Sunday, December 19, 2004

MAYBE WE SHOULD BE ASKING NOT 'WHY NOT AMERICA' BUT 'WHY ANYWHERE': There's an interesting piece by Bill Lamb over on Blogcritics right now pondering why America hasn't fallen in love with Kylie and Robbie:

Is it misplaced nationalism? Puritanical morality? 2 left feet on the dancefloor? Regardless of the reason, those of us lacking in American nearsightedness will continue to enjoy the music and personalities that are Kylie and Robbie and welcome them with open arms when the barriers finally come down.

Maybe, Bill, it's that America has more than enough mid-weight talents of their own without the need to import Robbie Williams; more seriously, both Kylie and Robbie exist not as singers (one is passable; one is like passing petrol) but as celebrities, and in the UK the doings of the pair creep up to newsworthy mainly because it's a small nation without very much going on its borders to fill the gossip columns. In an America which has stars shooting b-movie actresses, driving into the back of busses and getting married and divorced to each other all the time, it's hard for Kylie and Robbie to break through to get any notice at all: "Australian girl quite charming; gives name to pants line" and "Thicky McThicky moans about how bad life is - again; gurning pictures page 5" isn't really going to cut it. They're left to rely on their talent alone. And that's a problem.


daisy said...

Hee. Well-stated.

Matt said...

Matt M. -

I remember reading an article in a U.S. magazine about how part of the reason that America has been so indifferent to Robbie Williams is that, if he ever did have a chance, he was too self consciously goofy and the only arena that he could have succeeded in is the pop world which is all about being earnest and completely obvious. Not that I think Robbie Williams is some kind of master ironist but the joke that he mugs under is just lost on America. America likes its pop people to be of like the Justin Timberlake/Usher variety: eager, "soulful," charming in their own way but not trying too hard. I'm sure he has a gay following here. He seems so campy, like a cheeky, British version of what Marky Mark did in the early 1990s. In any event, I didn't think he still had much of a fanbase left in the UK even.

Incidentally I think it's funny that Robbie Williams once marvelled at how lucky he was to know Damon Albarn, a "real songwriter." No one in the indie world would cop to being impressed by knowing Damon Albarn, that's not allowed I wouldn't think. But for someone like Robbie Williams, it would be like Damon trying to rub indie cred off of knowing Steve Malkmus in the late 90s. It just works the other way I guess.

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