Battle of the Sexes: Are music award shows boring because music nowadays is boring?

Wendi Writes:

I definitely think so!  Recently the MTV Europe Music Awards were held, and I actually didn’t give a shite.  Generally I’ve always found the EMAs to be far less exciting than the MTV Video Music Awards anyway, but I do enjoy award shows for some reason, so I would always tune in regardless.  This year I saw it being advertised, and mentioned on Twitter etc, but I had absolutely no interest.  Similar can be said of the MOBO Awards in October.  Although I tuned in and it was OK at best, if I didn’t catch the show, it would have been no skin off my nose.  They were celebrating an anniversary, so they showed clips of past shows, and sorry, but I think it rather highlighted that it was once a lot more exciting than it is now.

Admit it, if Kanye West hadn’t stormed the stage during Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech last year, would you have cared much about what happened at the MTV VMAs at all?  Would you even have noticed that it was taking place?   I was only really looking forward to seeing what they would do in tribute to Michael Jackson to be honest, and that consisted of Madonna talking at length (probably out of guilt).  This year… well… erm… all I remember is the continuation of the Kanye/Taylor Swift drama, and of course there’s good ole Lady Gaga having to spice things up with yet more controversy.  This time it was in the form of a dress supposedly made of meat.  Nice.

The problem is that there is no one I look forward to seeing.  No one’s music grabs me right now.  I know some people will name artists of various genres that they rate highly, but most of the time they are jazz or neo-soul artists, or straight up hip-hop and I’m not much into those.  I love artists who can sing as well as dance.  I like to be entertained and made to feel like being in the audience isn’t enough, I want to jump up on stage and join in!  Michael Jackson is the only artist I would say I was an actual full-blown ‘fan’ of, but I also love Janet Jackson, and enjoy artists like Ciara, Missy Elliot and Usher.  Problem is most of them aren’t doing as well as they should, because everyone is jumping on this Europop/dance type of music, and I’m not feeling it.

When I think back to the 90s, we didn’t have to search high and low for good mainstream music – it was just there!  Saying that though, maybe it’s an age thing.  Maybe I’ve now entered the “back in my day” phase.  I’m sure that people my mother’s age thought that the 60s and 70s were when music was at its peak, and similarly I think music was best in the 80s and 90s (and maybe the early to mid Noughties).  Look at the recent spate of concerts by the old school artists like En Vogue, SWV, Faith and Brian McKnight.  I attended the En Vogue show and it was so good because of the nostalgia.  Are there any songs out now that will be considered classics in years to come?  Nowadays the standard of music has declined, because it’s far too much about the business, less about the passion and even less about the talent.  It’s not fair that we have to dig deep to find good music.  Music is an escape, it should be there readily available for the times we need to unwind.

As for award shows… maybe I’ll have to start looking to the non-music ones for my fix. When are the National Television Awards again?

Mr Lanrizzle writes:

The 2010 EMA’s.  Europe’s biggest awards show, with the music industry A-listers turning in performances notable for…er…well…nothing in particular.  Hmmm… well, it’s not a big deal because at least we had the MOBO awards, which had guest appearances from… er… Nelly… and… er… some Everton footballers. 

Ok, ok, not to worry, because the MTV VMAs had the real A-listers: Usher, Eminem, Rihanna, Kanye West, Taylor Swift (only included because she tried to diss Kanye), NERD, Ciara, Drake, Mary J Blige.  I mean, with a line-up like that, you can’t fail.  But somehow, in my humble opinion, this did.
Is music to blame?  I think it’s too easy to place the blame at the hands of the artists. Last time I checked, Usher, Eminem and Drake all made pretty solid albums. Mary J Blige always puts in the work.  Kanye’s latest album is a classic (go purchase that).  And Wendi, I’ma let you finish, but Lady Gaga is one of the most exciting artists of all time.  Not necessarily my cup of tea, but still a darn good pop star.

I would say music, and pop music in particular, is as strong as ever.  I think there are just way too many award shows, and that much quantity can only lend itself to laziness, sloppy performances, and lack of ideas.  How many times are we gonna see the same faces churn out the same performances time after time and still expect them to come out fresher than the
meat on Lady Gaga’s dress?  I’ve seen Usher dance his little heart out many a time this year.  For some reason, no matter how many light shows, stage tricks and leather pants he wears, it’s almost hard to give a damn.  And he’s not alone. Many an ‘A-lister’ seem to be putting on big shows at these award shows, but it all just seems to be a bit…tired.
Maybe I have my rose-tinted Topman sunnies on, but award shows used to be an event and would only come round once in a blue moon and the performances that were put on had the whole playground talking the next day.  Remember Britney Spears and that snake? Oh boy…
In June 2009 we lost the King of Pop Michael Jackson (RIP).  MJ was renowned for his showmanship and amazing stage performances.  Out of the one hundred and fifty to eleven thousand awards shows out there, we were left with a weak BET awards “tribute” and a few minutes here and there on the MTV VMA’s (hold tight the Grammys for that 3D nonsense).  Call me a cynic, but I’m thinking a few years ago, we would have had the mother of all tributes on at least one of these shows. It took a year before Chris Brown tore that stage down (and wet the mic with his tears), but still I was left thinking Big Mike could have been honoured earlier.

