Boxes Are Not For People

JMO: Boxes are not for people

Yesterday was an exciting day for Taylor Hicks fans, as we got the opportunity to listen to his much anticipated new CD on AOL Kids. It was like Christmas come early for me. I had the day off and I spent my first few hours of the day listening and relistening to the songs and chosing my favorites, of which there were many. He delivered on his promise – a CD that covered many musical genres, with the unifying theme being his voice. All was good in my little corner of the world – I was a happy fan.

And then I ventured out of my little corner of the world and discovered that many were not happy fans. According to some, he failed, once again. Others have called him a fake. The comments range from not enough harmonica, to where’s the blues and soul, to WTF is with the over pronunciation, to where’s the dirty bar singer, to he’s only trying for radio play, to this will never get radio play, to why are so few of his own songs on the CD, and on and on and on. ENOUGH ALREADY! The myriad of complaints and oftentimes contradictory needs and desires of his fans is enough to make a person’s head explode.

Here’s the thing – Taylor’s fans seem to have a penchant for putting him in a box, or at the very least, creating their own versions of Taylor Hicks. You can’t put Taylor, or anyone for that matter, in a box. What that means is that you are defining him/limiting him and he will NEVER meet your expectations. People, he is not going to be what you want him to be, he does not exist purely for your enjoyment alone. He can’t be all things to all people, he just has to be himself, and I think that’s what he’s doing. From what I’ve been reading around the Internet, I guess people don’t like that person much. Rolleyes

And what about those who say he’s lied to us, that he’s a fake? I was talking with my girlfriend the other day about how people take every word he says as gospel. What turnip truck did they fall off?! Listen, I figured out pretty early on that what Taylor says should be taken with a grain of salt, and a very miniscule grain at that. Wink Does he lie, no, not exactly. There is usually much more meaning to what he says than what people actually hear. The specific discussion Mari and I had was about songwriting. “I wrote about 30 songs in the past few months.” “This is a songwriters album.” “I learned a lot about the songwriting process.” These are not his exact quotes, but I think they’re pretty damn close. Anyway, so many people I’ve spoken with interpreted that as he wrote the whole CD. So, when the track listing came out and he had what, maybe 5 songs he’s written or co-written (haven’t seen the exact numbers), he’s now a liar. No, he’s not. He may have written 30 songs. He probably did learn a lot about the songwriting process. What he learned was that he probably has a lot more to learn and only those 5 were ready for primetime. Should he be faulted for that. Nope. He should be praised for having the good sense to know what’s good and what’s not. Is it a songwriters CD? Yes. The songs that were not written by him were good choices – well written songs that deserved to be showcased.

It’s kind of the same thing with the whole where’s the blues and soul complaint. Those are his influences, just as they are the influences of so many artists. And they are not his only influences. I think he showed us that on this CD. And let’s get real people, this was also in evidence on his second self-produced CD, Under the Radar, though that CD seems to be much beloved and the “real Taylor.” Huh It is yet another box, one that the industry, and obviously fans, put an artist into. People like Taylor are confusing to the industry and the public. It’s not confusing to me – it’s fascinating and exhilarating.

While Taylor has been a performer for well over 10 years, he has not been a recording artist for that amount of time. He’s still learning and growing as an artist, and that is as it should be. If he delivered a replica of Under the Radar every two years would you be happy? Of course not, but that’s basically what people seem to be expecting. If Under the Radar is all you want, then listen to Under the Radar. I’ll listen to that, The Distance, In Your Time, some Nashville Sessions, and even throw in a little Taylor Hicks and I’ll be happy. But that’s just my opinion.


2 Responses to “Boxes Are Not For People”

  1. 1 Iagreewithyou
    February 27, 2009 at 6:15 pm

    Nice, I like what you have to say. Such a sad state of affairs here in Taylorland !! Listen, the people who are not happy with Taylor for whatever reason need to move on to someone who makes them happy. Something has to be WRONG with a person who hangs around and constantly gripes about Taylor and his choices about HIS OWN career.

  2. 2 Denise
    February 27, 2009 at 5:38 pm

    Nice Blog!

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