This latest incarnation of The Surreal Life has the house guests going through some interesting activities. While they aren’t exactly at the level of The Apprentice or Amazing Race, the producers have kept it enjoyable and haven’t asked too much of our little group of musicians. Unfortunately, when it came time to choose who was going to produce their first single, they chose perhaps the least talented musician in the house and one five years removed from any quest at the pop charts. As many of us watched the train wreck more formally called “Jordan Knight Attempts Producing a Hit Single” we all wondered just how badly it would sound. It turned out worse than almost anybody could have imagined, but it should be enough to keep any more Jordan Knight musical efforts away from human consumption for at least another five years.On the last episode, we had a cliffhanger of Ryan Starr storming off to the bathroom. To her defense, Jordan was in the midst of making a horrible musical collaboration. He wasn’t listening to anybody besides Flavor Flav and was producing a track that would have sounded old in 1999. The killer for Ryan, however, was the song was R&B, and she maintained that she was strictly a rock singer and that it felt like she was going through an American Idol experience all over again. For the most part, she is right. She is, after all, getting a lot more free publicity an exposure than she could have imagined to have received on her own. Still, Ryan thinks that singing on this track will ruin her career, when in fact it is her bitchy attitude and “I’m too hot for this” demeanor that is going to do her in.
Nevertheless, she is a talented vocalist and she was going to have to perform for this song to have any chance of sounding halfway decent. Brigitte Nielsen showed up at the bathroom door first, seemingly with the intent on talking Ryan out of there. She knocked a couple of times and was very sweet. Ryan, who was clearly trying to get some more attention focused on her after Jordan had soaked it up, kept the door locked and said she wasn’t coming out. Then the sequence changed course and we learned that Brigitte really only wanted to pee. She them slammed on the door angrily, and was about to walk away when Ryan unlocked the door and let her in. While Ryan sobbed, Brigitte Nielsen told her to be strong and go out there and do it, presumably but not before letting Ryan know she had almost pissed herself. After that inspiring pep talk, Ryan left the bathroom and put on a brave face for the rest of the session.
If you remember from last time, the session was quite the mess. Jordan was pulling off a production only slightly more professional than my sixth grade choir’s version of “Wind Beneath My Wings”. I don’t remember my choir teacher’s name, but I knew she at least could spot the talented voices among us, and knew how to hide some of the lesser talented from making all of us look bad. It seems that Jordan takes the opposite approach, either intentionally or because he has no sense of harmony, melody, rhythm, tempo, etc. You name it, he’s missing it, and it has nothing to do with the lack of being “classically trained”. To make matters worse, he was on a time crunch, and had to get more pieces of the track laid down and figure out a way to incorporate everybody’s talents.
With only several hours left on their deadline, they had only accomplished to lay down the exceedingly cheesy beats and record a little bit of Charo on the guitar. Ryan did a few sample vocals, and Jordan immediately began to go on to more important parts, which meant it was time for Flavor Flav, Dave Coulier, and of course himself, to do their parts. Brigitte was passed out on the couch, not really paying attention. In retrospect, she probably had the right attitude about the whole thing. If you can’t hear the music, it won’t give you nightmares. Flav was doing the drums, which made Jordan happy and didn’t sound all that bad, but the engineer did take issue with it, saying it didn’t make sense for the song. Part of the problem Jordan’s demonstrated all along was his inability to take any input on his ideas from people other than Flavor Flav, and the engineer is a great example. He was experienced, had worked with bands that have put out albums in the last few years, and also had an idea of how to run a recording session.
When it came time for Jordan to show us what he was made of, he stepped into the studio and began to sing. Well, at least I think it was singing, and I was pretty sure what I had seen on television was singing. If I were to wager on the sound without knowing the source, I would have guessed it was somebody getting their wisdom teeth pulled without the benefit of an anesthetic. The howling was god awful and Jordan had the sound of an alto tenor trying to do a falsetto that was way out of his range. Everybody else in the studio knew it was bad, and they did the right thing by laughing without mercy at his efforts. Jordan assured everybody it would sound great on the track, and while Flav did his own thing trying to get a few more drum beats, Jordan found time, with only a few hours left, for one of the most important parts of the track. Dave Coulier on the trumpet.
What’s that you say? Dave Coulier doesn’t play the trumpet. Well, we all know that. Dave Coulier was synthesizing the trumpet himself, which is fine if you are trying to do your best Officer Jones impersonation from Police Academy, but not if you are trying to make actual music. I feel bad for Dave, because I think he understood how ridiculous it was, but Jordan was the boss, so who was to argue with him? About this time, Charo began to get really pissed at how bad all of this was sounding and wondering about Jordan’s priorities. She stormed off and when Jordan went to follow her, she went into a tirade that was hard to understand but involved some sort of mix of the phrases “Jordan Knight”, “ka ka”, “worst producer ever” and “sucks” over and over. Jordan didn’t really care, because you know, why should you listen to somebody who has been in the recording industry for thirty years?
Soon after, Ryan decided that she really didn’t want to do the vocals, for real this time. Flavor Flav went over to try and understand what was going on, and Ryan once again explained how she was a rock singer, not an R&B singer, and that she didn’t want to feel forced into doing a track. Flav wanted everybody to be happy, so they decided he would tell Jordan that Ryan wanted out and that Brigitte had to do the vocals instead. For the life of me, I can’t understand why Ryan is complaining about this track so much. She thinks that singing R&B or pop will typecast her and prevent her from being a rock musician. The simple fact of the matter is that many artists had to get gigs that weren’t exactly everything they wanted. Sheryl Crow (a favorite among at least half of the people in the TVgasm offices) used to sing background for Michael Jackson, and that didn’t exactly prevent her from music stardom. Ryan has become a little spoiled at all of the publicity she’s received with very little actual work. I’m sure many musicians, not to mention most of the audience is sick of her whining. Shut up and sing already, this is clearly Jordan Knight’s masterpiece, it won’t tarnish your name any more than Prophercy 3 did for Christopher Walken.
Flav made the case to Jordan, and they agreed that they would try and get Brigitte to sing. Fortunately for everybody involved, she had been passed out for several hours and was nowhere near coherent. She said she wanted strawberries to wake up, and Flav ran around but could only find an apple, orange, and a banana. While he fed Brigitte the banana (a spectacle unto itself), Ryan came to her senses and decided it wouldn’t be so bad to sing, perhaps reminded of how bad Brigitte had sung several hours earlier. She stopped pouting and started to sing, and even admitted that she was “getting into it”, and thank god, because she has the most talent outside of Charo, and without her, Jordan may have been tempted to sing more to make up for Brigitte. With only a few minutes left and Brigitte awake, they had to find something for her. They decided to have her speak a little sultry Danish at the outset of the track. Two minutes later, it was all done.
What became of the track? You can see the finished product at VH1.com. Still, to get a sense of how bad all of this was, you have to take it in without the video, which almost enables you to sit through the whole thing without cringing. So, for your enjoyment, TVgasm brings you the full audio in mp3.