Sunday, February 28, 2010

Orianthi: Please Avoid Bubble-Gum Pop

When Michael Jackson was preparing for his final tour that would never take place, he had hired a young female guitarist named Orianthi. She has blonde hair, looks like a pop star, but plays the guitar like she’s Eddie Van Halen. Recently, she has released her own album with a song called “According To You”, which is more pop than rock. While I doubt that many bubble-gum pop tarts like Britney Spears can play any musical instrument with an ounce of talent, I wonder if Orianthi is choosing the wrong style of music because she would rather be the next Britney Spears than the next Eddie Van Halen.

If you watch the video for “According To You”, you will see Orianthi play the guitar at different points in the song, then pull off a very impressive solo. To me, the song says, “I can sing the same music, and play amazing guitar solos.” The problem is… I don’t want to hear her singing bubble-gum pop music.

I want to clarify that I don’t put Michael Jackson in that category. While he was the king of pop, he wrote mainstream songs that were appreciated by the majority of people. Even Ronald Reagan was a fan of Michael Jackson. But Michael also used a variety of styles in his music. His song, “Beat It” was actually a hard rock song. The solo was played by Eddie Van Halen. To become Michael Jackson’s current guitarist, Orianthi proved that she could play the solo in “Beat It” and she received the job. Orianthi’s guitar style is Hard Rock/Heavy Metal with an 1980’s feeling.

Trying to mix Hard Rock with Bubble-Gum Pop (like Britney Spears) is not a good combination. Fans of Hard Rock/Heavy Metal cannot accept a guitar virtuoso singing pop songs and, let’s face it, fans of singers like Britney Spears hardly care if the “artist” is even singing the songs on stage. If you are a fan of Bubble-Gum Pop, and you accept Britney Spears lip-syncing, then do you really care if another singer is up there, singing, and playing the guitar? Probably not.

Orianthi has another difficult thing to deal with. After putting out a Bubble-Gum Pop album, can she actually change to Hard Rock and be accepted? I’m not sure about this one. I will admit that there have been very few successful female artists in Hard Rock/Heavy Metal, but having already made a Bubble-Gum Pop album, I think it would be harder for her to be accepted in Hard Rock or Heavy Metal. Basically, she has the talent for Rock and wants to sing Pop. She needs to choose which side of the music world to build her career and then stay on that side.

I think what she should do is try to reinvent herself before she is well-known. Maybe she should be the guitarist in a band with another singer or be the lead in a Hard Rock girl band. Girl band? Am I being condescending? No. I think she needs to find an area that she can fit in because she’s too unique for the music industry of today.

I want to be clear that I think that Orianthi is extremely talented. I respect her for not being another pop tart on stage singing without musical talent. She can play the guitar better than the majority male guitarists and has proven that she is talented enough to be a successful musician. The only thing that she needs to do is find the right kind of music and decide what kind of band that she will be in. Right now, she’s too Pop for Metal fans and she’s too Metal for Pop fans. With new direction, she can find the right path.


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