December 4, 2008

Fat Enough to Rip the Mic

Whatever god it is that rules over synchronicity is throwing a literal ton of fat singers at me these days. It started a few days ago when Recon and another old friend entirely independently posted some old Fat Boys videos. In case you missed out on the 80s, the Fat Boys rocked the house. The human beat box alone should have an entire wing in the hip hop hall of fame to himself and don't get me started on "Disorderlies."

Then, this came up and has been making the rounds on the feminist blogs. The singer Amanda Palmer got into a bit of a tiff with her record label because they wanted to digitally alter her image and she refused. They wanted to make her look less fat. Oh, and by less fat, I mean that they wanted to move her from the normal human look to the grossly underweight look. If the music industry wasn't so consistently incompetent, I might think the whole thing was a publicity stunt to stir up some buzz amongst online feminists.

Those of you who read my blog should know by now that I have a history of complaining about the music industry and the Amanda Palmer incident seems more of the same. Palmer is the real deal. In that vein, I thought that I would mention a certain woman named Etta James.

Plenty of people have great voices but few people can actually sing. Mariah Carey and Christina Aguilera both have astonishing vocal skill and wail on some classic jazz numbers but to what end? I know people who love these singers but when I listen to them I hear the ability and it doesn't do much for me otherwise. Here are links to "At Last" as sung by Christina Aguilera and by Etta James. Take a listen and see what you think.

FYI this is what Etta James looked like as a young singer:

Another great photo and yet I shudder to think what a music industry exec would have to say about the girl in it if she was trying to break into the business today. Luckily, we'll all avoid such showbiz cruelty since the new movie about Etta's life will star Beyoncé and I doubt that she'll be putting on weight for the role.

Pandagon has a post on the new movie "Cadillac Records." It includes a this video of James singing "Something's Got a Hold on Me."

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