…but does it matter? Sometimes the answer is no.

…or, Yet another rant I’ve had bouncin’ around in the ole noggin lately.

I recently read a review of a new song from Carrie Underwood in which the author said Underwood “has much talent.” This made me think of something I’ve been wondering about for a while, namely this: Does your talent really matter if you don’t put it to good use?

I hear people talk all the time about how Carrie Underwood is such a greeeeat singer, that she sings like an aaangel. And every time those sentiments are expressed, I think, “Well, even if she does have such a good voice, she throws it away on some really crappy songs.” (Honestly, does it get any more banal than “Jesus Take the Wheel”? And it really hasn’t gotten much better from there…)

And the same goes for, to cite another example, the ’80s hair band Winger. If you’ll recall, ex-Winger guitar player Reb Beach not long ago was calling Metallica lead guitarist Kirk Hammett one of the worst guitar players he’d ever heard. As I said in comments here:

‘…going from what I’ve read, I’d say both Kip Winger and Reb Beach both have some major issues going on with not only jealousy, but also insecurity. Winger has been quoted as saying his band was the “‘hair band’ Dream Theater” and that “Metallica couldn’t play what we play.” If that’s the case, if Winger was so damn good, then why did they just go for the low-hanging fruit with songs like “Seventeen” and “Headed For A Heartbreak”?’

In other words, Winger might have been good, but from what I’ve heard they were by and large a joke among the headbangers in their day precisely because of the lowest common denominator songs that made them famous. Winger might have been the “hair band Dream Theater,” but they pissed all their talent away on crappy music too. So what does it matter if they WERE talented?

I’m sure readers could probably think of more examples…


One Response to “…but does it matter? Sometimes the answer is no.”

  1. southtexaspistolero Says:

    Keith (
    Talent is just a catch all phrase they use when they want to shove somebody out there. She’s nice to look at, and does have melodic voice, but I for one would rather listen to Billy Jo Shaver or Chris Knight growl something out with feeling in whatever notes they manage to hit than listen to her hit every note like a soulless robot.
    August 20, 2010, 4:47:08 PM CDT – Like – Reply – Edit – Moderate

    thepistolero (
    Ah, Billy Joe Shaver and Chris Knight…two of my favorite Texas singers. And I absolutely agree with you.
    August 22, 2010, 9:57:10 AM CDT – Like – Reply – Edit – Moderate

    Borepatch (
    Amen on “Jesus Take The Wheel”. But on that same album I quite like “Don’t Forget To Remember Me” which is also sentimental, and verges on maudlin without quite crossing the line.

    She was quite impressive on “Ever After” (the theme to Disney’s “Enchanted”). I particularly remember a high note near the beginning which she held without going flat. Not many could do that.

    But interestingly, we only have her first CD, which may be proving your point.
    August 22, 2010, 10:39:14 AM CDT – Like – Reply – Edit – Moderate

    Sabra (
    I particularly remember a high note near the beginning which she held without going flat.

    Well, I will give her credit for hitting the high notes — and the right notes. It’s just, well, most of her material that I find wanting. I suppose “Don’t Forget To Remember Me” was not quite as bad as “Jesus Take the Wheel,” but I still don’t get why so many people make such a big deal out of her. See “Cowboy Casanova” and “Undo It.” “You stole my happy”? All righty then…

    I did sort of like “Before He Cheats”…until I heard Miranda Lambert’s take on that theme.
    August 23, 2010, 6:49:07 AM CDT – Like – Reply – Edit – Moderate

    the pistolero (
    Oh, and that above comment was me…
    August 23, 2010, 6:49:51 AM CDT – Like – Reply – Edit – Moderate

    Boomer Lad (
    Do you owe people anything if you are talented?

    I never reckoned I did when I played, and there were a lot of better players than I ever was or will be.

    We used to intentionally run off hostile audiences by doing highly talented versions of songs the hostile audience really didn’t want to hear. Ever hear Stairway to Heaven reworked as a really snappy Boss Nova done by a 5 piece band with steel guitar. That one was my idea.

    I dunno. If you’re doing things because you like to play, it seems more valid to me…BUT…if people are doing songs to make money, you can’t blame them for making money the simpler way.

    Not to drop any names here, but I did work with some serious name acts and some nobodies, and a lot of the serious name acts were talented as often as not, even if I thought their product was swill and a lot of the “starving artist types”, well they SUCKED. A lot of the talented people marketing swill KNOW IT and it’s just a “day job”. They often have side projects or jam around with friends and do actual good music, or some of them like to paint or write or or or…Friend of mine is a really good metal singer and he likes to race boats. he doesn’t mind the singing bit and likes being on stage and getting paid, but at the end of the day, if a bigger paycheck makes his boat faster…

    I’ll tell you whether or not I like a musical bit, but I don’t judge people in the music industry for creating an industrial product as the music business IS A BUSINESS.

    The Replacements once played their regular classic heavy alternative rock to mostly Nashville C&W executives until only their “punk” fans remained, and then they played C&W and Broadway show tunes to the punks until they left too, because it was funny.

    Without knowing a person’s motives, I’ll just tell you if I like their songs or not and if they can operate a voice or intrument.

    August 25, 2010, 5:10:55 PM CDT

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