Tuesday, June 24, 2008

A tale of two Perrys

A rare music post for me. Occasionally, I'll have fun boarding the WayBack Machine to discuss one of those VH-1 "Greatest Songs of the ...." specials (my countdown starts here), but generally, I stay away from the topic. I enjoy music, and my recent hop onto the iTunes/iPod train (and new albums from REM and the B-52s) has rekindled my appreciation for songs, but at the end of the day, I'm definitely more of a TV guy than a music guy. Part of it probably has to do with the extended ways of showing your fandom, beyond just downloading a tune or playing it in the car. I really don't enjoy crowds (with the notable exception of Saturdays 'Tween the Hedges), and think that once you hit certain milestones (such as passing 30, or procreating), it's a little silly to find yourself in a mosh pit or hopping around from bar to bar to hear the next big thing. Plus, there is absolutely nothing more annoying than the hipster poseur attitude thrown off by music snobs who revel in championing the latest obscure indie band, only to cast them aside and brand them "sell-outs" once more than 73 people have figured out who they are. (see: anyone who worked at a campus radio station, or posts on the AV Club's music boards). Of course, your mileage may vary, as I spend an unreasonable amount of time wandering around the interwebs, looking for deeper meaning about a "frozen donkey wheel." So everyone has their passions and judgments, I guess.

Anyhoo, I stumbled across two things this weekend related to music. First, did you ever hear a song that instantly you couldn't get out of your head? A perfectly crafted, peppy pop tune? I was looking at the top downloads list on the iTunes store, and usually, I just skim right across it without sampling anything, because almost all of the songs have a "featuring" in the credits, and I generally eschew those. But I checked out Katy Perry's "I Kissed A Girl" and was instantly hooked. It's a fun, catchy little tune, and it doesn't hurt that the singer looks exactly like Zooey Deschanel with a bigger rack. You can check out the video here.

Second, I heard that 80s band Journey had gotten another new lead singer. Journey hasn't really been "newsworthy" since the series finale of The Sopranos, but this story is just too amazing to believe. Apparently, band founder and guitarist Neal Schon was scouring the youtubes, watching videos and looking for a "sound" or a "voice" that might make a good lead singer for Journey (the fact that a multi-platinum band is looking on youtube for a lead singer is not even the most interesting part of the story). He found some videos of a Filipino band called The Zoo, with a singer who could belt out the tunes with the best of 'em. When he saw some of The Zoo's Journey covers, he couldn't believe how much the singer sounded like a modern day Steve Perry. A few emails and phone calls later, Journey had a new lead singer, in the form of a 40 year old formerly homeless dude from the Philippines. You can read all about the search here, and watch a CBS This Morning special about the discovery here. The new singer (Arnel Pineda) has an unbelievable voice, and sounds uncannily like vintage Perry. Search for his name, or The Zoo, on youtube and see some of the other performance videos, that brought him to Schon's attention. A true rags to riches story.

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