Super Bowl XLV, Black Eyed Peas, and the National Anthem

Here are a few brief comments concerning last night’s Super Bowl.  Take them for what they are worth (which isn’t much!)

1.  Congrats to the Green Bay Packers and Aaron Rodgers, Super Bowl XLV MVP.  You can read a great article about Rodger’s faith in Jesus Christ here.  The guy really should have passed for over 400 yards if his receivers would have not dropped about 4 easy catches.  I was pulling for the Packers, so it was a good night for me.  Not sure what to make of Ben Roethlisberger.  He is of course a great quarterback, who can argue with 2 Super Bowl rings?  And yet, even with that, it seems he is not a great Super Bowl quarterback.  In any event, he was clearly outmatched last night in Dallas by his opponent.  I was also fairly disturbed that Troy Aikman was providing color last night as I typically think he does a pretty mediocre job.  But, he was on his “A” game last night and did a good job.

2.  As everyone knows, Christina Aguilera pretty radically rearranged the lyrics to the National Anthem unintentionally.  She released a statement last night that said, “I got so caught up in the moment of the song that I lost my place.”  Hard to believe how that could happen when 4 billion people are watching you sing.  I’m kidding of course.  Granted, she is a professional and granted you should know the lyrics cold to our National Anthem, but I think she is deserving of a break on this one.  It could (and has) happen to anyone.

3.  The Black Eyed Peas.  For those of you who don’t know, The Black Eyed Peas is an American hip hop group who have sold millions upon millions of albums the last few years.  They are one of the most popular groups in all of music, not just hip hop, in recent history.  And their Super Bowl performance was perhaps one of the worst in the history of the mega-event.

Now, let me spend some time on this.  I am not discrediting The Black Eyed Peas as a talented group of writers and performers nor am I saying that their music is inherently bad.  I understand generational differences.  My mom and dad did not really understand and certainly did not like the groups I grew up listening to, groups such as Metallica, Megadeth, and Iron Maiden.  Even though I personally do not enjoy the music of The Black Eyed Peas, I nevertheless understand how it can and does connect to a wide audience.  So, this isn’t just simply a “I hate this band and their performance was terrible.”

But it was terrible.  There just isn’t any denying that fact.  The only way someone could argue for a successful performance last night by The Black Eyed Peas is if you are a die hard fan and are oblivious to objective performance criteria.  Hey, that’s ok.  I have done that many times with bands I love.  But last night was awful, and thankfully the vast majority of the blogging community is unified on this.  But why was it so bad?

I have heard several possible solutions.  Mike&Mike In The Morning, a morning sports talk show on ESPN, argued that the microphones and sound were malfunctioning, were not on when they were supposed to be, and caused considerable damage to their performance.  My brother, who seemed strangely defensive of the group on the phone (since all he really cares about is 80’s music, I found that to be interesting), argued that the band’s appeal is through their recorded “electronica” sound that does not necessarily lend itself well to live situations.  I think that argument is stronger than the Mike&Mike argument, but still yet, this is a band that thrives on live performance – their look, their show, and their techno-color coordination all screams for being seen in person, not just heard through an mp3 player.  Surely, after years of recording and performing, this professional group would have honed in by now on the myriad of obvious weaknesses demonstrated last night in their performance.  Could last night really be a true indication of their typical live performance quality?  Surely not.  (don’t call me Shirley).

I go back to something Kiss frontman Paul Stanley once said.  He said, concerning Kiss’s elaborate stage show, that “if you are a crappy band with a great show, you are still a crappy band.”  The Black Eyed Peas had a visually stimulating show last night.  But are they still just a crappy band?  My hope and my take is that they just simply had an off night, suffering from the same issues Aquilera did in the National Anthem.  Surely being on a stage in front of thousands and thousands of people, with millions watching around the world, all of whom are there primarily for football and not some funk-a-delic hip hop group, is an intimidating thing.  I think a Super Bowl performance is not the ideal setting to judge any artist on the quality of their live performance in general. 

And that is good news for The Black Eyed Peas.            

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