Monday, October 1, 2007

Love Him Like He’s More Attractive

This morning I was flipping through channels when the new Matchbox Twenty video on VH1 caught my eye. The video had a cool look and so I suspended my channel surfing and watched. Ultimately, it wasn’t as clever as I thought it might be, but I was glad I stopped to watch it because immediately following it was Ben Lee’s “Love Me Like the World Is Ending.”

This is a really good song. As good if not better than Matchbox Twenty’s “How Far We’ve Come” which is getting massive radio airplay right now. Which made me wonder: Would Ben Lee be more successful in this country if he were more attractive? His new album Ripe is one of his best and his previous, Awake Is the New Sleep, is exceptional. Both are full of alternative pop songs that are radio-friendly and ear-friendly. It’s just that, well, Ben isn’t necessarily eye-friendly.

I’m not saying that we can’t be genuinely influenced by quality music and can look beyond looks to see the real artist -- us Ben Lee fans do that every time we see the Ripe cover photo.

But what if he looked more like Rob Thomas?

Or Rooney’s Robert Carmine?

Or Chris Carrabba?

Or Jared Leto of 30 Seconds to Mars?

Or that guy from Fallout Boy?

Or any other pretty-boy pop music icon?

Would he be getting more air time? Would he have more opportunities for promotion? Would we give him more notice? Given the superficial nature of our American culture, I wouldn’t put it past us.


Dave said...

Y'know, I'm gonna have a hard time taking you seriously if you talk about that guy from fallout boy as being pretty :P

I'm sure Ben Lee could look like that if he wanted to, but he doesn't. That's what makes him alt-pop rather than pop: his unwillingness to be a label's lapdog. Not to sound all indie or anything, because hearing an artist that isn't local implies a greater or lesser degree of bending over the nightstand and taking it from a label.

dave491 said...

The Fallout Boy guy is actually kinda creepy looking. But I was picking guys I thought other people would find pretty. So I agree with your ":P" assessment. :-)

Regardless of whether artists are local or not, there's still crap in both arenas. Now, I agree that if I hear a big push from a major label for a band, I'm immediately suspect. And for good reason.

columbussocialites said...

Not too familiar with Ben Lee's music but I do know that most of the artists you name did not all look like that until they went mainstream and they have TONS of ppl behind the scenes helping them look that way. He is no slouch. I think he dated Claire Danes once, she no Eva Mendes but ok

dave491 said...

True that. Claire was the inspiration for some great Ben Lee's songs, though. :-)

Craig Bower said...

To answer your question....if he did look better, he probably would be more mainstream. Sucks, but thats how the record labels work.