Taking a musical stand
NEW YEAR’S resolution: e-mail Ronan Collins and thank him for the stand he’s taking against the mutilation of the music industry by the likes of Louis Walsh and Simon Cowell.
Collins has been refusing to pollute the RTE airwaves with the version of ‘Hallelujah’ recorded by British karaoke champion Alexandra Burke, asking ‘who in the name of Jaysus gave her that song?’ - quite rightly pointing out that the Leonard Cohen classic about an embittered man looking back on a broken relationship is simply not suitable material for a young woman like Burke.
‘Lovely kid, great voice, but how can they get her to sing that? It’s not a karaoke song. The line has been crossed here,’ Collins said in a pre-Christmas rant that saw him jump several notches in our estimation. ‘This is crass, and it interferes with people’s affinity for a great song. Louis Walsh and Simon Cowell just want to foist their own ideas about how the music business should be on the world.’
He’s quite right. Burke may as well be singing ‘Anarchy in the UK’ or ‘Come out ye Black and Tans’ for all the relevance the song has to her. She should instead be singing sugary pop tunes for a tweenie audi- ence who haven’t learned to distinguish yet between genuine musical talent and the sort of manufactured overly-manipulated tripe that Walsh and Cowell put out, but instead a seminal classic has been dressed up into a sweet little tune to fit all sizes, so that somebody can cream millions off all the money that’s spent on music at Christmas.
The only saving grace is that Jeff Buckley’s version of the same song has been featuring prominently on the airwaves too over the past couple of weeks, so hopefully people will come to realise the differ- ence between a genuine and heartfelt rendition of a true work of art, and the claptrap that masquerades as ‘music’ in the world of people like Walsh and Cowell. And maybe then we’ll see the beginning of the end of cover versions of great songs by people eminently unsuitable to sing them, like Ronan Keating taking on Shane McGowan’s ‘Fairytale of New York’ a few years ago, or even worse, American teen favourite Hilary Duff having a go at The Who’s momentous ode to angst, ‘My Generation’, when the line that summed up the atti- tude of the whole song - ‘Hope I die before I get old’ - was changed to ‘Hope I don’t die before I get old’.
Music can no longer be real, you see – instead, in the hands of people like Walsh and Cowell, it’s simply another product to be recycled and re-sold to a generation of ‘X Factor’ viewers who simply don’t know any better.
Karaoke is the new rock and roll. God help us all.
FAREWELL TO THE CRUISER
The Christmas period saw the country bid a final farewell to a true one-of-a-type, as the late Conor Cruise O’Brien was laid to rest. Opinions on the Cruiser were divided up and down the country during his heyday, but one thing nobody can deny is that he left behind a legacy of some of the best quips and oneliners in the political history of the State, including his legendary one on what turned out to the severely-premature anticipated demise of Charlie Haughey in 1982: ‘If I saw Mr Haughey buried at midnight at a crossroad, with a stake driven through his heart - politically speaking - I should continue to wear a clove of garlic around my neck, just in case,’ he said.
They simply don’t make them like that any more.
‘Karaoke is the new rock and roll. God help us all.’