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Arts and Culture

Everybody Wants to Get Sliimy

...Or how the Internet eats pop

By Thom Wong 3 Sep 2009 | TheTyee.ca

Thom Wong writes regularly about music for The Tyee. He has also been a teacher and contract specialist. With eight years of education and three bachelor degree, Thom focuses mostly on marketing writing.

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This is what Sliimy does whenever you ask him if he's gay

A little while ago a song showed up on YouTube and fan sites purporting to be a new Radiohead track, and the Internet exploded (or at least music blogs did). After a few days of rampant speculation that included an analysis of the lyrics (or lack thereof) it turns out the song was, in fact, a new Radiohead offering. That it sounds like a mash-up of some In Rainbows castoffs didn't seem to matter -- the fact that a band of Radiohead's stature had chosen to release a song through YouTube, or at least didn't care that it was leaked, was seen as a bold. move. indeed.

Now that Radiohead is apparently no longer releasing albums, the last lingering vestiges of its physical presence seem to be evaporating. One of the trade-offs of not having physical products to buy when it comes to music is that the bands and performers themselves can start to seem much less physical, even less real. Gorillaz tested the public's appetite for bands composed of fictional characters (verdict: very high), and now France's Sliimy has pushed the equation to its (il)logical extremes. To whit: person made famous by blogging about celebrities, Perez Hilton, starts a record label, Perezcious -- egads -- and signs performer based on YouTube-released cover by Britney Spears. It's like a house built on rumours about clouds, and the whole exercise would collapse into itself if Sliimy weren't actually pretty good.

Sliimy, or Yanis Sahraoui to his mom, makes "Womanizer" soulful in his rendition, the overall effect straddling the line between parody and homage but landing firmly in the latter. What he gets right, he gets very right -- slightly heavy acoustic guitar with a banjo twinge, echoing harmonies, and the fey vocals of a lovesick teen (at 20 years of age he's only just left that time behind). "Wake Up", the first single off his upcoming album Wake Up, has mostly generated comments on whether or not he's gay, one of the pitfalls of relying on YouTube as your release medium. In fact, YouTube comments are such a toxic environment it's hard to tell if any of the video's 170,000 viewers actually like Sliimy; the three out of five star rating isn't any clearer.

His music is a little more "interesting," but probably not better than anything else you'll find on the radio. What makes Sliimy worthy of note is that his path to music stardom may soon become the norm. In a few years the notion of discovering a band in a club will seem as quaint as publishing a book that wasn't first a blog.  [Tyee]

Read more: Science + Tech

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