Friday, February 23, 2007

Why Doves Cry...


Morning all. I wasn't too disappointed with the Idol boots last night. I predicted 2 out of the 4 (Paul and Amy) and I knew the worst singers would stick around for a couple weeks thanks to the "threat bounce". Truth is there are only about 8 I really care about (only 2 of which are guys) so as long as they stick around I'll be fine.

Thought the poster here was nice. Can't help but smile when you combine two of my TV faves.

For the main chunk of the blog today I wanted to look at a couple of awards shows headed our way, the Oscars and the Doves. One you probably know too much about and the other you may know nothing about. The Academy hands out it's annual prizes this weekend and I haven't really mentioned anything about the nominees yet, mainly because there are very few I have seen or care about (not that that is different from most years.) I couldn't care less about the biggest award, Best Picture, since both Dreamgirls and United 93 were completely snubbed. It was nice to see Greengrass get a directing nom for his amazing work on United 93, but no director has ever won without their movie being nominated for Best Picture, so I'm not holding out any hope of a win.

None of the other big categories really interest me except maybe Best Supporting Actress and Best Actor. I'd love to see Will Smith win for Pursuit but that doesn't look likely, and I'd like to see Jennifer Hudson win for "Dreamgirls", which she just might. Other than that, I'll be rooting for "Cars" in animation, and "The Prestige" wherever it got nominated (Art and Cinematography I think). Like I said not much to root for for me Sunday night. I may just watch Amazing Race All Stars and go to bed, then >> through the ceremony when I get the chance.

The Doves, on the other hand, are usually very interesting to me. They never get much press, but being in "the industry" (that would be the "Christian Music" industry) I know a lot of these artists and the people who work with them. Unfortunately the industry is struggling right now, and this year's nominations showcase exactly why. You have to look down to the specialty categories to find anything interesting or groundbreaking, with all the major nominations being right up the middle in the "safe zone" (except possibly Toby and Stellar Kart for Artist of the Year). Radio stations, record labels, and artists in this industry have learned that being "safe" gets you a relative level of success, and the industry has become a somewhat stagnant look at what "lowest common denominator" looks like when applied to music. Don't get me wrong, I want to see artists who are believers succeed (in fact, my livelihood depends on it) but I also want to see them push boundaries, musically, artistically, and yes even lyrically, and then be rewarded for doing so. Plumb's "Cut", Jars' "Dead Man", and Toby's "Diverse City", could (and should) have been best song noms.

Most telling are the "POP/Contemporary songs of the year" nominations:

  • “Bless The Broken Road”; Bless The Broken Road: The Duets Album; Selah Featuring Melodie Crittendon; Marcus Hummon, Jeff Hanna, Bobby Boyd; Curb Records
  • “Broken And Beautiful”; Broken And Beautiful; Mark Schultz; Mark Schultz, Matthew West; Word Records
  • “Dead Man (Carry Me)”; Good Monsters; Jars Of Clay; Dan Haseltine, Charlie Lowell, Stephen Mason, Matt Odmark; Essential Records
  • “Made To Worship”; See The Morning; Chris Tomlin; Stephan Sharp, Ed Cash, Chris Tomlin; Sparrow Records, sixstepsrecords
  • “My Savior My God”; Anything Worth Saying; Aaron Shust; Aaron Shust; Brash Music
  • “Praise You In This Storm”; Lifesong; Casting Crowns; Mark Hall, Bernie Herms, Beach Street Records, Reunion Records

Hear me clearly, these are good songs (even great songs), but for the POP/Contemporary category to be 5 out of 6 songs ballad heavy is just a flat out joke. It's hard to blame the GMA voters on this, though. It starts at the labels and on the radio (that's me). The artists that should be in this category simply don't exist. The Grammy POP categories include artists such as Christina Aguilera, Pink, Mary J. Blige, Justin Timberlake, Gnarls Barkley, The Black Eyed Peas, Nelly Furtado, Death Cab for Cutie, and The Pussycat Dolls. That's pop music and we have nothing like it. Toby Mac might be our JT, and Group 1 Crew is a step in the right direction, but our industry has the rock so tightly tied around us that we are sinking fast in a growing ocean of musical diversity.

If we are content to just circle up and keep making safe songs that Christians want to hear, fine. But if we want the product to expand we need to bring in new ears, some of which might even belong to non-Christians (gasp).

That's enough ranting for today :) What do you think?

Comments? Questions? Do you even care about the Doves? All feedback welcome below :)