The Final Nail in the Coffin of Punk Rock

If the ongoing pop-punk phenomena, the popularity of faux-punks Avril Lavigne and Kid Rock, dreary rock radio, mass-maufactured hip-hop, Clear Channel, and the corporate-monopoly-controlled music industry had yet to convince you that mainstream music had congealed into the devil incarnate, well, maybe that’s because you’d heard that Creed had finally split up (there is a god!). However, Saturday night, I spit out my tea while watching Saturday Night Live.

And not because SNL was shockingly unfunny (we’re all used to that by now, but I decided to watch because Jude Law was hosting, and I was on a "I Heart Huckabees" high). No, I spit up my Earl Grey because the Punk-fakin’ Ashley Simpson shot her career in the foot on live TV. (Ah! Now this is why SNL is worth watching! Still, it’s a shame Tina Fey hasn’t dumped this albatross in favor of writing and acting in something more decent).

The “Rock ‘n’ Roll” Simpson sister later fessed up to MTV News:

"Ashlee Owns Up, Takes Responsibility For 'SNL' Lip-Synch Snafu" (This article was later updated and renamed to make Ashlee appear more sympathetic. It's now called "Ashlee Blames Gastric Distress For 'SNL' Lip-Synch Snafu" and aims to make the reader feel bad about this terrible medical condition Ashlee has that forced her to lip-sync. Yeah, right? Maybe MTV news wouldn't have changed this article if Ashlee didn't have her own show on the same network. That's the world of hard-core MTV journalism for you. Half-assed Viacom news you can trust as much as your uncle with the booze problem.)

Apparently Simpson was also supposed to act in three SNL skits as well, but, as far as I know, they all got mysteriously scrapped -- so I wonder if she wasn't causing trouble during the entire rehearsal process for the show. I'd bet anything that an angry sound guy or balls-of-steel/career-suicidal associate producer purposely yanked those wrong lip-sync vocals up on her early as revenge of some sort. Which is an awesome thing to do. More talentless hacks need to be exposed like this.

The fact that she first stormed off stage in a hissy fit and then blamed her band for the mistake are clear signs she's a bit of a prissy diva, to say the least -- so much for her being the smart, hip, DIY punk-rocker her marketing machine has sold her as. She hass officially revealed just how much no-talent she has in common with her sister, the walkin 'n' talkin' uber-dumb-blonde-joke Jessica. Watching the smiles grow across the faces of bratty brunette Ash's bandmates (who actually seemed be playing their instruments, and who handled the snafu with professional aplomb, despite the fact that they’re playing in a soulless sell-out band) was priceless.

Of course, Britney Spears got caught lip-syncing non-stop in front a television audience of millions on an HBO special in 2001 (now preserved for prosperity on DVD) and it didn’t hurt her career -- it just became a running joke, and nothing more. And plenty of other pop superstars have overcome the same hurdle with little trouble. With Michael and Janet Jackson, for instance, fans like to defend all the lip-syncing by explaining that the Jacksons “have to dance a lot at the same time.” Well, so do Broadway performers, but they’d never get away with constant lip-syncing; so why should we expect less of our much-better-paid pop stars?

The other excuse often used is that “it wasn’t a lip-syncing, it was just a back-up track used to enhance the vocals!,” which is such B.S. -- if a musician needs electronic backing vocals overpowering their real voice, then they shouldn't be singing in the first place. Why even perform on stage, when it would be much more fun watching professional dancers, super models, or drag queens lip-syncing the paltry tunes instead of the hack singers themselves? Why do audiences fall for this? Why did Jessica Simpson’s record and concert sales skyrocket after she revealed just how brain dead she is on her funny-because-she’s-obnoxious reality show, “Newlyweds”?

And how can we possibly worry about the upcoming presidential elections when the music world is falling down around our designer heels?

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