Monday, September 27, 2004

Jimmy Buffett: The King of Sellouts

When you think of Jimmy Buffett's songs, you think of the islands, tropical breezes, Boat Drinks, and, yes, cheeseburgers in paradise. But now, if you're yearning to escape to Margaritaville, just go down aisle six at your local grocery store. That's right: That son-of-a-son-of-a-sailor is now beyond cafes and t-shirts and has entered the frozen food section, with such offerings as "Island Lime Shrimp," "Jammin' Jerk Shrimp," and "Calypso Coconut Shrimp."

Music snobs often complain about successful musicians "selling out." Remember Neil Young's diatribes against Eric Clapton and Elton John? Sometimes the "sellout" is questionable: When Bruce Springsteen appeared on the cover of Time magazine in the mid-1970s, some fans saw this as a sign of his selling out. The Rolling Stones have largely been branded sellouts since corporations started sponsoring their tours. But could you imagine if a band like U2 were to open up their own restaurant chain? Would they serve Unforgettable Fire Wings with a side of Bullet the Bleu Cheese dressing? How about a dessert called "The Sweetest Thing"? In short, it would just be plain wrong.

Jimmy Buffett never struck me as anticapitalist, but he sure gave the impression that all he really wanted to do is play songs while lazing about on some Caribbean island. I guess owning the island is now part of it. Talk about changes in attitude.


Dan Patterson said...

Well another in a long line of statues with clay feet. How many times does this sort of thing have to happen before people realize that most artists are trying to make a living too, and that most of the time the performance isn't really about the fun of performing? Yes, even Bono and U2. Especially the Beatles and The Grateful Dead.
Oh, and you thought that "this album, man, is going to change the WORLD!" OK. So was Glen Miller. What changed?

Not that the inspiration for poetry and music, and painting, and drama isn't honest and "from the heart". It is. But it isn't a religious experience so don't make it something that it isn't, and don't cry about people taking advantage of their situation to better themselves. You get paid, don't you?

Keep up the good work and go listen to some music. It's only music.

Dan Patterson
Winston-Salem, NC

Anonymous said...

Bullet the Bleu Cheese dressing! You should post a "Drink Alert" before posting something that funny.