reviewed by MC5, November 2003
Upon first listening to this album one could think that if only the words changed a little, Clay Aiken would be another Christian rock effort. The music tries to be uplifting and innocent relative to pornopop. There are no lyrics to any religious effect: they are all silly love songs.
When one opens the CD album jacket suspicions are confirmed. The jacket starts out "Thank you, God the Alpha" and ends "and again, Jesus Christ, the Omega, for giving me gifts far beyond what I deserve, and allowing me to do what I truly enjoy doing. my life is in your hands."
This is predictable because there is such a thing as a science of political matters which include religion and social attitudes. The music is 1980s. One will hear Cher belting out a ballad without the benefit of being an early female rock star. "Journey" is another sound one might think of. This sort of music has received a level of acceptance in the soft to medium rock category.
The point is that the music is a music of a contentment and even when discussing a girlfriend's depression or disappointment, the song is upbeat and supportive. Though Clay Aiken is 24, his hairstyle is boyish and we imagine he has some following among teenage girls. He came to fame through that unusual method of winning a TV amateur contest on "American Idol." Looking even more boyish than on the CD, an interview for Fox News(1) says that the last concert he went to was James Taylor, another singer of contentment. As MIM has pointed out, one need not be a capitalist or even a petty-bourgeois to be content with the existing patriarchy--romance culture--especially if one is young and considered attractive.
Upbeat, innocent and content music points disproportionately to Amerikan Christians. Jesus Christ himself was a revolutionary, but today Christianity is a culture of contentment. Evanescence tries to walk that line between Christian contentment and conservatism on the one hand and edgy music on the other hand and found it does not work. The band's vocalist Amy Lee is now trying to move her band over to her real audience. At the moment, we do not know how well that is going to work going forward.
Despite his own upbeat and straight music, Clay Aiken was the product of a failed marriage and a father that called him a "mistake."(2) People like Clay Aiken are exactly the proof that Christianity does not provide solutions to real problems. Amerikkkans are much more devout in their Christianity than Europeans, but Amerikkkans still have the huge and growing problem of disappearing fathers. Preaching obviously has not worked and in this strange world with so many children of broken families, the Amerikkkans are not ready to go on to communal or even more socialized child rearing. There are still lots of doubts about leaving children with daycare, so Amerikkkans are stuck in their conservative thoughts unable to move forward but also unable to sustain the family their Christian preachers tell them about--having the worst of both worlds in doubts about socialism and inability to do things the old way. These preachers are only prolonging the agony of transition to what has to come through revolution.
Clay Aiken calls himself a "nerd" and his former job was taking care of autistic children. We don't find anything intellectual in the album. The least silly of the songs on the album is "Measure of a Man." It could be taken as a criticism of heterosexual wimmin as they exist in the imperialist countries today or anywhere that money is the reason for attraction:
"If one day you discover him/
The references to cars and fancy clothes could be taken to mean that Clay Aiken is asking wimmin why they care so much whether a petty-bourgeois becomes a little higher in class standing. MIM pushes this question further and asks whether desire is really a construction of capitalism, since we know that capitalism intertwines sex and money even more than previous class societies. This is something about people today that will not disappear with criticism of lifestyles. It will require the armed criticism of revolution.
MIM has explained that one might even "like" this music while knowing rationally that there is something wrong with it, maybe even profoundly wrong and evil. Being a Maoist means being a revolutionary scientist and that means having the ability to question everything that we like.