Friday, November 09, 2007

Rascal Just Flat Can't Sing

I have been scouring the Internet in the days that followed Wednesday night's CMA award show to find articles critiquing the show's musical performances, and there are none to be found! Please send them my way, or include links to them in your comments if you find them (Mark Kelly Hall, I'm talking to you) because I am baffled no one else has taken this opportunity to laugh at the atrocity that ended the CMA's.

Here's my beef: I admit, I missed most of the televised broadcast, but managed to see Kellie Pickler sing (great dress, bad, bad helmet hair- she channeled Lori Morgan!). Everyone has seemingly overlooked her mediocre vocals for the dramatic, choked-up performance, where she finished the autobiographical song about her mom in tears. I also got to see Brad Paisley win male vocalist of the year and couldn't have been more thrilled. Kenny won entertainer of the year (again) in a category dominated (again) by males. But here was my favorite part- so bad, it was good: the collaboration between Rascal Flats and Jaime Foxx.

Apparently ABC prepped you for this bit of entertainment all night, using every commercial break to announce the upcoming performance. And it lived up to the hype alright, if entertainment is what you were going for. The lead singer of this pop- I mean country- band tried to demonstrate vocal acrobatics usually reserved for the likes of Beyonce (or Jaime Foxx!), and apparently, his voice was shot, and this just did not bode well for him. I am not kidding you when I say something was Not Right, as the duo singing were not even in the same key, and I was laughing too much to be able to listen well! I have no problem with artists of different genres collaborating, but poor Jaime just embarrassed himself in the r&b world by showing his face on stage with those clowns. I am guilty of listening to Rascal Flatts and yes, owning an album or two, but it always amuses me to hear artists live and then realize how much work and production goes into an album to dupe the general public and make us think they can really sing when they can't. Apparently Rascal Flat's first performance of the night (yes, they got two!) was just as bad, but for political reasons, the TV producers decided they warranted 2 songs, when poor Tracy Lawrence lost his performance spot altogether!

My theory as to why there have been no negative articles regarding the CMA performances is that Rascal Flats is a big time act in Nashville and no one wants to piss them off. Well I have no qualms making my opinions known here, and if the county muzik mafia wants to censor my blog and come and get me for saying anything negative towards the golden boys and their gelled hair, I invite the challenge! And remember, send me those articles that discuss the awards show because I am eager to re-live the vocal monstrosity all over again by reading it in print!


Mary Anna said...

Shoot, you don't have to hear Rascal Flatts live to know they suck. His nasally voice grates my nerves.

Mark Kelly Hall said...

I’m flattered that you’ve asked my opinion…even though I know you’re just recognizing the inevitable…but you know me—my motto is “if you can’t say anything nice…put it on your blog so everyone can read it.” I’m only interested enough to leave a comment—albeit a long one—rather than a blog.

You can read the archived coverage of the CMA’s in the online Tennessean; here’s a link:

You can also read the archived Beverly Keel columns:

Click on any headline, then look for “View all comments” near the bottom for each.

They’ve inserted a required little survey to get to the pages (I don’t have to do it on my Mac at work but I do on my pc; just give your gender, year of birth and zip code if the survey page pops up).

Most stories allow readers to comment, like a blog. Most commenters are cranks and not too intelligent (some didn’t get Sara Evans’ attempt at comedy—her mock frustration at the entrance of the marching band—guess some just insist on believing the worst) but you might get a few different viewpoints. I’ll admit the opportunity to let the sarcasm fly with little chance of consequence (even though I use my real name) is tempting. It’s like we’re all taking turns hosting “The Soup” on E!

I Googled the deal and there were some people saying Gary was sick and that’s why he had a hard time with the high notes. I’m not sure that’s true or if it makes a big difference; I just don’t like the hillbilly Mariah Carey thing he does, even when it sounds like he apparently intends. I try to avoid calling music “bad” solely because I don’t like it…especially when it’s so successful (this is “commercial” music, after all). But if you can’t hit the high notes consistently maybe it’s an indication you shouldn’t record them. I’ve wondered how many nights Barry Gibb kicks himself for recording so many falsetto hits!

