What’s the Big Deal With Michael Buble?

I originally wrote this post when Michael Buble came out with his new Christmas album. It had been brewing for a while, but I kept forgetting to write it. Then when I started to see people talking and tweeting about the new project, it reminded me of him, so I wrote it. Then I forgot about him again and this post got forgotten in the process. I’m posting it now for no particular reason, except the fear that I might forget… again.

Basically, here’s my question: What’s all the fuss about with this guy? For those of you who may not know, he’s a crooning swing-pop sensation who sings “throwback jazz” in the style of Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin. And he appears to have quite a few fans within Southern Gospel. In fact, I don’t keep up with the secular music scene, so that was how I first heard about him. And it was all rave reviews. So I thought I would check him out.

My conclusion was that he has some nice chops. But let’s just say his personality and ideas of comedy leave a lot to be desired.

I’ve browsed through numerous concert reviews from all different venues where people have consistently described his jokes as “R-rated.” On several different occasions, he’s even singled out small kids in the audience in some way (pointing them out, getting a picture with them, etc.) and then turned right around and done “the finger” or dropped the f-bomb. He also jokes about the fact that people think he’s gay, sometimes saying that even though he isn’t, he would be “very proud of it” if he was. And all that is just the tip of the iceberg. I should add that this kind of behavior has been noted even by people who are giving him positive reviews—they seem to think it’s funny.

There’s another thing I know some people might be able to brush away, but I think it’s worth mentioning as well. Granted his music and music videos may be tame by certain standards, but the vid for the song “Haven’t Met You Yet” features Michael lounging around with some cute chick on a bed in the middle of a grocery store. Fully clad, but still. I’d feel weird if my 10-year-old put it up for her Facebook status (which a 10-year-old I know of actually did).

However, whatever your opinion may be on that, I think a lot of his Christian fans who’ve never been to a concert of his (or who’ve caught him on a good night, as one gospel singer did) may simply be unaware of the kind of show he consistently delivers. The consensus: NOT a family-appropriate one. And I don’t know about you, but that really lowers my respect for him and makes me disinclined to listen to his music, even if I think he has some talent. It just makes me appreciate performers who have real class all the more.

Now let me clarify something before going further: I’m not against listening to secular artists. My ipod is loaded with them. Sure, Billy Joel isn’t exactly a model of morality. But he’s not aiming for the demographic Michael Buble is aiming for. And I can’t appreciate the kind of artist who markets himself to a wide age range, attracts families with children to his concerts, and then proceeds to frat-boy his way around the stage with no regard for that demographic whatsoever. If you’re going to be crude and obscene, at least don’t pretend to be the classy, family-friendly type in the image you project to the market.

And you know, the sad thing is that I can see why he’s popular. I can see why a lot of people like his music, and the reason is that his style hearkens back to a more innocent time. It’s different from the junky hip-hop and club disco and electro what-not that’s circulating around these days. People associate his music with class, elegance, and style. Would that he personally embodied those characteristics in the way he acts when he’s not singing. And tell the truth, it’s difficult not to sense that he’s immensely pleased with himself even when he sings—very much of an “Anything you can sing, I can sing smoother” attitude.

So bottom line is… if you see some of your favorite gospel singers tweeting about Buble, and you don’t happen to recognize the name… it’s a lot of hype over a guy who doesn’t deserve it. Take my word for it.

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32 Comments

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32 responses to “What’s the Big Deal With Michael Buble?

  1. I guess the question is….can you appreciate the art without appreciating the artist?

    • JSR

      In music the artist and the art are so closely connected you can’t really seperate the two.

    • yankeegospelgirl

      Yes, I can. I think that was the point of my post—some people are unable to separate “art” from “artist” across the board, to the point where they couldn’t enjoy (say) anything by a non-Christian singer. I’m not one of those people. But what’s different about Buble is that he tries to attract a certain demographic with his art (and the promotion and image-building that goes with it), then behaves in a way that feels like a slap in the face to that very demographic. And that just leaves a bad taste in my mouth. For example, I know the Collingsworth family are huge fans of Michael Buble. Suppose they went and caught him on a “typical” concert night. Imagine what a jarring experience that would be.

  2. I can’t stand Buble. It’s not a narrow minded thing, i do not exclusively listen to SG artists, but i’ve given Buble many a chance and he’s never once clicked for me. Not sure his voice is all that fantastic, he’s a bit mumbly for my tastes.

    However my girlfriend would buy his music simply because of his face……

  3. I’ve never gotten into his music, but I definitely didn’t know he acted like that. He looked sort of respectable from the CD cover. I don’t think I would listen to his music knowing he acted like that.

