Friday, June 27, 2008


A couple of months ago I was sitting in a hotel room in Seattle and happened across a PBS special: last year’s Osmond family reunion concert in Las Vegas. When first advertised, this concert was sold out in minutes, so the PBS host says. And, indeed, the very enthusiastic and middle-aged audience looks like it’s completely packed.

The trademark harmonies of the Osmonds are still there, but my, oh my! those guys are gettin' old! I’m watching Donny cavorting around the stage and I’m worried that he will trip, do a face-plant on the steps and finally ruin those perfect teeth.

I was never a big fan, per se, of the Osmonds and their music, but our ages are similar, so I’m using their work to make a point.

Thanks to the success of a young friend, I have a much closer view of the elaborate marketing that goes on around the up and coming singers. The package is heavily stylized, and I wonder whether those young musicians end up losing their sense of self before they even begin. In chords and lyrics and melodies the human soul finds a mysterious expression. Music is, in fact, a visceral experience. I think God designed it that way and meant it to be an honest expression of the soul as well as being something artistic.

There are many who say our generation is too old to be performing – “middle age” isn’t sexy, you know, and it’s sex that sells. But I say that the music should speak for itself, rather than relying on the show of nubile flesh, the model-thin body, the professionally airbrushed print advertising. Age should be irrelevant. It’s the music, the expression of the soul, that matters.

Sooooo….. Rock on, Osmonds! (But watch where you put your feet.)


Nostalgic for the Pleistocene said...

Too true. Over in the Amy Grant group there was an 'American Idol' discussion a few weeks ago and our rude and grouchy but musically knowledgeable friend Bill made a very insightful comment about unique - and some great - talents who would never make it on AI:

"Bob Dylan
Janis Ian (what would Paula say about her looks?)
Tracy Chapman
Mary-Chapin Carpenter
Emmylou Harris
Kate Bush
Sophie B. Hawkins
KT Tunstall"

I've never watched AI, and i know for a fact that some genuinely talented people go far there, but it does point out the way that Glam and packaging are preeminent now. And Youth with a capital Y!

I think music both comes out of, and speaks more directly to, the soul than any other art.

Catherine said...

'Tis true! And it sad -- because the music is always so much more than the "package." As you say, music speaks to the soul. That makes music more than sexy, more than glamorous, more than pretty, more than stylish, more than all of those visual qualities.

The Tysor's said...

who are the Osmonds??

Catherine said...

You. Must. Be. Joking.