Rihanna has a boat load of hit singles and I would bet if you asked the average man or woman on the street to name more than one, they couldn’t.
Go back 30 years and chances are a similar group of random people could have come up with three or four tunes by Michael Jackson, Madonna or Cyndi Lauper. They were everywhere…on radio, TV, music videos…you couldn’t not know about them even if you wanted to avoid them.
God knows I tried.
There is no MTV. At least not one that plays music videos 24-7 like it did in the ’80s.
Today, music videos reach fans through Youtube, competing with homemade vids featuring cute cats, babies, conspiracies, OMGcanyoubelievethis exposes and hoaxes, and more cats. Music videos get more attention for being bad than groundbreaking. Looking at you, Kanye and Kim.
Whether it’s music, columns, blogs or TV shows there’s too much available and not enough time to see, read or listen to them all. We’re too busy (and there are people who won’t consider this blog worth their time and fair enough, it’s not for everyone).
One of my favourite bloggers is Bob Lefsetz, http://lefsetz.com/wordpress/. Thousands of people read his rants on music and pop culture and one of his recurring themes is, “we only have time for great, not merely good.” Just because you recorded a song at home doesn’t mean you deserve an audience. Most times you don’t. There are thousands of good singers, musicians and songwriters. A small percentage of them are great.
I’m a decent ballplayer but even in my prime I couldn’t have played left field for the Blue Jays.
Is Rihanna great? No. She’s gorgeous and sexy and when you combine that with what amounts to a focus group version of hit songwriters, and tons of promotion of the legitimate and shady varieties, you get a song that hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100.
And a tune, unlike Billie Jean or Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, that a large portion of the general public will never hear.