Another thing that adds to the general crapness of these shows is that they just don’t seem that credible.  I know it’s pop music and all, and maybe I’m getting too old to really enjoy these shows, but JLS winning their umpteenth award and seeing Anthony Hamilton in the ‘best reggae’ section are both frustrating and, well, perplexing (MOBOs, I’m giving you the most severe side-eye right now).
The standard of music is not to blame for these blatant assaults on popular culture. I blame the people at the top. These awards shows cater to the masses primarily, the industry bigwigs and then the rest of us just have to grin and bear it.  There’s definitely plenty of good music out there. There’s also plenty of rubbish out there too, and sadly the rubbish is getting a lot more shine at these shows than the good stuff.

*Update: I just saw R Kelly’s performance at the Soul Train Awards – good music is definitely still there. Braaap!*

Battle of the Sexes: Should straight men wear cosmetics?

Wendi Writes:

The only reason a straight man should wear cosmetics is if he suffers from vitiligo or any other medical reason that would affect how he feels about his looks, and even then my choices for them are limited, otherwise… IT’S MY JOB TO LEAVE FOUNDATION ON A MAN’S SHIRT, NOT THE OTHER WAY ROUND!!

Just to be clear, I have no problem with men using lotions and moisturisers to keep their skin conditioned – there’s nothing nice about dry skin on any sex.  By cosmetics I’m referring to actual make-up.  Nowadays there are so many straight guys wearing eyeliner and I don’t understand it.  Fair enough it highlights their eyes a little, but why should a man care about that?  A man shouldn’t want to look pretty.  Again – that’s my job!  I can completely understand when celebrity males have to wear make-up for television appearances, by all means, but it doesn’t need to extend further than that.

While browsing the worldwide web I came across this very topic on a forum, and the comments were quite interesting.  It was mostly males commenting (a lot of whom felt the need to confirm that they weren’t gay) and some were saying that they wear either foundation, concealer or tinted moisturiser to disguise the marks and scars left by acne and acne related spots.  Now… I understand that men can feel crap about the condition of their skin as much as women can, but I don’t think they need to go as far as wearing foundation.  Tinted moisturiser I can handle… I think.  But sometimes I can be a bit of an old school traditionalist ( if yer like), and I think that men should be men and just look past these things and see them as the battle scars in the war of life!  Ok… sounds a bit silly, but you understand what I mean right? Leave being pretty to the ladies.

We live in an age where new words and names are being invented to keep up with the ever changing times.  One of these words is ‘Metrosexual’, which basically describes a man who likes to take care of his appearance – a trait usually associated with homosexuals, but in this case it is a way of saying: “I care about the way I look, but I’m not gay.”  Personally I think it’s silly for people to suggest that if, as a man, you keep yourself neat, then it means you fancy other men, but hey.  I like a man to look after himself by bathing every day, keeping his hair in a neat style, shaving or neatening his moustache, beard or goatee regularly (I’ve realised I am a sucker for facial hair), wearing clean and stylish clothing, and believe it or not – I wouldn’t even mind a man having a  manicure, because long dirty fingernails are a complete turn-off.  Is all that not enough for a man to be getting on with to make him comfortable with his appearance??

Pete Wentz

Lanrizzle writes:

I take pride in my appearance.  I probably take more time in the bathroom than I should.  I don’t leave the house without applying a layer of cocoa butter and I brush my hair, despite it rarely ever being longer than 0.1 of an inch.  Hell, I’ve even had a few dalliances with texturizer in my time.  Excessive?  Not really.  Believe it or not, some of us guys like to take pride in our appearance.  Sometimes there’s a lot of thought that goes into that designer stubble, or those perfectly locked-in waves (obtained through that wave cap). However, there are some things that I can’t, I mean CAN’T understand – guys wearing make-up.  I guess in the cold light of day and the harsh glare of the world, makeup is primarily a female territory. Your average guy wearing makeup has the same connotations as a guy wearing a dress. Er… bruv, what are you doing?

Don’t get me wrong, there are the exceptions to the makeup thing.  The obvious ones like MJ (RIP), Prince, Goths (even though they scare the hell out of me), Krumpers in clown make-up. Basically, if you are getting ready to perform on stage, go ahead. Knock yourself out. Go crazy with that guy-liner and man-scara.

Prince... and his 'guy-liner'

Maverick, 24 from South London says, “There are only a few guys who can cross that line. The David Bowie line. In order [for a straight guy] to wear make-up, you need to exude a certain confidence. You can’t fake crossing that line”.

I guess the thing that should be asked is why, as a straight guy, would you need or want to wear make-up?  Do we really want attention so badly that the only way to do it is to go into your girl’s bathroom cabinet and take her blusher?  I guess if something becomes fashionable then there’s always going to be a justification for it, and attitudes do change.  I mean, if I’d told Marvin from JLS 10 years ago that he’d be wearing his mother’s low neck t-shirts and pixie boots onstage in front of millions of screaming fans, he probably would have laughed in my face (not at the screaming fans bit; the women’s t-shirt thing – stay focused).

I’m not against fashion and progression – far from it.  In fact, I even embrace it.  But I think there are some things that need to stay separate between the two sexes, and an androgynous society is surely not the way forward.  There was a brief (and I mean brief) period in the 80s where guys and girls looked very similar.  I can’t begin to imagine the confusion, but suffice to say that moment in time was fleeting and people began to realise that there are some things that guys shouldn’t do.

Let’s face facts – straight guys are looking for women, and the majority of women aren’t looking for a guy who spends more time in the mirror than they do.  So let’s all just agree that for the time being.  Guys – have a shave, use some moisturiser, spray some aftershave… But if you feel yourself slowly gravitating towards that MAC shop, have a quick word with yourself and leave the foundation to the females.

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