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Music Column: Black Eyed Peas + Grey Cup Don’t Mix

Posted on November 28, 2005 by
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A large amount of sports columnists covering the Grey Cup (the Canadian Football League championship game) on Sunday noted two things: the game was one of the best ever despite its lackluster first half, and the hip-hop group singing about “humps” and “lady lumps” at halftime was beyond their comprehension and shouldn’t have occurred.

That group is one of American’s highest-selling groups of the year, the Black Eyed Peas, for you folks who didn’t know.

How typical right? Sports writers, out of touch with today’s youth; they don’t understand what we like; they can’t accept that Simon and Garfunkel are not topping the charts anymore; they don’t know anything except how to cover meaningless barbaric competitions, blah blah blah.

But they were right.

Now let me point out a few things. First, whether it was the Black Eyed Peas or any other artist popular with the youngins these days performing, they’d be saying the same thing: I don’t understand it, this shouldn’t be happening, where is the Guess Who? Second, I should say that while I am a sports fan, I have no interest in the CFL, especially if the Toronto Argonauts are not playing. That, combined with my hatred towards the Black Eyed Peas’ awful music, meant I was watching Curb Your Enthusiasm and Family Guy on Sunday night, not a minute of the Grey Cup.

So with that said, I can now argue that the Black Eyed Peas should not have been the halftime show performers at the Grey Cup. The sports writers just happened to be right, even thought they would have made the same suggestion had another artist performed, in which case they would have most likely been wrong.

The Grey Cup is a Canadian love fest. There is nothing more Canadian. Prime Minister Paul Martin participated in the ceremonial kickoff. R&B songstress Jully Black sang the national anthem. Canadian-born Pamela Anderson appeared at a celebration.

The Black Eyed Peas don’t seem to fit.

So there are really two arguments here. One, they shouldn’t have performed because a Canadian artist should have. It’s an opportunity to celebrate an artist’s achievements, and showcase them to Canadians who may not have heard of them before. Two, they shouldn’t have performed because their music has no substance, it’s assisting with the deterioration of mainstream music, and watching Fergie sing about her lady lumps is embarrassing for her and anyone else who has to watch that. The first, I think I have a case for. The second is more of a personal tirade, which you can feel free to skip.

To say Canadian music has never been more recognized worldwide (and therefore on Canadian turf, since Canadians love Canadians only if they’re successful stateside) is almost clich? since it is said almost every year. But whereas in the past, where the most celebrated Canadian artists have been targeted at the older crowd, today’s hottest Canuck acts are popular with the kids?the demographic that both the CFL and advertisers covet.

You know the artists: Avril Lavigne, Simple Plan, Nickelback, Billy Talent, Arcade Fire, Michael Buble, etc. Canadian hip-hop hasn’t been successful internationally yet, but it’s never been more popular in Canada. k-os has become the highest-selling Canadian urban artist, Kardinal Offishall is a mainstay on radio, and there a handful of other quality urban artists worthy of a halftime spot.

If any one of those artists performed at halftime, nobody would be (or at least, nobody should be) saying, “they’re just performing because they are Canadian.” Any one of those artists would be a fine choice for a 15-minute halftime slot.

It’s not like the Black Eyed Peas were chosen to draw in more fans. The game is most often a sellout, so the musical guest is not a factor with regards to tickets. And advertising the fact that BEP were performing was very minimal, so the television audience couldn’t have been dramatically influenced with news of their appearance.

Now, my bias opinion: the Black Eyed Peas are awful and should be banned from television. Why would the CFL want the Black Eyed Peas to represent them?

The Black Eyed Peas have not recorded a track with some substance to it since they added Fergie. Before that, they were a different group, one with a mission of making music with socially conscious messages. Then they hit this wall where all they cared about was making a song with catchy lyrics, and the substance was not in reach.

To the CFL: you messed up.

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