X Factor? My Arse! Or How To Do It Properly! A New Series From Pie And BiscuitsDecember 9, 2011
The (British) X Factor 2011 final is airing this weekend.
Regular readers know how much I dislike the X Factor. It’s aural fast food for the reality TV generation. Our youth are in serious danger of becoming obese from consuming ropey covers of some decent songs, sung badly and stripped of the production values that made them good in the first place. Add to this the sob stories and other forms of manipulation that are now obligatory for these shows and I’m left shaking my head in despair. Is it because I’m Officially Old™? Probably. But I know the tunes I was listening to from tot to teen and beyond had complexity, with roots in the genres of Jazz, Blues and Classical, to name a few. For the duration of a song, my brain would be deliciously challenged and my heart would soar. What could be better in life than that?
My brother sends me YouTube clips from time to time to prove the point. He titles them “X Factor? My Arse!” or “How To Do It Properly!” I liked the title so much that – with his permission – I’m going to use it for this occasional series. I must make clear that these posts will not be coming from the point of view of a muso, or a music journalist giving you artist/group in-depth background, or the serial number of the last originally released Beatles track ever. If that’s what you’re looking for, you won’t find it here. What you will get on each post is a short breakdown of the song, as I understand it, memories the tune evokes, if applicable and why I like it. And although I am Officially Old™, the songs I like and post in this series will not always be from the dim and distant past.
So let’s kick off with the first musical gem in this series: Michael Jackson and Never Can Say Goodbye – in acapella.
I hadn’t heard this song in acapella before. I was struck dumb by the purity and maturity of the voice, the emotion and the effortlessness in which he sings. It drills right down to the marrow. He was twelve years old when he recorded this. Twelve years old, ladies and gentlemen. We didn’t need to know about his sob story to make us like his music more (that all came out much later). We just felt the talent. There’s nothing more to add here, other than to say he showed us How To Do It Properly.
X Factor? My Arse!