The SuBo Effect

I was listening in to Clive Bull on LBC last night when he brought up the subject of Susan Boyle. Her album release “I Dreamed a Dream” has broken records for being the highest selling debut album in UK chart history, with more than 400,000 sales in the first week of release.

Clive asked “Have you bought the album? Does she deserve the success she’s had?”. He was arguing the point that she’s an okay singer, but not GREAT. That her success was from a gimmick, IE: she looked one way and sounded another (his words). That she was just a reality TV personality that had become an instant celebrity in our obsessive celebrity culture.

I don’t think he can quite fathom the success and thinks it’s not justly deserved. Here’s my view.

We all love an underdog. Boyle is an underdog. She came across, initially, as both shy but flamboyant. A very curious mix. She looked dowdy and while speaking before her performance perhaps came across as quite deluded about her own ability. Then she sang, and people were astonished.

I do agree with Clive that her voice is not ASTOUNDING, but simply good.

America catches wind of Susan, and instead of America doing what it does best (and fixate itself purely on the aesthetic), it actually got swept up in the whole underdog phenomenon. Just for that aspect ALONE, Susan Boyle should be congratulated. To change the mindset of a whole nation is no mean feat.

There’s something of the “Eddie the Eagle” about her. The only difference is that Eddie was celebrated for being crap! He was a crap ski-jumper but people got swept up in his enthusiasm and desire to be an Olympian even though he was not the best.

Perhaps some people are a little deluded in thinking Susan Boyle’s voice is VERY good, but it never stopped Madonna fans!

She’s a case in point. No one questions her status as a pop icon, but it was very much a balance of talent, sex bomb and shrewd business woman at work there. Who could argue that Madonna’s voice is “exceptional”? No one really. Even the biggest fans would have to admit, she’s not the BEST singer in the world. But it never really gets argued because she used her sexuality to perhaps sideline the argument. Sadly, poor SuBo doesn’t have much sexuality to let the “Is her voice ACTUALLY that good” argument rest. It will always be there.

And to answer Clive’s question. No, I haven’t bought the album (and doubt I will), but I think she DOES deserve the success. Come on! It’s an uplifting “underdog achieves” story. We have too few of them these days. So let’s celebrate SuBo.

Good for her!!

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