I have spent the morning listen to Rumer’s new album – Boys Don’t Cry. It’s a really pleasant sounding record – besides the one factor we all know – she sounds like Karen Carpenter. The 50 Million dollar question is not so much how, but WHY?
Is it -
a) She is plain and simple just heavily influenced by her in terms of vocal style and to a lesser extend image
b) Her record company are aware of the massive ‘Middle America’ market that The Carpenters tapped into – and are attempting to use a similar formula.
The above factor extends beyond the natural tonal qualities of Rumer’s voice, to the instrumentation and production of her music. For example, her new single includes a similar ’70s style’ guitar solo to The Carpenters’ Goodbye To Love, also including similar use of woodwind orchestration.
The reality is that the WHY is probably a mixture of both of these factors – but make no mistake about it, there is a heavy dose of point number 2 – we as audiences are being manipulated via a proven formula!
It’s also interesting to note that listening to artists like Rumer, who are so overtly based on another artist who have proven success (musically and visually), it also has the added dimension of encouraging older and younger audiences to listen to the ‘real thing’ – providing new interest in a back-catalogue that may be forgotten. In many respects this is similar to the process of what happened post British R&B explosion, with The Beatles, The Stones, Clapton, and Beck et al. encouraging many listeners (like me) to listen to Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, etc.
So – thought for today. Enjoy music such as Rumer’s new record. I will continue to listen to it cos it has loads of ‘good tunes’. However – don’t forget to have half an eye on the Simon Cowell factor – our musical preferences are manipulated by THE MACHINE.