty and can see a lot of what he says need not be taken seriously. Other music fans think he’s a bad influence. Why does it seem as though Chris Brown was easily forgiven by fans? He was recently praised for his performance on Dancing with the Stars. Is it because he’s just that amazing a dancer that it doesn’t really matter what he did?

At the end of the day, it comes down to where you as a fan and as an individual draw the line. It’s a matter of opinion. Why certain fans react one way to a given situation and other fans react in another way is a completely personal choice. It can be influenced by the nature of the action or even the musicians themselves. It seems however, as though the more well-liked and popular musicians seem to be criticized less harshly and I’m not sure why. What do they have to do with anything? Just because a musician is at the top of the charts, do we turn a blind eye to their misbehaviour as a person? Furthermore, when a talented musician is involved in a controversy, do we forgive them more easily, because they are so talented? Does that help us justify to ourselves why we continue to listen to their music, buy their albums, and see them live? Well it shouldn’t. But then again, who am I to judge?

Music appeals to so many people in so many ways all over the world. We all have our reasons for listening to the music we do. Be it to be popular, to be part of something, to be able to dress a certain way (that’s you emo kids), to be closer to someone, to be farther away from someone, to be different, to stand out, to blend in.  But with so many genres out there how do we develop a taste in music? Why do we like the music we like? And does the music we like define who we are?                                                                                                                                                                                     My earliest memories of music come from when my brother used to bring home cassette tapes of whatever one hit wonder was on heavy rotation on the radio (ie Vanilla Ice and MC Hammer). Every once in a while though, thanks to the recommendations from my older cousins, he would bring home some good old classic 80s music (a la U2, Duran Druan, INXS). And so began my love affair with U2. As I got older and reached middle school, music started to become more prominent in developing one’s personality. Naturally, I was influenced by those around me. Although I consistently listened to U2 (and still do), beyond them, I found myself listening to whatever music was considered “cool” at the time. In my school it was early-mid 90s rock/grunge/alternative. Head banging made an appearance at every birthday party, as did flannel shirts, band t-shirts and mosh pits. My high school years were essentially the same music-wise and so many songs that I heard during those years would go on to become classics, at least to me.

Then came University, and all hell broke loose. Music started to become more a way of labeling people and putting them into categories; a way of separating the cool kids from the uncool kids. The people in the school I went to predominantly listened to hip-hop/r&b/rap, genres which I had very minimal exposure to. Going from a place where everyone listened to the music I did, to a place where no one did was eye-opening to say the least. I was often assaulted with the line “Oh. You listen to that kind of music”. What does that even mean? Does my taste in music in some way say something about me or how I should act or dress? Who knows. But it made me realize that a lot of the music I listen to appealed to me because of the sound, the lyrics and the way it made me feel. I know it sounds corny, but no other music at the time really had that effect on me. As such, I held on to “my” music even more; almost like a purposeful denial of what was popular and cool. I went from listening to music because it was “cool” to then listening to the same music even though it was “uncool”.

Then came my mid-late 20s where I started to expand my taste in music and listen to everything. And yes, I mean everything. I noticed that a lot of the music I was listening to was angry, or depressing. Not sure what that means exactly (maybe I’m an emo kid??), but my interpretation is music helps me express myself. I am not a very emotional person, and I rarely express how I’m feeling, not because I don’t want to, but because I don’t know how. Musicians seem to know what I’m feeling and say it way better than I ever could. And so I can relate and feel like someone understands. The Dixie Chicks have some of the most moving songs I’ve ever heard – sure it’s country, but does that matter? Does that mean I have to start showing up at hoedowns and rocking cowboy boots? I also have this unbelievable admiration for Eminem. Sure he’s a rapper (not a genre I tend to gravitate toward), but he’s an angry one and his rhymes are arguably some of the best out there. There’s nothing more satisfying to me than hearing someone else venting and getting loud, when that’s exactly all I want to do. Sometimes when I have a bad day, I throw on some Ben Harper or Damien Rice (uber depressing stuff), but they get those feelings out of me so I don’t feel that way anymore; it’s like instant therapy.

My taste in music first came from the people around me, then developed into something I wanted it to be. I still find it ridiculous (though I get that it’s human nature) how people are defined by what music they listen to, because everyone has their personal reasons. Sure every genre has its own subculture that surrounds it but just because one likes a certain type of music, it doesn’t mean they are that music. I’ve said before that having similar taste in music can bring people together, but that doesn’t mean dissimilar taste in music should pull people apart. So open yourselves up a little, try talking to an emo kid for a change. Music has not defined who I am, but has actually helped me find who I am. And in the end that’s what we’re all trying to do – so does it matter how we get there?