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High School Musical on for Another Season

How the Gleeks are maintaining the stranglehold of mediocrity on mass culture—and what did music ever do to them to make them hate music so much?

It’s heartwarming and uplifting. It’s fun and entertaining. It’s empowering and makes us all feel better about ourselves and the world.

No, really it’s not any of the above, and it completely sucks. I’ll confess to writing from a position of intentional ignorance about the TV show “Glee,” but I did have the misfortune of being in the room while it was on for about 15 minutes this past winter, and still almost felt I had to destroy either the TV or my own head after the experience.

This after hearing nothing but plaudits about the show for months. Which left me once again asking, ‘What the hell is wrong with everyone?’ And now the fact that they’re releasing a ‘live’ album (ignoring that ‘live’ and ‘Glee’ in the same sentence may well be an autotuned oxymoron) seems to be noteworthy enough that I’ve been hearing about it on regular news shows.

There is nothing noteworthy about a mediocre TV show gaining a devoted following—mediocre TV shows are arguably the only reliable way to gain ratings and a loyal audience. But this particular mediocre show is held up as somehow morally virtuous and beyond honest criticism for the social agenda that (I’m told) it embraces. While the show’s message and themes may be admirable, its treatment of music is not. Have you heard any of this crap? Songs you may not have wanted to hear in the first place ‘performed’ by people and machines that should be paid to stay away from music. It’s possible that there is some musical talent on the show, but from the songs I’ve heard whatever talent exists is fighting an impenetrable soup of autotune and overproduction that would make Madonna embarrassed (yes, one would first have to explain the concept of embarrassment to her, but presumably she would then experience it).

I used to think that nothing could make the music on American Idol seem worthwhile, but Glee provided an unwanted lesson in relativity and proved me wrong. So much for hopeful thoughts.

RUFUS DAVIS

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