Music Diary Quickie: The Music of Super Bowl XLV!

Music Diary Quickie: The Music of Super Bowl XLV!

Generally there are two reasons to watch the Super Bowl: the game and the commercials. But some folks look forward to the half-time show as well. But there is even more music, and last night we had two pre-game songs including America the Beautiful as well as the National Anthem. Was any of it tolerable? Here is my quick take.

Lea Michele sings America the Beautiful
Gleeks know her well as the talented but full-of-herself Rachel, but she is also becoming known for her ‘diva’ like behavior in real life, such as when she snubbed a fan who just happens to be a star from True Grit.

Fortunately she did a very good job singing America the Beautiful. She has a strong voice (Glee actually requires the kids have some basic talents unlike so many other shows), and did a solid, faithful rendition. She was definitely the musical highlight of the evening …

Oh, and hopefully she gave Laura Bush back her coat after the performance.

Christina Aguilera sings the National Anthem
While I am happy to see that she has gotten to a more healthy weight and isn’t on the ‘race for the thinnest’ like Lea Michele (who had an unhealthy slim-down between season one and two), someone should have told her wardrobe people. She looked terribly packed into a ill-fitting dress and the whole thing was just a train-wreck.

Perhaps her outfit was trying to tell us something. No one should doubt that Christina Aguilera can sing – she has a tremendously powerful voice with great range, but recently she has been doing garbage pop songs that hide her vocals in a sea of post-processing and auto-tune and make her sound like every other generic pop singer … and her last record was an abysmal flop.

So maybe this was her attempt to say ‘hey, remember me?’ Unfortunately if she is remembered it will be as the over-singing has-been who butchered the National Anthem. Probably NOT what she was looking for!

Black Eyed Peas Half Time Show
It is interesting looking at the history of Super Bowl half-times and realizing that for a long time they were like college Bowl games – marching bands and occasional crooners. It wasn’t until around 1991 that the ‘modern era’ kicked in.

A few years later, just as things were getting more and more interesting, we had the Janet Jackson / Justin Timberlake debacle … and a pasty-covered nip-slip was met with so much gross over-reaction that the shows took a decidedly ‘safe’ turn. Since then we have seen year after year of people who passed their prime before most of the players on the field were born. Paul McCartney was a workable nostalgia trip, the Rolling Stones were NEVER good live and have only gotten worse with age, Bruce Springsteen has lost his ‘glory days’, and The Who were just embarrassing. Only Prince put on a decent show … so this year we get a group that has had many of the top hits of the last couple years and is known for dynamic live performances.

Well … they did better than either Christina Aguilera or The Who, that much I’ll say. And Usher sure has some great dance moves – though I think listening to him wheeze through the song made me appreciate lip-syncing more! Slash … well, he needs to get a band, because I know he is a very talented guitarist but there is precious little in his recorded work to show just HOW good he is, and instead he trots himself out on shows like this and American Idol looking like a caricature of himself.

Technically the show was very uneven – Fergie’s mic was off for a while, the balance was all wrong, and it really felt like they needed more time to work through some of the bugs. Then there was the auto-tuning … well, aside from being obnoxious and WAY overdone in general, like so much else in this show it was inconsistent – sometimes it was overdone, sometimes it was under-applied compared to the original song.

We had seen the Black Eyed Peas perform before and they have appeared many times at award shows and other events. This was by far the worst I have ever seen from them.

Oh well, at least the game was good and there were some cute commercials (I am partial to the VW Darth Vader one).

What did you think?

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About the Author

Michael Anderson
I have loved technology for as long as I can remember - and have been a computer gamer since the PDP-10! Mobile Technology has played a major role in my life - I have used an electronic companion since the HP95LX more than 20 years ago, and have been a 'Laptop First' person since my Compaq LTE Lite 3/20 and Powerbook 170 back in 1991! As an avid gamer and gadget-junkie I was constantly asked for my opinions on new technology, which led to writing small blurbs ... and eventually becoming a reviewer many years ago. My family is my biggest priority in life, and they alternate between loving and tolerating my gaming and gadget hobbies ... but ultimately benefits from the addition of technology to our lives!

2 Comments on "Music Diary Quickie: The Music of Super Bowl XLV!"

  1. Regarding Usher and BEP: when the choreography is more important than the music, that suggests one thing to me: the music is pretty sucky. It was. The show may have been better had the initial issues with Sarah Furguson’s microphone remained through the whole routine. I wouldn’t mind the old halftime shows, but an annual Springsteen gig would be fine with me. He puts on a far better show than that disaster last night.

    Regarding Christina Aguilera: the NFL should stop hiring “celebrities” to sing the national anthem and let a local high school or college chrorus do the job. It would be the thrill of a lifetime for them (as it clearly was not for Ms. Aguilera, who apparently was trying so hard to make the song sound “different” that she flubbed the words). I actually flipped away from the anthem and watched the local news, to see what the weather was going to bring this week, as I was more than desperate to get the game started and the fact that there was something called “The FocusRally Pre-Kick Show” is just sad to me.

  2. Completely agree … but as I also read elsewhere, folks like Bruce don’t play well to the bite-sized snippet medley format. Doing local stuff seems like a perfect idea.

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