On Music: The good, the bad and the Super Bowl Halftime Show

By Jim Hagerty
Staff Writer

The stats are in, and the Green Bay Packers are Super Bowl champs. Before a defensive show put away the mighty Steelers, who, arguably, would likely beat an inexperienced Rodgers and company two out of three games, a 15-minute halftime show had viewers on the edge of their seats awaiting the Black Eyed Peas.

A somewhat stunning entrance had the group lowered from the world’s largest HDTV, bringing back memories of an explosion-studded Kiss show, circa 1978. The quartet prepared to assault the senses, diverting fans from how coaches Mike McCarthy and Mike Tomlin may be preparing for the next 30 minutes of football.

Few visual elements lacked, as a futuristic push-up bra led the way to a pop montage that had a hint of music in there somewhere. The question begged from the beginning, how in 2011, a sound crew could forget about a thing engineers know as an auto tune feature? Even the average karaoke DJ at the corner gin mill can create a correct pitch, to some degree. Yet, Slash couldn’t prevent ears from capturing the keys of H, R, T and X. Wait, those notes don’t exist—not even in jazz.

Lip sync or disservice? After the Ashlee Simpson debacle, perhaps few will go there. But just don’t veer from the set list; keep the mics off, and nobody will know the difference—at least they won’t remember it. No, Usher couldn’t save the day.

Meantime, Elvis Costello announced this week he is retiring from making albums, and National Ransom is his last. Costello, 56, isn’t hanging it up, however. He says he will continue to write and release singles to a growing digital audience.

“I think that we’ve come to the end of the line with albums,” Costello said in a release Monday, Feb. 7. “You’re swimming against the tide with the structure of things.”

Since 1977, Costello has released 32 studio albums and 62 singles. He, along with band the Attractions, were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2003.

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