Jun 24 2010
I’ve finished part one of my redone top 100 project! Now with all live performance clips, easier to read titles, new songs, lots of changes in ranking especially in the bottom half, and more! Honestly, I don’t know why I didn’t make the original version with live performances. I just find them so much more interesting to watch. So first, the video, then some musing about live singing, so stick around for that if you’re interested. IMHO, it’s some of my better blogging.
I’m at 64,000 video views now. I’m hoping to hit 100,000 with completion of this latest project. Wouldn’t that be awesome?
Recently, I’ve been wondering why it is that I dislike lipsyncing so much. I mean, idols are entertainers first, singers second (acting, modeling, or other things might also rank above singing), and I realize that many of them just can’t sing very well. And singing while dancing is hard! I know it is. You get out of breath, you’re trying to concentrate on the dance moves at the same time as you’re trying to control your voice, the stage lights are hot, and the crowd is loud and distracting. Far from ideal conditions to produce the best possible sound. Try it. You’d be surprised how difficult it is. So yes, lipsyncing often sounds “better”. And shouldn’t I prefer listening to better singing?
There’s no way to discuss this topic without bringing up AKB again. See, I’ve heard AKB fans actually criticize h!p for not lipsyncing, saying that it’s better to focus on one task at a time so you don’t do both of them half-assed. But, all that said, I still hate the fact that AKB lipsyncs most of the time. In fact, if they switched to mostly live singing, I’d probably consider becoming a fan of theirs. The lipsyncing is the one major barrier standing in the way of that, and I just can’t get around it. It’s not because I think it proves their inferiority as singers or anything like that. It’s really that I flat out don’t enjoy watching a lipsynced performance as much as I enjoy watching a live one.
I think the major problem is that in a live performance, a girl can put the emotion she is feeling into her voice. She can reflect the energy of the crowd and her excitement and joy at being on stage. She can really “get into” a song in a way that she can’t in the recording studio. With a lipsynced performance, though her dancing and expressions might say she’s totally feeling it, her voice will have been recorded in a calm studio environment. That mismatch just feels off to me as a viewer. It’s frustrating when I watch a girl giving 100% with her performance, but the energy level in her voice is stuck at 50%.
Another big issue is the “sameyness” of every performance. Every nuance is the same. There are no bad performances, but there are also no extraordinary performances. I can’t get excited because, “Wow! So-and-so sounded great on that solo line tonight!” because she always sounds exactly the same every time. And when AKB performs the same stage for over a year, and every time a girl opens her mouth to sing a certain solo line, it sounds just as she recorded it over a year ago, it honestly just gets boring. I don’t mind watching the same song performed multiple times if it’s actually a different performance.
And lipsyncing removes the pleasure of seeing your favorite idols struggle and improve, at least in the vocal category. And even if singing is not the main point of being an idol, it’s still an important one. If a girl messes up on a line, I can forgive her, especially if she totally nails it the next time. That’s part of why we cheer for idols, isn’t it? Because they’re not perfect, and we love them anyway. Lipsyncing removes the risk of excruciatingly bad singing, but it also takes away the opportunity for “shivers down your back” heart-touching singing. The kind of experience you have as an audience member knowing that that music you are hearing has been created once, in this moment, and it will never exist in the same way again. Imagine if LinLin’s fantastic solo version of Aozora had been lipsynced. Could it have still had the same impact? I’d say definitely not.
End of musing.
Now if there are any AKB fans out there bristling with defensiveness, don’t try to tell me AKB doesn’t lipsync their shows. I’ve been to a couple of them. I’ve seen many LODs, and in recent times, live singing is very much the exception, not the rule. Really, I don’t know why they don’t drop the farce and do it “PV style”. No microphones. They’d have another arm free for dancing! And yes, I realize that MM lipsyncs occasionally too. But in their case, it’s lipsyncing that’s the exception. Live singing is the rule. And I have also heard the argument that AKB performs so much that singing live all the time would be too much strain on their voices. I find that hard to buy, but even if that is truly the case, how about singing live at least half the time? Even just singing the solo and duet lines live would be a major improvement. I don’t believe that AKB lipsyncs because they are terrible singers, at least not by idol standards. They do it because it’s safe. It’s predictable and controllable, and that’s how management likes things. However, by taking that route, I believe they are doing the fans, and the girls themselves, a great disservice.