  4. Steven

    I would call myself a Buble fan to a degree. I usually enjoy his music and, in my opinion, his voice/style is refreshing, especially compared to modern day pop music.
    In most interviews and things, he did come off as a classy type guy. Of course, through these interviews and things, it was apparent that he was not a Christian.
    About 2 years ago, Buble came to my city and enjoying his music I decided as a then single man to brave it and go to a concert haha. While I enjoyed the “show” and the music, i was taken back at how family un-friendly it was. There were some expletives that surprised me. Of course most of the sold out areana were cheering it, so what can you do. Would I go back (with girlfriend with me now!) to a buble concert – I can’t say with 100% that i would. I definitely wouldn’t take kids or early teenagers (unfortunately). I was also dissapointed that he only sang like an hour. I guess i’m used to 3.5 hours with a love offering break :)

    • See? You’re the perfect example of what I’m getting at. You enjoyed his music because it was old-fashioned and refreshing. He projected a classy/clean-cut image. So naturally you went to a concert of his. And it wasn’t what you were expecting, was it?

      Even setting aside the fact that what Buble is doing is morally wrong, it’s just plain bad business to give your fans whiplash like that. I can’t really think of a PRACTICAL reason why he would choose to do so. He turned you off, and he’s turned off a lot of people like you, some of whom have actually said they got up and left mid-concert. The question lingers: Why? I suppose he figures (and maybe even figures rightly, which is a sad thought), that he’s got enough fans who adore him anyway that he can take these little ego trips and come off none the worse for it.

      • Lydia

        I assume he does it because he thinks this way he can make money both from the family crowd (even if they don’t bring their kids back a second time) and from the crowd that, ickily enough, like that sort of talk. For whatever reason, he’s decided that he’ll make more $$ by getting the second group–those who like the nasty talk–as repeat customers and risking losing the first group after having taken their money once. So the clean outside-of-concert image is to lure in some unsuspecting parents with kids, and the dirty-talking concert image is mainly for a different part of the fan base. Maybe it even works. Especially when one considers that a lot of parents with kids, especially non-Christians, may not like that sort of thing but may be more resigned to it. What if their kids are already die-hard Buble fans by the time they find out how he acts on-stage? Then it’s “too late,” because their kids will nag them to death to keep buying his music and perhaps even tickets to later shows.

  5. steven

    Exactly! While i was blown away by the musicianship and the singing – the song transitions was that “whip lash” feeling was off putting. I work in a secular college where I am often assisting with sound and lighting for performances – I usually expect that stuff from “indie” type bands/ terrible soloists with guitar doing John mayer covers.
    I was not going to the buble concert expecting a “squeaky clean” concert, but yeah i was shocked.

    Side Note: Enjoying the coverage of the Elephant Room controversy. I was there at one of the live simulcasts – interesting to say the least

  6. Ana Cappas

    He is very nice, sincere and he has a wonderful voice
    Sometimes people needs to make an essay about a singer. He is a very good entertainer.

    • I don’t deny that he’s a good entertainer or that he’s a talented vocalist. However, we have evidence to the effect that he’s behaved in ways that are neither nice nor sincere. I felt a need to mention this since many people in the genre I primarily write about are fans of his, and I thought it was good to draw attention to the fact that his concerts can be a mixed bag.

  7. John Situmbeko

    I couldn’t agree more with what has been said in this post. Buble has a great style, great voice, ungreat character, but that is normal and acceptable for non Christians. There was a Buble TV special that I watched two or so years ago and I was very impressed. But just at the end of the program they showed some bloopers, the language was unsuitable, I was with immediate effect turned off, completely.

    What then can be advised to Christians that are fans of such artists, despite knowing the character of the artist? I’d rather stay away from his music, after all it is not produced with me a Christian as the customer in mind.

    • I enjoy lots of music by non-Christians, so I wouldn’t necessarily say don’t enjoy the music—if the music is suitable and you like it, go for it. However, a concert experience is completely different.

  8. John Situmbeko

    Indeed the concert experience is completely different. However, as someone has said, in music the artist and the art are closely connected, that is especially true with Christian singers, if their behaviour is a mess and unChristlike, no Christian will proudly claim them as their favourite. Many will shun their music. But it is not so with non Christian artists, most Christians would rather listen to Bublé and proudly name themselves his biggest fans than listen to X, a sinful Christian, yet X though in his sin, sings the mighty power of God, whereas Bublé sings of the chick he is yet to meet. Who among the two deserves a listen, Bublé or X?

    For non Christian artists, they have no standard of uprightness to measure up to so they can do whatever they want yet their music will sell because the consumers of their products are mostly those that don’t care about how well behaved they are, but about how good their music is. Among this group, some Christians can be found, those that enjoy the artist’s music and not the artist. I think it is a package, the artist and the art. The good or bad name is associated to the music. If the voice belongs to disrespectful Jack, its angelic beaty if filtered and all that remains is noise.

    • I’m not sure I would conflate the music and the musician in quite that way. I do agree that the immorality of an artist can be manifested in his music, and there can be cases where this renders the music unsuitable for Christians to listen to. In Buble’s case, most of his lyrics aren’t problematic.

  9. I would beg to disagree with your assumption and judging of Michael Buble. If you have a chance to go see him live then please take the chance to see him. He is one of the best true entertainers still around.

