All entries for Sunday 20 May 2007
May 20, 2007
The very controversial new president of France, Nicolas Sarkozy, is manipulating the media with quite an impressive ability. And, I’d say, has done so for quite a while now.
His latest PR stunt is quite twisted: right after the election, he decided to take a leave – for a “well-deserved rest”, and to “inhabit the presidential function”. Bang. Controversy all over the media in France, and the socialists just go for it. Scandalous; where does the money come from – and when it turns out it’s not the taxpayer’s but an industrial’s – has there been traffic of influences? Truly enough, the amount spent during these days was quite high (I can’t remember the exact figures, but it’s not very relevant anyway). And true, it is quite weird that a newly-elected president leaves the country right after the election. But it is entirely within his rights, all the more so as he was not invested yet.
What are the real consequences of this controversy? Something that, I’m very much afraid, we’ll have to endure during the next five years to say the least. Media that are focused on the person – the president himself – and not on the policy he seeks to implement. They fell for it this time, and also did before and during the campaign, when all you could hear was that he was a dangerous man, quick to lose his temper etc. – and the much mediatised divorce from Cécilia. Talking about her, weirdly enough, she reappears in the front of the scene – and guess what? the media don’t fail to notice and say it.
When the media focus on the person, instead of on his actions and policy, we enter a very dangerous society; and the cult of personality is only one step ahead. An example – about slavery. This year is the 200th aniversary of the abolition of slavery; and Sarkozy, as he should, attended the ceremony (note he didn’t attend the ceremony for the end of World War II, which is a bank holiday in France) – the media picked up on the fact that he had condemned “repentance” as “self-hatred” during the campaign, and insisted on the fact that he contradicted himself. Instead of looking at Sarkozy’s actions, once more, they focused on the person, taking his words about repentance as unalterable truth.
Now – it is true that the personality of a president is important – especially when world politics as concerned; but focusing on it is a very, very slippery slope.
Travis are back, after a three-year hiatus, with a fourth album, The boy with no name. It is definitely more pop than rock, this time – and marks quite a change from 12 memories. The boy with no name draws upon all the positive sides from the previous albums (some instrumentals remind of Quicksand; Selfish Jean belongs definitely more to Good Feeling than any other album, and My Eyes rings a bit like Fear. And the pop bits are from The Invisible Band, and remind especially of Side.
So, it should be a masterpiece. And yet the magic doesn’t work – granted, some pieces are just awesome – especially My eyes – but all these songs are just – well – sung. They do not convey any feeling, where the whole of The invisible band was transmitting a general feeling of hope, The man who sadness and insecurity, Good feeling buoyant happiness, and 12 Memories anger. And not conveying any feeling makes The Boy with no name achieve only a three stars. Interestingly enough, the video to the first single, Closer, happens in a supermarket – and that’s basically what some of the songs are: supermarket music, lacking energy and originality.
Pity, because we all know that Travis is able to do so much better!
So – yes – individually, there are some great songs: My eyes, One night, and Selfish Jean. But as a whole, the new album is a disappointment.