This is a 1994 piece from my per’zine, Ad/Vance. It was just an early version of the FMK game, not a prediction of how things would end up 18 years later.
Do you ever play hair-splitting games? I mean the sort where you start with a premise like, “I’m Lord God King of the Universe and I have the power to decide who lives and who dies … so, OK, who goes first?”
That’s where the game begins. Start with a phraseology along the lines of that apocrophal Oscar Wilde deathbed quote, “Either I these curtains go or I do.” For example [via Elton John], ”There are too many ‘divas’ in this world … you know, the kind who sing every song like they’re a contestant on STAR SEARCH.”
You follow that with a sampling like “Well, the worst offenders are Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston. Therefore, one of them must die. But who?”
Your first criterion is with the talent per se. "Well, Mariah Catey always makes an obnoxious Minnie Rippertonesque squeal on her singles, so she should die. But then, Whitney has the vocal subtlety of a pair of Doc Martens and has forever ruined I’M EVERY WOMAN for me. So she should die.”
You can quickly see how troublesome this gets.
Criterion Number Two: This I would usually be a fashion face-off; however, Mariah and Whitney are equally bland with their ensembles.
Criterion Number Three: Number of times we’re forced to listen to them while (a) driving and (b) having drinks. Well, they’re tied here too since they both insist on releasing ballads and dance songs. You see, it’s not as easy as it seemed on the surface.
Criterion Number Four: Song choices. While Mariah Carey claims to write her own songs, her biggest hit has been with a lame, unplugged remake of a Motown classic, I’LL BE THERE. (Which reminds me, is anyone game for a TV music show called UNHINGED, to be hosted by poor Connie Francis?) Whitney not only recorded, but also released a version of THE STAR-SPANGLED BANNER.
Patriotism has a place, even in the sacrilegious pages of Ad/Vance, but there ARE limits.
Criterion Number Five: A vital one. Who are they married to? Let’s see, Mariah had the good sense to marry Tommy Mottola, head of her record company — Sony — destined to never, ever go under. Whitney married former New Edition member Bobby Brown, a man with hideous ensembles and some hit singles to his credit (and who is at 14:49 and counting with his 15 minutes).
As you can see, it’s pretty much decided that Mariah Carey gets to live because of her advanced brain power in making the decisions that matter. Mariah, ADIVANCE salutes your survival; it’s a harsh world out there in popland.
And so long, Whitney, and not a minute too soon.