Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Gotta Be

Shayne Ward performs his new single Gotta Be Somebody on X Factor next weekend. It's a song that I've grown to like more over the past few weeks. It's old fashioned pop. I think Shayne is the classic case of a pop star who should have gotten more attention by his management and record company. Gotta Be somebody will be his seventh single since he won the second series of X Factor and it is the first release from his forthcoming third album, Obsession. Of his previous six singles five of them went top ten in the UK, none lower than number six. That's my Goal, his debut single went to number one in the UK and Ireland. No Promises and If That's Ok With you also went to number one in Ireland where he has maintained a faithful following. According to Wikipedia Shayne has been in the same relationship with his Faye McKeever since 2004. I'm sure a lot of his original fans have grown up a bit and gone past that 'wish he was single' phase. I remember magazines like Heat speculating on whether Shayne would ever be single again. He is a male pop star whose physical image wasn't used to a large degree. Over the past two years Shayne has been obviously working on that image and the video for Gotta Be Somebody is the end result. When he sings the song on TV next weekend we may have to listen to Louis screaming that 'girls all over the country will be going mad for you Shayne!'. The reality is that the remaking of an image with a male pop star is often directed also at a male audience. There are lots of videos of stars involved in the It Gets Better campaign which aims to try to prevent suicides by young gay people. It is of course wonderful that stars get involved in a campaign like this but a step in the right direction in the media would be to acknowledge that a pop star's image appeals to both men and women especially teenagers. By stating that a new pop star or band only appeals to specific male or female audiences I think helps alienate feelings. Every teenager has pop star crushes but that aspect of growing up is another part of repression. This is not meant to be another X Factor rant but I know that Shayne and his new more sexual image will be appearing in magazines both straight and gay over the next few weeks and when they do the target audience is very often separated. An interview in the UK Attitude magazine with a straight male pop star will almost almost say that he loves and admires his gay male audiences and that he has no objection to having gay fans. This is of course very positive but the use of a straight male star in these interview / photos articles are often written and shown in a specific manner. The accompanying photos often show the star topless or semi clothed. The image of the perfect straight male body image is used again and again. This imagery is most used in magazines like Attitude and I'm sure in other countries too I don't think that is going to change any time soon. .
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