    My wife is a huge Buble fan and went to Atlantic City for her 21st birthday. The show was sold out and they could not find tickets anywhere. Her mother found out from someone working the buffet that Mr. Buble was sitting near them. My wife and her dad did not want to interrupt his meal but since they could not get tickets they wanted to just say hi since it was her birthday. Michael Buble did not just brush them off as many big time artist would do, he did not get annoyed. He autographed a piece of paper for her and asked if she had an ID, she thought he was checking her story about her birthday, he stopped her and said no don’t worry about that you will need your ID to pick up the 2 tickets that will be waiting for you. He didn’t just give her any seats, she sat in the VIP section beside Montel Williams. What a birthday gift, from someone who did not need to or have to go out of there way to make her feel special.

    A few years later, we went to see Michael Buble and some of our friends, older ladys we know, had great seats by the stage. Buble put on a great show and afterwards stopped to talk to one of our friends saying how much fun he had watching her dance all night long.

    No matter your personal feeling about his music, or what you think you know about his shows. Michael Buble has proven to me that he is a down to earth and upstanding guy.

    Every genre of music, whether christian or secular, needs more upstanding guys like Michael Buble.

    • I’m sorry to disagree, but I’ve seen multiple attestations from multiple public sources that Buble has not always behaved himself in such an upstanding or gentlemanly manner. Even people who are not attacking him will joke laughingly about his bad mouth. He did a nice favor for you personally, and I know that not all of his shows are void of class. But you just saw him on one good night. From that one good experience you can’t extrapolate to the conclusion that he’s a nice, upstanding guy all around.

  10. Pingback: Christians, Heathens, and Music Listening Choices (or “Should I Have ____ on My Ipod?”) | Southern Gospel Yankee

  11. Robyn

    For those of you who don’t like or you think his jokes are inappropriate then you just don’t understand Michael Buble. He is so amazing, talented and gorgeous. He gives so much of his time on top of making beautiful amazing and romantic music. Now about to become a dad. And if you don’t like him or his jokes then don’t listen to him. But your stupid if you don’t. Cuz he’s amazing!!!

    Robyn Hobson- USA

  12. I dont understand why all of you are so offended. Perhaps the guy is not Christian, I dont know. although his wife is. Everybody can decide to watch his show or not. I attended one of them, I think he is a real artist

  13. landok

    I strongly agree to Ana Cappas. Well everyone can say something to someone but that is just it. That’s how he is, that’s what makes him happy or let us say that’s his comfort zone. Bubble is lovely. Music wise, face? Yes. Might be a ***** but who cares? He is an artist. Like Hanna Montana To the new Miley Cyrus. FIERCE!

  14. Lela

    You have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about. I’m 16- probably what you would consider a “kid”- and I have been to a Michael Bublé concert and it was nothing like what you described so you have no right to talk about him that way. I don’t care what you think you know about his “frat-boy” personality, but you can’t honesty tell me that you know anything about what he is actually like off stage unless… Have you EVER talked to him? No? Well I guess you would have no clue about who he is then. He happens to be one of my favorite artists because he is a class act unlike the rap artists and people like Miley Cyrus/Justin Bieber that all my friends and every other teenager in the world listens to. His concert was full of funny “clean” jokes, he talked about his newborn baby, and he brought a woman up to the stage and sang happy birthday to her for her 21st birthday. That doesn’t sound “R-rated” now does it?

    • This is the thread that never ends… :)

      I realize that a Buble concert is like Forrest Gump’s box of chocolates, and on a given night there could be nothing offensive. However, your experience doesn’t contradict the evidence that he hasn’t kept it clean on multiple other occasions. Multiple corroborating concert reviews on more than one occasion, a taped concert on DVD, certain interviews, and a few video clips publicly available on Youtube. You’re free to do the research yourself. I’ve done mine already.

      I’m not saying he’s just as bad as Miley Cyrus/Justin Bieber, and I applaud his efforts to produce music that sets a higher artistic standard. I’m glad to hear he also maintained a standard of class at your concert. Just understand that not all concert-goers’ experiences are going to be the same.

  15. Anne M.

    The woman in the Just Haven’t Met You Yet video was actually his wife, fyi. I thought the bed thing was pretty weird, but in no way suggestive. I don’t think a 10 year old would be shocked to see it because to a child, a bed is just a place where one sleeps or reads or plays with toys.

    • I’m afraid most 10-year-olds aren’t quite that innocent anymore though. Interesting that the woman was his wife, that’s nice to know, but of course the characters in the video are supposed to be meeting for the first time.

    • Lydia

      We shouldn’t be counting on the innocence (or what we hope is the innocence) of 10-year-olds to block out the obvious suggestiveness of a man and woman who (in the narrative of the video) have just met and are instantly infatuated with each other lounging around on a bed together. The meaning is obvious. If a 10-year-old wouldn’t be shocked because too innocent (which may or may not be true), that does not make the video appropriate. And to put it a different way–do we want even (or especially) innocent 10-year-olds to get used to the idea of having some incredibly attractive guy you just met come and hang out on the bed with you? Like that’s normal? Not a good idea atall.

  16. JordanP

    The guy travels with pretty much the best live big band outside of Basie. That’s worth the ticket for me.

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