Life throws you all sorts of curve balls doesn’t it? It’s an endless shifting of tectonic plates, negotiating twists and turns along the journey not knowing what’s coming ahead round the corner. Depending on the speed in which you are traveling you may go round the curve in one piece or careen off the bend crashing into the unknown ravine that lies ahead. Athletes who run the 200m sprints at world level know this all too well. The best runner and eventual winner is invariably the best at negotiating that tricky bend while speeding along the track at full throttle.
Such a shift has occurred in Archieland and though it wasn’t a complete surprise, it’s still a bummer! After a stellar start to his recording career with his debut album and platinum selling single, it seems the same is now on the skids after having been ‘dropped/released’ from his label. It doesn’t matter how one spins the story; whether it was a mutual parting of the ways or that it was a good decision on David’s part to “cut the ribbon if it starts to fray.” The headlines all read that David was dropped from Jive due to the lackluster sales of his 2nd pop album. A damning indictment of mediocrity and failure on David as an artist. That darn bend came up on David and he failed miserably in handling it successfully.
We may contend that Jive did zilch in promoting David and his music – an assertion that does have it’s merits – but Jive will come out of this smelling like roses because they are the ones with the money and therefore calls the shots. It is to their tune that young artists like David must dance for they are the pied piper with the clout. Money is the final arbiter and the bottom line must be obeyed at all times. It is a business after all – and the music business is finding it particularly hard to make money nowadays – so singers on the roster must bring in the bacon. Toni Braxton once said it very succinctly – “Singers are a dime a dozen and record companies have a dollar.”
The music business in these present times is more about presentation than true substance. Sexual proclivities, controversies, edgy personalities and brashness are the trend setters more so than the music. Unfortunately David fits like a square peg in a decidedly craggy hole here. Jive and gang simply do not know how to market David in an environment of such incongruous elements. And they don’t have the patience. The revolving door is turning all the time and David’s number was up.
Maybe it’s an accident of timing that David has come along when the music industry is in such a state of flux. Fans are fickle and their purse strings are tighter than ever. There was a time when artists routinely sold a million or more of their CDs and fans stuck with them through thick or thin. But that’s not the case anymore and unless you have a truly maverick persona you don’t stand a ghost of a chance of staying in the minds of fans. One literally has to stick out like a sore thumb a la Lady Gaga. In David’s case he doesn’t have it – let’s face the brutal fact here. He may sing like an angel but that’s not what the majority of music fans wants. They want drama! They want razzmatazz! And sweet-as-honey-pie David Archuleta has neither.
We can applaud him all we want for standing up to his principles but that doesn’t sell records. Am I advocating that he sell his soul? No, not so much a complete capitulation but at least an accommodation, an adjustment, at the very least a compromise. In life we have to do this all the time and that bend can be very unforgiving. Adjust to it’s angles and inclinations or you will find yourself by the wayside – “If the mountain does not come to Mohammad then let Mohammad go to the mountain.”
So now what? Will David decide to go back to school? Start his mission as required by all LSD male members? Unless he makes a decision about his music career quickly the music industry will go inexorably on and we’ll all be left wondering about the potential of a music talent that never quite caught on. And that would be a real shame.