June 2011

System of a Down - "Toxicity"


Did you know that System of a Down changed their name from Victims of a Down in order to be shelved closer to Slayer in record stores? (Wikipedia has spoken! It is fact.) Were you aware that Serj Tankian lands in my top 5 favorite male vocalists ever in the world? More alt metal bands could do with those rich melodic chops he's got. SoaD's penchant for melody can be heard especially on the title track off their 2001 record Toxicity. The video hasn't aged terribly well--the band members hop around like they're in some crappy nu-metal outfit--but the song sure holds up. 

The Glee Project: Big Fireworks or A Big Flop?

Having just watched the premiere of The Glee Project—something I’ve been looking forward to for months—I am left feeling a little empty. First, we were shown how many young adults auditioned for a spot among the final twelve, and that was pretty inspiring. I won’t deny that I got a few goose bumps watching people audition, and how they all sang together in between auditions. It was moving, seeing so many outcasts and people who feel different come together like that. I wish we had more events like this—on the local level, even!—just for us all to let our freak flags fly and be ourselves.

All of that said, the first actual episode of the project itself felt like a flop. I didn’t really fall in love with any of the characters, as I had expected to. In fact, I had predicted to my eye-rolling husband that I’d be attached to them all and it would be so difficult to see them narrowed down to just one. After all, I’m a giant Gleek, so why wouldn’t I?

Instead, it just felt disappointing. For starters, most of the contestants, if not all of them, act a bit like jerks. It has only been one show, of course, so we don’t know them well enough yet to really make a decision about who is the best; but every time I thought I liked someone, he or she turned around and said or did something so obnoxious or mean or just plain awkward that I thought, “Hmmm…” Of course, everyone is probably nervous and new at this (though some of them seemed to think it very important that they mention their “experience” up to this point, though it’s continually stated that experience is not necessary), so who knows? Maybe we haven’t seen anyone’s true colors yet.

But then there is the fact that they’re supposed to be looking for people to star on Glee, as people who don’t really fit in—and yet half of these contestants are what we would have deemed the popular crowd when I was in school.  Look, we already have part of the football team AND the Cheerios in Glee; we don’t need more fashionistas and conventionally pretty people! We need more fat people, more nerds; how about some people with actual zits, for a realistic change? And we sure as heck need some more people of color. How about a stoner? A book worm? One of those ambitious people who has to be in every single club in school? I think we’re seeing some of the common stereotypes played again here—though I guess since the show is losing characters when they “graduate,” anyone selected could still find a place on the show without a duplicate.

So far, I think I see two or three people I might enjoy watching on the show (maybe the girl who likes country music, or the guy with the scarf who can sing like nobody’s business?) but other than that, I’m just not that impressed. I’m also thinking that letting fans vote online—maybe on all of those MySpace videos contestants submitted—might have yielded some interesting results, too.