Other humble and correct opinions:

Miranda L.: adorable, talented but far from amazing. Too much flash makes one suspect she might be compensating for something.

Taylor Swift: best acceptance line “This is definitely the highlight of my senior year!” She’s good for her age, and you have to admit poised beyond her years, but still needs to grow into her voice (and like one commenter said, “eat a sandwich!”). And maybe the bump-n-grind act with Brad should wait at least until she’s of age.

Brad Paisley: good for him (on so many levels, incl. in the spouse dept.) even though if the Vocalist of the Year went to people with the best actual voices, they’d go to Martina M. and Blake Shelton. “Online” is a little bit of disappointment; kind of a “played” concept, too many obvious clichés.

Carrie Underwood: genuinely talented, dealing with success better than 99.9% of most people probably could, and good for her too…but if awards were earned by talent alone and not politics, Martina would’ve got the award. Same for Song of the Year.

Kellie P.: I don’t know…there might be such a thing as too much raw emotion. This is a stage not a counselor’s office; guess you take the therapy where you can find it. But I love the way she talks! I wouldn’t kick her off my couch fer cryin’!

Sugarland: Impressive, but I wish Jennifer would tone down the fake “reowr” effect—same for Reba.

Kenny Chesney: his deal with Satan is apparently still in effect; he’ll miss that soul one day, though! HA! No, he picks good songs and works hard; I’ve got no prob with him. UT fan, too.

Mark Kelly Hall said...

P.S.: (sorry, lots of caffeine today)

Did you see the local TV news story about the 2 BHS band members who were on stage with Brad, etc.? Everyone was bragging about how, after the song, one asked Taylor Swift if she would “hold his horn” (no comment) and then gave her his number…and (gasp!) she took it! He was pleased with himself. Call me cynical, jaded, bruised by the boxing match that is love…but if he thinks that because she was kind enough not to emasculate him after a performance by refusing his number, it means he’s definitely getting a call…I suspect he might be disappointed. Especially if she or her family sees the story.

Mark Kelly Hall said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mark Kelly Hall said...

P.P.S.: (last one)
In case I haven't mentioned it before, you & yours would enjoy this blog:

Look for the link to the one titled "Robin Roth, Super Important Talent Producer!" in the left column.

Mark Kelly Hall said...

You know, on second reading I realized you weren't technically asking my opinion, just for links to other people's. Oh, well. Guess I can't blame the caffeine for letting my ego drive while I read! But it's not like my opinion should be any less valid than anyone else's, given the subjective nature of the topic, right? Right.

Long story short (too late): I agree with you.

vanessa j. said...

Hey girl, here's a review of the show from entertainment weekly. I'm glad I missed the jamie foxx/rascal flatts duet. I don't think jamie is really that good of a singer, but he has a lot of hype going for him.

Mark Kelly Hall said...

FYI, in case you're still in the mood to "re-live the vocal monstrosity all over again" next week: CMT will broadcast the 2007 CMA Awards on Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 22) at 8 p.m. ET/PT. In addition, CMT will re-air its red carpet coverage from the CMA Awards at 7 p.m. ET/PT on Nov. 22.

Anonymous said...

I was a singer/entertainer for 30 years before losing my voice to a rare voice disorder -- Spasmodic Dysphonia. I mention this only because it has made me more aware of voices and voice problems. I had heard that the lead singer of RF had voice problems this past year and, as a result, had to cancel some performances. So I was curious to hear if he was AOK vocally for the CMA show. As soon as he opened his mouth it was obvious that something was wrong. It was painful to watch him try to "rise to the occasion" but I guess after all the hype he couldn't bring himself to (or the show's producers wouldn't let him) cancel. My take on the performance is that it wasn't just a matter of singing off key or singing badly. This was a medical condition and he should have respected the great voice that he has by keeping his mouth shut and letting Jaime shine. It was also obvious to me that Jaime knew something was going down vocally with RF and was very gracious in sticking it out and doing a fine job at that. Finally, any time you're thinking that RF flat can't sing, just que up "Movin' On" and listen to some beautiful singing. JPWalters