Monday, December 15, 2008


A supposed friend recently referred to me as "1iz - the person Russell Brand goes to for appropriateness training", but this is a little unfair I do know we have to sometimes draw the line somewhere.

It may just be that the criteria that I prioritise don't always align with social mores.

But standards are important, and it's on just such a matter that I now feel compelled to speak out.

It may come as a huge shock to no one, but I don't tend to tune in to X-factor and the like (yes I know my televisual standards are low, but we all have a limit and a show that drives music to the lowest common denominator is just too painful for the music lover/snob that lies within me).

However a couple of weeks ago, a post curry chillax chez Dog Collars and Rabbit Corpses encompassed the showing of the X-factor show recorded from earlier in the evening. This was then supplemented this last weekend, when I happened upon the closing half of the final.

I'm sure the winner is a very lovely person (though I swear the look in Beyonce's eyes screamed "get me a restraining order!") and possibly she can belt out a reasonable enough tune (the vocal mix was generally so low on all the acts I've observed, as to suggest that the priority for judgement was more about 'performance' than musicality/talent), but I nearly joined her in the copious weaping, when they announced that her first single was to be a cover of Hallelujah.

Look, I'm generally a live and let live kinda girl, but there are some places in life where one just doesn't go (voting tory, buying the Daily Mail, socks with sandals, celery etc) and I'm sorry, but X-factor treatment of a classic like Hallelujah is just wrong. In the word's of the Republican's at the time of the Spanish Civil War - if we tolerate this, our children will be next.

Random vibrato and vocal twiddling is not a substitute for demonstrating at least a passing understanding of the emotional depth and richness of the piece.

To say her rendition dumbed down the affair is a major understatement; it was a bit like watching a trained chihuahua attempting to bring emotional gravitas to Hamlet's soliloque.

It'll be enough to turn Leonard Cohen into a right grumpy, old bugger... ;-)

So let us give thanks for Peter Kay. His wit may not be razor sharp, nor his satire sophisticated, but his spoof of X-factor style shows (Britain’s Got The Pop Factor And Possibly A New Celebrity Jesus Christ Soapstar Superstar Strictly On Ice) contains some crackingly well observed elements and is oh so timely.

So if you want to buy a Christmas single, buy "Geraldine McQueen's" comedy offering (yes you'll probably deride it in years to come, but you'll still manage to show your face in public); or invest in a quality version of Hallelujah (I'm a popularist really - I'd agree that Jeff Buckley's is pretty definitive, but other quality versions are available), but for the love of all that is holy don't buy the X-factorisation (the opening 3 lines alone may cause a fatal reaction on irony grounds).

Stand firm Britain. Don't buy it. Don't speak to those who buy it.



hugger steward said...

OK, I've been trying to resist this comment that I've had welling up inside me, cos it's a bit trolley... HOWEVER, it has to be said:

This really isn't a song worth getting that bothered about! I mean, can you seriously watch this (which one surely can't deny is an authentic version) without being appalled by the cheesiness of it? And that's not just the woeful set and the "ooohh"-ing chorus: the song fits the treatment they've given it.


hugger steward said...

(Tho clearly your blog doesn't agree with me. The word verification when I posted that described me as "a crank")

Kathryn said...

It's OK, I've disowned him already ;-)
For some reason (possibly related ot the fact that both of the women in his family adore it)he has a strange blankness where Hallelujah is concerned.
Me, I'll man the barricades with you to prevent any X factorer from attempting it!
(and MY verification is ooforc!)

1 i z said...

Ok I'll bite...

K my love - I can only sympathise with how you must feel about such sentiments being issued from the fruit of your loins. Let's blame the father eh? Sadly it seems that we've tolerated too much already and your children were indeed next ;-) Ooforc indeed!

G my darling, you're right the chorus is incredible cheesy with all it's wondorous ooh-ing. Even with all that though, even with all the obvious discomfort that screams from LC's entire posture, there is still enough in his eyes and voice to suggest he might just have a vague inkling as to what a lyric about a broken Hallelujah might kinda be about.

Besides keep an eye over his left shoulder about 35 seconds in - I'm l.o.v.i.n.g the chorus member whose head bobs out prematurely...and then he still misses his mark! Genius.

hugger steward said...

I have now found a version I can believe in :-)
Ch-ch-check it out

1 i z said...

Lol! It's possibly more emotionally authentic than the X-factor option I guess.