Sunday, April 26, 2009

I've been consumed by American Idol fever. The last time I seriously followed it was... I don't know when. In my schooling days I really had little time for TV. Who's my current favourite? It may or may not surprise, but it's Matt Giraud (followed by Adam). I really appreciate his gravel-ly voice and his type of music, that blend of R&B/soul/soft rock. It's what I'll listen to. I also think that he has a great recording voice as his studio versions are always nice. His earlier songs- Human Nature, Let's Get It On etc.- were all hits for me. I'm impressed by how he manages to make old favourites like Part-Time Lover and Stayin' Alive current. I really get a sense of the difference in the arrangement through the studio recording of Stayin' Alive.

What I admire the most is the fact that he learnt to play the piano only about five years ago by himself. This just affirms my belief that it's never too late to get into something. Some people my age act like half their lives are already over and it's too late to do what they really want.

I guess I see a parallel between my situation and those of people with a passion for making music. In any type of creative endeavour, one has to be prepared for being ignored until, hopefully, success arrives. Some American Idol contestants have been playing in clubs and bars for years, getting little recognition until their big break arrived in the form of the show.

It seems that I don't always come across as someone with a strong interest in music when in fact I think I am. I'm inspired both by the music of the past and that of the present, though I grew up listening and dancing to the 'oldies'. I listen to a wide mix of genres, but those I particularly like are soft rock and jazz. I'm not so crazy about pure pop. I sing a little, like when the songs are playing, but it's not a conscious thing I do.

Lately I've been reliving the music of Savage Garden (boy, do I remember them in the 90s) and getting into this Japanese group called KinkiKids. The name makes them sound like some youth band, but it's actually two singers who are about 30 years old or so from a region in Japan called Kinki (yes, no naughty thoughts). I think they are distinctive in the Japanese pop scene because they're not so much singers as musicians and seasoned performers. They know how to play instruments and write their own songs.

Is it just me, or does anyone else find disco groovy and fun, albeit in a slightly cheesy way? Some people seem to absolutely abhor the return of disco in any form. I think disco is great in its own way because it's harmless fun and it doesn't have any pretensions- it just wants you to get up and dance. In fact, I really like a particular disco song, Love in the First Degree by Bananarama. I gotta say this- I also loved the group disco performance by the American Idol contestants. I think Matt and Adam are the best dancers of the bunch, and Danny is actually pretty good in some parts, which shows that all one needs for disco dancing is a healthy dose of enthusiasm. By the way, I thought Matt's dancing in Stayin' Alive was cool. He seems to have natural groove. Anoop and Kris are cute, but should probably stick to singing :)

I'm excited about the theme, Rat Pack standards, of the coming week's American Idol. I think I'll like that particular genre being performed. I enjoy it when the contestants do well because it means that I'll have nice music to listen to. Hopefully this will be a good week. And TWO songs per contestant! Woohoo!

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