Susan Boyle sells fastest debut album

With the news coming through this week that Susan Boyle has become the fastest selling debut artist in UK history- it is both a wonderful surprise and a thoroughly depressing realisation!  Selling more than 411,000 in just seven days is an incredible achievement for an established artist let alone one who no one knew about a year ago!   Boyle mania has taken off even more in the states with the Scottish spinster selling more than 711, 000 copies of her album in its first week! Her immense popularity is mainly due to her outsider appeal – the everyday woman who dreamt a dream that came real.  Maybe there is a little of all of us in Susan Boyle, whether or not we all like to see fairytales come true and our willingness for this unique character to succeed in a music industry built on image and style has ultimately led many people to buy the album.  Fundamentally we feel sorry for Susan Boyle and are comforted in the fact that she goes against the grain of everything that is cynical about the industry – she is truly unique, which is  almost non-existent in the modern world of pop.

However, here lies the oxymoron.    Celebrating the fact that the album format still seems to be alive and kicking – the last time an album shifted such a huge amount in its first week in the States was Snoop Dogg in 1993 – and there is still hope for millions of unsigned singers, one can’t help but feel contradiction about the whole frenzy.   The content of the album is full of covers, songs that have been played countless times by many different artists across the world.  Reconstructed to fit Boyle’s voice but nevertheless they are still unimaginative covers sung with a good albeit not particularly unique voice.   So the voice and the songs are fairly inconsequential – it is all about the image and what her image represents, which in an ironic kind of way is what people were rebelling against when they first showed interest in her.  The droves of fans who are buying her album are mainly idolizing her because of her (non) image, with very little musical substance – and this is all being engineered by global pop Svengali, Simon Cowell.    He has discovered the ultimate pop brand, POP – NON IDOL.  So lets all idolize her – it’s a bit like Buddha really!

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