Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Taylor - Lost in the shuffle?

So here I am, minding my own business in chat, when WHAM! The meteoric rise and fall of Taylor Hicks is suddenly being discussed with a vengeance. Once again I feel myself caught up in the angst that this discussion pulls out of me...analyzing and reanalyzing and overanalyzing the poor man. He seemed so full of promise and good funky coolness...what happened to him? Why was he so phenomenal then, and just seems mediocre now? Is he (for some reason known only to Jesus) cleverly hiding that raw talent, or have the powers that be stomped it all out of him? Hard to say.

Taylor is not staying real to his roots and it shows in the lackluster performances he's been turning in lately. Whereas once he could make any song translate into a great performance, lately a lot of the gigs he's played seem to be less Taylor Hicks, blues man, and more adult contemporary mass-produced garbage. Although he is not a musician who is easily packaged up and sold, those who are"in the know" have been compelled to try to do it anyway. But Taylor is an artist who needs to stay on the edge, where he shines. When he tries to make himself sellable he gets very close to being a lounge act. Hence the crap album, which is now spilling over into crap live performances.

Five minutes of the Atlanta Smith's performance or the summer Workplay gig are worth the entire night of last month's Alabama theatre show. Is he losing his edge?


Anonymous said...

I was at Smith's last summer and I haven't seen "That Taylor" since...where did he go?

Anonymous said...

I've seen four Taylor shows on his current tour, which may or may not qualify me as a groupie; I also was at the O'Gara's show last August with LiMBO in St. Paul -- he was at his absolute best then by far. Raw, uninhibited, and joyful.

While three out of the four shows that I've seen on the recent tour have been impressive, it's the element of joy -- ill-defined as that is -- which seems to be missing now. It seems to me that Taylor derives little joy from just about everything about the tour OTHER than performing live and it is, indeed, spilling over to his time on stage.

He seems to detest most interviews (I interviewed him for a project two weeks ago so I have recorded evidence of this), he only "puts up" with meet and greets and fan encounters, and just seems to be tired and grouchy with the press generally. I know he's only human and the grind of this tour is probably getting to him, but as a professed "traveling musician" who is happy for the break Idol gave him, sometimes he sure doesn't act like it.


Anonymous said...

Hey Julie -- Mall Rabbit here. I've found myself reflecting over the last year of "Taylor Hicks" and am not sure what I think. I don't think the AI voting was rigged 'cause they wouldn't have let him win if they had that control. I think if he had not won, he would not have gotten signed by any major label. I don't think his single release was handled properly and it is absurd that it has not been properly promoted on radio by his label. I'm finally hearing it on 96.7Lite FM in Atlanta. I often wonder what he would've come out with if he had not won and not gotten $$$ for a major CD release. He would've had a huge new fan base -- many of whom "get" the pre-idol Taylor. I was at Smith's and had been listening to the pre-idol MP3s of live bar gigs. "Georgia" brings tears to my eyes. But, the whole AI machine has burned me out. I am thinking about seeing him in Savannah if that date is confirmed. Partly 'cause I love Savannah and would go a day early to spend time on River Street -- drop into Kevin Barry's & hope Harry O'Donoghue is in the house for an Irish gig. I'm wondering what this Summer add-on tour will bring. I'm still a fan and will support him, though I've wearied from the constant micro-analysis of his every move, gesture, & comment. I've seen one too many close ups where I can count his nose hairs and the random acne blotch. All said, I wouldn't trade my Smith's experience for any thing. It was worth the 5 hours of standing and one glass of water I had the entire night. I think he is a great entertainer and talent who is going through a rough transition.

Anonymous said...

Mall Rabbit said...

Oh yeah, I totally enjoyed The Tabernacle concert as well.