On Vh1 Storytellers lead singer of the band My Morning Jacket, Jim James, expressed concern with the growing pace of technology and it’s impact on today’s youth. James argued that the instant availability of video, music and information detracts from ones ability to focus and elaborate on their own ideas and passion.
The rant reminded us that being a terrific lead singer for a terrific band doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re always interesting, and you often might take yourself a little too seriously.
Despite this, his point is valid, and I can speak to it first hand: In the early 2000’s I came up with the idea of creating an interactive movie experience which would allow the viewer to choose the decision making of the film’s characters. A choose-your-own-adventure DVD. Unfortunately, it being the 2000’s I soon became distracted -presumably by the emergence of youtube, the Nintendo Game Cube and/or online-celebrity Cindy Margolis – and was unable to concentrate on elaborating on my stroke of genius.
Years later, the incredible producers of the Final Destination series replicated my idea in DVD form, and I’m assuming are now rolling in Avatar-like money.
While my example is unique, the premise is not. I’m sure we are all guilty of instances where we’ve come up with incredible, life changing ideas, but failed to elaborate on our ideas. Perhaps you came up with the idea for Shamwow, but started watching the dancing guy getting hit by an ice cream truck video while you were on hold with the patent office, or your best friend came up with the idea of the happy hot dog man but was distracted by an instant message. Technology is a terrific thing, but you could argue that it hampers us as much as it aids us.
This is an obvious problem. Simply coming up with the basis of a great idea traditionally is simply not enough. One needs to compound on a concept, and fine tune it before it could possibly translate into any level of success. This is where most fall short, and few exceed.
This, of course, is why we should all be enjoying the success of Maroon 5.
Maroon 5 is an extremely successful rock band who has been lucky enough to play everywhere from the Grammy’s to Red Sox owner John Henry’s wedding reception . Annually, Maroon 5 makes millions of dollars by creating three and a half minute songs that are filled with anywhere between 5 and 7 seconds of fantastic pop music, surrounded by a mix of mediocrity and terribleness. The 5-7 seconds isn’t mind blowing or anything, but a very enjoyable – albeit brief – pop experience. In the clip above, you will find this moment between the 45 and 52 second mark.
The band doesn’t even go as far as creating a full, good, chorus; the second half of it is not only a flawed premise (I challenge someone whose had a “successful” night by displaying the moves of Mick Jagger* – this guy knows what I’m talking about), but also pretty terrible.The verses are so stale that they needed to dust off Christina Auguillera’s (growing) corpse for a verse. Just 5-7 seconds of you asking yourself “Do I actually like this Maroon 5 song” and then pausing and thinking “No, No I do not.**”
And despite all of this, that 5-7 seconds has allowed Maroon 5 to land the #1 spot on I-Tunes this week.
They’ve become the exception to the norm. They come up with one idea, ran with it and then prospered greatly. It’s the blueprint of the underpants gnomes, and its something we should be celebrating more.
Now I ask you this, did I write this because I believe it, or because I thought it’d be funny to write a 600 word analytic piece on Maroon 5?
*Joke stolen from Mike Chandler
** To clarify, I don’t think the song is bad. Even throwing it on my party playlist to try out.