Thursday, June 25, 2015 at 7:18 AM

First Marvin Gaye’s Tune, Now Pharrell Is Singing Mine…

Posted by Anthony L. Hall

Lady Gaga arrives at the VIP Room Theater“Clueless old fool” is one of the more endearing ways some readers ridiculed me after I wrote the following:

Lady Gaga literally personifies the triumph of packaged and formulaic acts over talented performances. Which is rather a shame because this girl can sing…

Most performers seem to think the key to success is looking and behaving in a way off stage that makes what they do on stage seem almost irrelevant: Exhibits B: Nicki Minaj (or, for you older folks, think of all of the off-stage exhibitionism that rendered the music of artists like Grace Jones and Madonna irrelevant).

By sterling contrast, Adele not only sings like an angel, she might just be the music industry’s saving grace. Unfortunately, this industry has so little to do with musical talent these days that Adele performing on any music awards show is rather like Andrea Bocelli performing on So You Think You Can Dance.

(“MTV Video Music Awards,” The iPINIONS Journal, August 30, 2011)

Screen Shot 2015-06-24 at 9.59.04 PMWell, with all due respect to my (presumably young) critics, nothing flatters my take on these exhibitionists masquerading as singers more than having über producer/singer Pharrell Williams endorse it. Because here is how he hailed Adele as the “rare” singer who is “getting it right” today – not just on stage but, more to the point, offstage too:

Asked by MailOnline which artist today was ‘getting it right’ according to the “Happy” producer, he said: ‘Without a doubt, Adele.’

After a huge round of applause from the audience, Pharrell said the ‘Rolling In The Deep’ singer, whose 21 is the biggest-selling album of the decade to date in the UK at more than 4.75 million copies, was very rare, but admitted that she doesn’t engage with the public very often.

Pharrell revealed that Grammy Award-winner Adele will ‘open her diary for 20 minutes, do her thing, then head off with her beautiful boy’, adding ‘that’s how it’s done’.

(Daily Mail, June 23, 2015)

In other words, R-E-S-P-E-C-T for the talent Lady Gaga, Rihanna, and others display on stage is being diminished in direct proportion to the amount of time they spend trying to keep up with a no-talent like Kim Kardashian off stage (e.g. on social media).

taylor-swift-karlie-kloss-victorias-secret-fashion-show-720x480I mean, even Taylor Swift is perverting her wholesome talent (and image) by producing music videos that look like a quid-pro-quo ads for Victoria’s Secret. Have you seen her “Bad Blood” video, featuring a coven of her BFFs – all of whom just happen to be runway models…?

Another gear in a big machine don’t sound like fun to me

Favors for friends will get you in and get you far

Shouldn’t be about who it is you know

But about how good you are.

(Kacey Musgraves, “Good Ol’ Boys Club” from Pageant Material)

That said, you probably recall the nasty, yearlong litigation Gaye’s heirs trigged when they sued Pharrell and Robin Thicke for plagiarizing the riff for their 2013 hit “Blurred Lines” from Gaye’s 1977 hit “Got to Give It Up.” A Los Angeles jury awarded Gaye’s estate $7.4 million in damages just two months ago.

But Pharrell can rest assured that, unlike Gaye’s debt-collecting heirs, I actually believe imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. To sue him would be to betray this genteel custom of paying a compliment.

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