Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Wicked Cool

So, can someone define cool for me? If you have to put it in your name (Coolio, LL Cool J) are you trying too hard or just getting a head start. Why is it when an ex-Mousketeer sings lyrics as insipid as this..
Dirty Babe,
You see these shackles baby, I'm your slave
I'll let you whip me if I misbehave
It's just that no one makes me feel this way.

that people don't laugh so hard they lose their breath while tears of absurdity roll own their face.. Is it cool because there is a dance beat to it?

In Clay Aiken's recently concluded Soft Rock in a Hard Place tour, he did a great intro into a medley of some of Top 40 radio's greatest "hits". He said he was tired of not being cool and not being on the radio and that it must be all related to the material. (In part it is, which is why it still baffles that his label made him put out an album of love song covers last year.). But when he performed (effortlessly) a medley of hits ranging from pop to rap to hip hop to country to rock, it showed just how silly some of the songs were. ( And to be fair,it also showed how great others were. Say what you want about Michael Jackson today, the man could write hits.) Here, Clay realizes (sarcastically of course) that being cool is all about the fact that he sang those cool songs.

I'm tired of people telling me what is cool in the way the fashion industry decides what color is in this year. (Fifty bucks it won't go with my skin color.) Clay has won the Sexiest Crooner for InStyle Magazine three years in a row. So tell me why he wasn't even nominated this year and (gasp) Justin Timberlake won with the comment that he'd come so close in the past. Now I think JT has talent but I laugh every time someone tries to tell me he's cool, much less sexy. But then again, I like guys who don't need platform shoes in order to be taller than I am. And I'm not tall.

There are different levels of cool and different types of cool. Someone who fits the exact mold the industry peeps force upon the public (especially when marketed to impressionable teens) is exactly what isn't cool to me. It's just more of "me toos and wannabees". Original is cool. Smart is cool. Quick wit is cool. Confidence is cool. Style that fits a person's personality is cool. Gee, Clay is cool x 5. Or as Quiana Parler (his backup singer and insanely talented herself) would say, Clay is C to the O.O.L.

Radio singles processed in the studio is not cool. Gossip made up wholesale with a snicker, a wink and a nod is not cool.

Totally being silly and not giving a crap (Hey, everyone take a drink!) is cool.

Perhaps Leslie Gray Streeter of the West Palm Beach Post said it best in her/his review of the concert.

He is so uncool that he sort of is. And that's a talent.

Cool isn't someone who is one fabricated persona (half the female singers on the radio), or one troubled teen queen who hasn't grown up yet (Britney, Lindsay…and on and on) but one who is a blend of many things, all that represent their true self. Or as John Petric, music critic of The Other (A Columbus, Ohio newspaper) put it after being won over by Clay in concert.
So yes, Clay Aiken. He’s a piece of work isn’t he? A cross between John Edwards and Paul McCartney

Unlike other music critics Mr. Petric didn't write this review before he set foot in the venue. He admits he had different expectations and seemed as surprised as anyone that he liked the show and Clay. That's because Mr. Petric had succumbed to the media created image of Clay Aiken. The same media that had us convinced Angelina Jolie was one step from incest and now has us convinced she's one step from sainthood. Mr. Petric saw the cool
He had a fine sense of humor, often self-deprecating and a little bit wicked.

Oh, I'd say more than a little bit wicked. Wicked Cool.

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Michi said...


You not only described cool in this part of your blog:

"Original is cool. Smart is cool. Quick wit is cool. Confidence is cool. Style that fits a person's personality is cool. Gee, Clay is cool x 5. Or as Quiana Parler (his backup singer and insanely talented herself) would say, Clay is C to the O.O.L."

You just described sexy.

rayofhope said...

Great blog. What is defined as cool today is so not cool to me. Many of the guys are kind of slimy and the gals skanky. Funny how both In Style and Regis & Kelly ran contests this year supposedly for the public to select celebrities in various categories but rigged the results. This may not cause scandals as in the past but as a member of the public, I noticed.

The ConCLAYve-Nan said...

Great blog Corabeth. I've always thought that those who have the courage to dance to their own beat are the coolest of all. I've hardly ever been into the mainstream personalities - music, tv, books, theater, art, movies. There are incredibly talented and COOL people out there. They are just too cool to desire the handle.

I laugh when people look at the SexyBack video and don't get it. If it were a skit on SNL people would be roaring with laughter. Reminds me of the old Steve Allen routine where he would read out the lyrics to pop/rock songs in a "dramatic" rendering. Even though some were songs I liked - I'd have to laugh when the lyrics were read as if they really meant something. Having the ability to make fun of "cool" stuff - in a wonderfully self-deprecating manner has got to be the COOLEST of all!

Anonymous said...

Cool is Clay! That sums about everything I would like to say.

treenuts said...

"He is so uncool that he sort of is."

Single best statement evah!!

kfc-canada said...

It's pretty sad when a big corporation like RCA has the coolest singerguy ever on their list and they can't even recognize it themselves. That's their entire recognize cool guys and to allow them to become the star they really are.

IMHO, Clay himself made the best comment anyone could have about this whole issue........'I'm too cool for this now....'You are so right, Clay!

Terrific blog, girl!


Anonymous said...

There's really very little in the entertainment field today that is truly different or original. Clay is both of those things and more ( for instance talented ). He actually is pretty cool just based on the fact that he is who he is and doesn't apologize for it at all. He chooses to be and live the way he wants to without trying in any way to BE cool. How freakin cool is that?! The music industry seems to be a very closed and narrow environment and if you don't act like your s**t dont stink then they just dont get you. Well, an awful lot of us do get Clay and I, for one, think he's not just plently cool but kinda hot also.

Anonymous said...

Clay Aiken IMHO is the uncoolest coolest man I have ever known in the celebrity world. What makes him so cool is that he does not even try to be one. Yeah, that's cool!