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No Talent, Just Stars
By Stephanie Stockley, Holy Heart High, St. John's, NL

Popular music is generally directed towards adolesence and young adults ages 13 - 24, mostly because people from this age range are impressionable and still looking for something they can relate to. Also, this group reacts to the images that are forced in front of them every day on television, on the radio, in magazines, and on the street. How often does one hear a new single by a popular artist they don't really like, but learn to swallow it up because it happens to be on every music station on and off television.

A lot of popular music is created through the use of "gimmicks". Britney Spears with her school girl outfit in "...Hit me baby, one more time" created a media frenzy in 1999, and 5 years later we still can't stop talking about it, making fun of it, and dressing up in it on Halloween. She's sold over 53 million albums to date, but it still all goes back to that one video and one genius costume designer. The only thing to come remotely close to receive that much attention since was one "Dirrty" little girl prancing around in a bra and underwear set that was accessorized with leather chaps.

But for the past couple of years there's been a little mix added to the bubblegum pop world. "Punk" music has become the anthem for teens and young adults looking for a more meaningful alternative. Bands like Simple Plan, Sum 41, Good Charlotte have exploded, seemingly coming out of nowhere, to give us all something with a tiny bit more edge to sing along to... on the radio. This music with simple guitar riffs and base lines might be different then what you'd expect to hear from Hip-hop hommies and Pop princesses, but for the most part its all put together in the same fashion.

Just like Britney and her saucy school girl outfit and Nelly with his band-aid, all these bands also have their premeditated gimmicks as well. Dark make up and funny videos call out to an audience who feels they need a reason to break the mold and just be themselves.

We need a chance to remind ourselves what real music is like and not just fall victim to contrived media attention. Bands like Nirvana, Metallica and Coldplay either are, or were, very talented bands, and if you liked them for the music and not because of what they were wearing or who they were dating. They're real and they're talented.

2004 is in desperate need of more raw talent like this. Sadly, you won't find it on the radio, on MuchMusic or MTV and you definitely won't find it teen mags such as YM, Teen People and J-14. To find the heart of real talent means going out and looking for it. In most canadian cities you will find underground talent playing at every venue they can to be found, seen but most importantly, heard.

There is an alternative, and you will like it.


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