Bandwagon Fans

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*This is the second post I’ve written about people joining the bandwagon of some hot new trend. I smell a feature! ūüėÄ

Way back in 2001, my cousin tried to accuse me of being a bandwagon fan. That was the summer that Aaliyah very tragically died in a plane crash. It so happened that when he, a big Aaliyah fan, came over, I was playing her newest CD. He was complaining about all of the bandwagon fans that had sprung up in the week or so since she had passed. He asked me when I had purchased my CD in a way that suggested he thought I was one of “them”. But let it be known; I bought Aaliyah when it first came out. I am not a bandwagon fan.

I’m the type of person that buys CDs of the artists I like when they first come out. My ritual was, in more prosperous times, to go to Best Buy the first day the CD was available and buy it. I used my fingernails to break the plastic seal. I removed the seal over the top, which had the artist and album name on it, off last, and stuck it to a piece of paper for posterity. I read the liner notes cover to cover, evaluating pictures and checking for my favorite songwriters in the credits. I played anything written by Diane Warren first, because she’s the best. I would listen to the songs over and over until I learned them by heart and could sing along. It didn’t matter if it was a new CD by Aaliyah or the best of Regina Belle, the ritual was the same.

But there are some bandwagon fans out there, in every form of entertainment–people who start to be fans when a team is doing well or an actress wins a Golden Globe or an Oscar. There are people who won’t buy any album not in the top ten, no matter¬†who the artist is. Some people will go online and¬†only buy the one song they hear on the radio. People have no loyalty anymore.

Part of the reason could be that some artists today are sketchy.¬†For example, I used to love every Usher album. I had My Way, 8701, Confessions, all of that. But¬†this new album,¬†with all the trendy dance tunes and gimmicky IM speak (see “OMG”)…that’s not the Usher I know and love.¬†A fan can become frustrated by their favorite artists career choices¬†or personal choices (like continuously going to jail, getting women pregnant and leaving, cheating).¬†

People can also be unaware of artists until they begin to get a little airplay or win an award. All of these people aren’t bandwagon fans.¬†There are reasons to discontinue your loyalties. But if they merely fall in popularity, will you still be a fan?

Football and¬†baseball fans are among the most faithful¬†fans. Whether their team is winning or losing, they are still fans, still wearing jerseys and watching games. You have no idea how long I’ve been waiting for the Lions to¬†have a .500 season, make it to the playoffs (shut up about my Lions! They are getting better). I didn’t leave them when it got tough (and it has been a little tough).¬†

Fickleness is the way of the¬†American public; I get it. We will throw over a wonderful actress like Meryl¬†Streep in favor of Megan Fox, talent notwithstanding, simply because one is older and one is young¬†and good looking.¬†Even though I would rather pay to see Meryl anyday, I realize¬†I’m not in the majority.¬†But I just think our fickleness is destroying our art. We aren’t demanding that people¬†be good at their art, merely that they be current. People are sacrificing art for sales at an alarming rate. In the past¬†four years, I can’t name 100 songs that¬†I couldn’t live without, and it’s because while a lot of songs now are catchy or have a good beat, they have no substance and the artists just aren’t as talented vocally.

I would encourage everyone to find some¬†good music and celebrate it. Who do you love? Who could release an album tomorrow with no singles on the radio, and you’d still buy their¬†album? Where has real talent gone? What are we going to do about it?¬†

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