Remember when singers could sing?
My grandma used to tell me that it would never get better than “Moon River.” I’d roll my eyes at her and wonder why she would refuse to get with the program and jump into the “current times.”
Now, I proudly say, GRANDMA KNEW HER SHIT.
I could write feverishly about how Auto-Tune has ruined contemporary performance. And, I could go on for a really friggin’ long time about how the only real talent in America anymore just might be on stages, not in recording studios.
And I think about all of the bullshit in education. The standardized testing. The Common Core. The state guidelines. The benchmarks.
And nobody makes multi-million dollar artists sing for their suppers. They could sound like…well..ME…and get a contract. So long as they know the right people, end up in the right place, or own the right wigs.
We test the bejesus out of kids these days so that we can allegedly assess their understandings of literature, geometry, history, grammar, biology, algebra and chemistry. In the end, the only people who actually end up answering for these assessments, though, aren’t the kids who either did or did not take them seriously, but are the educators whose livelihoods depend now on encouraging a 13-year old to sit for two hours and fill in bubbles accurately in silence.
Yet, we don’t require a goddamn thing — not even talent — from the demigods to whom we pay our sheckles for their willingness to make noises come out of their diaphragms.
I propose an A Capella singing assessment be issued to all singing “artists.” In fairness, I should have, perhaps, also put “singing” in quotation marks as well.
The airwaves would be very different.
Although, then, perhaps the only thing that might come of that would be that vocal coaches all over the country would get their salaries tied to how many of their pupils passed those tests. And then the system would be all fucked up.