This is Platinum Weird
What is Platinum Weird? That’s the question VH1 and veteran Eurythmic Dave Stewart hope you’re asking right about now.
Attention, gullible hippies and ex-hippies. Don’t bother picking through your acid-tattered memories: It never happened. Basically, this is Spinal Tap-meets-Stevie Nicks-on-VH1. The band’s raison d’etre is a VH1 mockumentary, and the main characters are Stewart himself (lending just the right amount of credibility to the stunt) and his leading lady, Erin Grace, a spectral, sun-dappled songstress who vanished just as Platinum Weird was set to release its first album in 1974. (Elton John gamely plays himself as the band’s benefactor/producer — and, in this <a href=”http://youtube.com/watch?v=lGvmz32ajao&search=platinum weird
“>clip, chimes in with an amusing anecdote regarding Erin’s disappearance.) Lindsay Lohan, Christina Aguilera, Paris Hilton, and Mick Jagger are also in on the gag. PW’s even got a MySpace page, where you can listen to two of PW’s would-be hits.
That’s a lot of effort to woo the young into fake nostalgia for a mythic band that never was. Impressive effort all around, and the VH1 clip has its moments. (Jagger tops his work in Freejack here.)
So… is the music any good? How to put this…? No. Stewart and his collaborator, singer-songwriter Kara DioGuardi, clearly spent more time conceiving the band’s aesthetic than actually crafting its tunes. “Will You Be Around,” the big single alluded to in the press release and pushed on the MySpace site, is particularly annoying. Its actual musical content appears to be recycled from two bars of “California Dreamin'” on infinite loop. “Big Bottom” it ain’t. And while I’m certainly no expert in this field, I’d say both of the leaked tunes have a distinctly contemporary texture, despite the “period” instrumentation and orchestrations. DioGuardi writes songs for insta-divas like Kelly Clarkson, Paris Hilton, and Lindsay Lohan; it’s strangely apt that she’s creating the “Erin Grace” persona of literally nothing. And that’s no small task, considering Grace is supposed to be positively Joplin-esque in her impact, a kind of female Lou Reed sprung on the scene in a whirlwind and vanished from it just as quickly.
But the musical results of this little experiment also might say something about the decline of songwriting as an artform. Then again, I may just be having a really bad flashback this morning. Know what would help? If someone could find me a Quicktime-compatible clip of Freejack, preferably con Jagger. C’mon, folks. I’ve been out of town and practically Internet-free for a week. Hook me up.