Looking at the list of possible artists for the College Union Board’s (CUB) Spring Concert, I couldn’t help feeling as if I had traveled back in time in Doc Brown’s De Lorean. Lifehouse? Third Eye Blind? Were these really possibilities or merely a look back at one of my seventh grade mix tapes, minus, of course, Lou Bega and LFO?
Considering the plethora of talent that has been brought to the College in the past, acts like Ben Folds, Dave Chapelle and even the legendary Tom Waits (in the Rathskeller, no less. Tom Waits, in the goddamned Rat), it’s disappointing to see how every year the concert headliners seem to get worse and worse. I know CUB works hard to book great talent, but often the money just isn’t there, and I doubt acts like Kanye West are itching for the opportunity to perform in Ewing, N.J.
Nevertheless, the survey list of artists released on the Web, whether selected solely by students or not, as CUB claims, is full of lackluster and dated musical acts. Much of the list is composed of artists who ceased being relevant years ago (cough, Third Eye Blind, cough). Sure, “Semi-Charmed Life” is great to sing along to on the radio once in awhile, but are we really going to fork over $70,000 for a little bit of guilty-pleasure ’90s nostalgia?
The majority of the remaining artists are just as bad. Like every other CUB concert organized in the past few years, the list is dominated by boring, talentless, angsty, emo boys waxing poetic about girls in deck shoes and skinny jeans who won’t blow them. We’ve already had the aural bores that are Copeland, The Academy Is and Saves the Day. Do we really need Yellowcard, Brand New and Cartel to expand on the theme that it’s hard out there for a suburban, So-Cal white boy?
And though I wasn’t necessarily surprised, I was certainly dismayed at the absolute dearth of female talent on the list, which did laudably include a few black artists for a change.
“There aren’t that many female artists that are out with hot stuff right now,” said one student in a previous Signal article on the subject.
Really? I guess no one on campus has heard of women or women-fronted acts like Rihanna, Feist, Tegan and Sara, Colby Cailat, Cat Power, M.I.A., Jenny Lewis, Lilly Allen, Ani DiFranco, Paramore, Kelly Clarkson or the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Including 15 men and no women on a list is not only incredibly disappointing, but indicative of the cock-rock trend that often dominates the music scene, both nationally and at the College.
I’m tired of these musical choices that constantly pander to the lowest common denominator. I know we can’t bring huge artists to our provincial little state school and I’m not saying we have to. I am sick, however, of the powers that be that keep trying to shove shitty bands down our throats. The mentality seems to be, “well, we aren’t going to get much better than this so we might as well settle” to what amounts to be not second, but seventh best. Instead of bringing the same tired bands over and over again, why not bring a fresh musical talent here, or, gasp! an indie act with actual talent? Where are the Andrew Birds, the Lupe Fiascos, the Sufjan Stevens, the Peaches? How about Band of Horses, Rilo Kiley, Of Montreal or Rogue Wave?
I know that probably won’t happen, but in my heart of hearts I’m still holding out hope. If CUB can’t bring great talent to campus, than I at least pray that it will further raid my seventh grade music selection and bring Sisqo.