While watching this year’s Grammy Awards, I was struck by a very ugly performance by the Jonas Brothers and Stevie Wonder (on the talk box!). Halfway through the faux-virgin boys’ hit single ‘Burnin’ Up,’ it became abundantly clear that the boys were not playing their instruments. This isn’t exactly a shocking revelation, but the Brothers were just absolutely awful at masking the fact that they were merely running around dancing like the 14-year-old idiots tabloids don’t let them be. I mean, at least Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band had the good sense to have a little showmanship and time their fake strumming to the prerecorded track.
It’s fairly common knowledge that most pop/hip-hop groups don’t write their own songs (legend has it that Flo Rida’s hit ‘Low’ was ghostwritten by Jesse McCartney . . . ugh). But ever since the monumentally silly Ashlee Simpson ‘hoedown’ gaffe on ‘Saturday Night Live,’ the public has become painfully aware that musicians are just as afraid of screwing up on stage as we are. Most R&B stars do this regularly, letting their prerecorded track roll while they go ‘vocanuts’ (that’s vocally nuts). But the Grammys? Really! Couldn’t the Jonas Brothers just have taken a minor glance through ‘Guitar Playing for Dummies/Crap Bands’ and realized that my four-year-old cousin could play ‘Burnin’ Up?’ It wouldn’t have been too hard. The two Bros. who got cheated into playing guitar made fools of themselves by being completely incapable of playing their own song in front of thousands of musicians, on a stage that is probably the most acoustically sound place of music in the United States. I mean, the one who didn’t get the ‘sexy rock god’ tag by the tabloids just looked stupid – I think his name might be Gunther, but nobody knows for sure. And nobody said a word. Why? Because the Jonas Brothers are the epitome of the new music dogma that is more interested in image than quality. I know. It absolutely sucks.
But let’s not fret. Let’s exploit the record industry’s stupidity. I’m looking for three to five members of the Boston University community for a ‘once in a 15-minute-span’ opportunity to create the hit single I’ve written in my head (it’s called ‘Boulevard of Kissing Girls’ – it’s Green Day meets Katy Perry . . . oh yeah). Only one of you will actually get to sing, so I only need one talented member (and I mean talented in the ‘lowest common denominator’ sense). Of the other two to four ‘band’ members, I’ll need one that exclusively wears novelty t-shirts (you’ll be the ‘funny one’ – sort of like Jim from ‘The Office’). That leaves one to three members. One can be the ‘subtly sexy’ one, which means you have to be really ugly and really confident (the ‘Ugly Betty’ or ‘Nick Jonas,’ if you will). If there are still some left – well, you guys get the royalty checks for doing nothing. Maybe except hang out with Stevie Wonder and try to high-five him (even though he’s blind!). So that’s a plus.