If you want to hear the epitome of bubble gum mainstream pop then look no further than Shine by Claudia Norris. Take American Idol and mix it with what it actually feels like to experience Disney World and then deplete the idea that pain, suffering or anything bad could possibly happen to you in this world and you should have an idea of the type of music this is.
The thing that is hard to take about this music is that there is no shade of grey what so ever. It shows a fabricated optimism in a perfect world that doesn’t actually exist in reality. Take for instance the first song “Tonight” which starts with a cliché club beat. Norris sings, “I want to live forever I want to be young with you tonight. Let's blow all our money and dance until we see the sunlight.” The vacuous lyrics and shady advice continues on the chorus. She sings, “tonight let's go crazy.” Every cloud has a silver lining and in this case it is her dynamic vocals.
On the next song “Shine” Norris ditches the club beat and goes for more organic instrumentation. The lyrics read like a motivational speech but could use some more originality. “Marry You” paints an insanely unrealistic view of marriage and relationships in general. Norris wraps it all up by singing about love at first sight. It’s another “perfect” story with a “perfect” ending in a “perfect” world.
I’m sure Norris is a nice person but this music might be enjoyed by young teenage girls who have led completely sheltered lives rather than adults. Anyone who has actually lived life knows it isn’t an everlasting peachy cream that just gets better. You can fall in love with someone but you can also fall out of love just as quick. Marriage isn’t easy - it takes work a lot of work. There are ups and down, there are good moments and not so great moments.
Life is beautiful but it’s also complex, ambiguous, full of grey and can be a struggle. On the same token we are complex creatures and when we turn to music we want truths that reflect the vast array of emotions we experience in some way.
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