It's only natural that a male-dominated music industry should use its promotional juggernaut to turn attractive female singers into icons. What's more interesting is when it tries to reverse the process and turn icons and other cute things into singers. Lil Jon, who is collaborating with the much-less-stupid-than-she-looks Paris Hilton on a CD, is quoted in the New York Times as saying that people told him "'You've got to be kidding, she can't sing,'... But it didn't really matter to me because she is sexy. And if you can capture that on a record, she could easily sell a million quick." Meanwhile Paula Abdul is in trouble for allegedly coaching an American Idol contestant with whom she was also secretly romantically involved. The thought of Paula Abdul - a good dancer and choreographer, not a bad actress, but not even remotely a singer - "coaching" a contestant in a singing competition just made me laugh. Then there's J-Lo - 'nuff said.
INDIE ROUND-UP for May 5 2005
CD: Third Road Home, Venus In Retrograde
So, call me a wacko, but I prefer singers who can sing, like Third Road Home's Trinity Demask. The Colorado singer-songwriter and her husband, multi-string-guy Tom Demask, have created (mostly in their living room) a very nice-sounding Americana CD. In well-written songs documenting the landscape of life, the contrast between Trinity Demask's plaintive tone and the lyrics' mostly positive outlook gives the whole production the natural tension that good music is all about. There's nothing adventuresome about Third Road Home, but with vivid lyrics, good melodies and strong choruses - as in the lively songs "Awakening," "Come Undone" and "Whatever Is," the sturdy ballad "True North," and the lovely, whispery "Not the Same" - you don't need to reinvent the wheel or jump off any cliffs to make a beautiful sound.