Thursday, February 4, 2010

Let's cut it out with the in-ear monitor excuse. . .

Ok, so I neglected to do a grammy wrap-up this year, because basically I thought it was a yawner. I found the show to be a bit dull this year. And, the best performance, I thought, was by Andrea Bocelli and Mary J. Blige on the Haiti benefit song. Not much to say there. . . . he's an outstanding vocalist, and he tore it up.

Taylor Swift's performance was really, really bad. She couldn't hold pitch or hit notes in her own song that she's probably sung 3000 times in the past year. It brought me and my wife to wonder "Has there ever been a worse singer that's won album of the year?". I couldn't think of anyone.

Now, to be sure, . . . pop music has had it's fair share of folks who aren't great singers; all about the image; pretty face; etc. . . . .

I don't consider Taylor Swift to be that. She writes great songs. These songs connect with kids in an un-common way. I think she's a wonderful song writer.

However, in the long tradition of Madonna, Britney Spears, Shakira, etc. . . she can't sing that well. In most of those cases, though. . . they could at least hold pitch and make it through the song doing fairly well. Taylor Swift was not making it there on Sunday night. She just wasn't. It was bad. . if she was singing in one of the groups that I lead. . I probably would have given her part to someone else.

Here is the explanation from the Swift camp:

But on Sunday night's Grammy show, Borchetta said Swift had a technical issue that made her worry about her performance. (Attempts to reach The Recording Academy for comment went unanswered.)

"We had a volume problem in the ear. So, she was concerned that she wasn't able to hear everything in the mix," Borchetta said. "That's just part of live TV. ... So you're going to have difficulties on occasion. Unfortunately, on one of the biggest stages, we did have a technical issue. She couldn't hear herself like she had in rehearsal."


Just stop it please. . . . In-ear monitors can cause problems when they go out. It can make it hard to hear yourself. But, please. . . .I'm pretty sure that monitor difficulties were not the issue here. Celine Dion famously had a mic go out on the Grammy's a few years ago, and did great. Bono, the same. Now, again, those folks are great singers, but that's the point. Taylor Swift, isn't yet. . . so let's dispense with always blaming the in-ear monitors. How about, "I'm sorry, that wasn't my best effort up there. . . . . I'll get 'em next time."

And, as an in-ear monitor user for 8 years, let me say. . . . . you can get around this. You can make it through when your batteries go out, or you can't hear yourself, etc. . . . It's possible to still sing well. Whatever happened to "the show must go on".

rant over.

ps. I really like Taylor Swift's songs, and hope that my daughters enjoy her more than about 100 other young singer/songwriters. This is not about her. . .it's about the tired monitor excuse.


Publican_Chest said...

Yea, I think that is a lame excuse as well. After all, even if you can't hear yourself, know darn sure that the house sound is on and everyone else can hear you. Which means you have to 'bow up' and hit pitch regardless. Also, all the instruments are playing in key, a good vocalist should be able to find his/her way to the pitch by listening to the bass, etc. After seeing the performance, I think it may be the worst vocal performance I have ever seen on the grammy's.

aaron said...

yeah. . lame. Maybe she should've listened closer to the acoustic guitar she was playing. . .oh wait, it wasn't plugged in. :)

It does make it hard to hear when your phones go out. I just think, even if this was legit (it is becoming a pretty common excuse whenever someone lays an egg). . it's not professional to just blame it on that. Sound systems are what they are. . . deal.

Anonymous said...

everyone including aaron are entitled to their opinion. Here is mine. Unless you are a singer and have experienced such an issue (monitor problems) you have no idea of its effect.
moulded plugs not only provide a full mix (they surpress any external sounds (mostly). With a bad mix, it can inhibit the ability for a singer to even hear their voice in their head. It can make pitching notes extremely difficult as usually the vocal notes are competing with other notes made from other instruments that may be louder in the mix. These notes of course are in the same scale and can get lost. To top it off, even seasoned veterans can be shaken by such events, especially on such a big stage. Comparing a mic not working with in ear failures are not the same thing. thanks :) Ronnie from OZ