Ryan Chartrand

It is increasingly rare these days to see artists who actually write their own music and play an instrument, which is probably why I enjoyed Tom Petty’s performance at the Super Bowl halftime show so much on Sunday. It’s a reminder of what music used to be – good.

In general, today’s popular music sucks. Take Britney Spears, for example. She can’t sing well, she doesn’t write her own stuff, and I seriously doubt she knows how to read music. She doesn’t even dance well anymore. I don’t even know what she does anymore, besides being a headline-making trainwreck. We need more real artists. We need more Tom Pettys in the world.

I heard rumors that Tom Petty may have partially lip-synched his Super Bowl performance, but it was just a flawless, legitimate performance. And how can you not love classic rock? “Free Fallin” is a timeless classic.

My mom disagreed. She thought the Tom Petty performance was lame and said her favorite Super Bowl halftime show had to be Shania Twain. I almost barfed. How can you say Shania Twain is a better artist than Tom Petty? Tom Petty wrote “Free Fallin” in 1989 and “I Won’t Back Down.” Then in 1991, he wrote “Into The Great Wide Open.” What did Shania Twain ever write? “I Feel Like A Woman”? Please.

Although I enjoyed his performance, I have to admit that knowing the words to “Free Fallin” kind of made me feel old. It’s like when you watch “I Love the ’90s” and you realize that you actually lived through and remember all this stuff, that you’re not getting any younger as you watch Tom Petty (who looks way older than you remember) rock out.

But no matter how good the Tom Petty halftime show was, it can’t beat the 2004 or the 2007 Super Bowl halftime shows. Now those were some amazing halftime shows.

Super Bowl 2004 would be the year of “Nipplegate,” the halftime show that went down in Super Bowl infamy. While performing the song “Rock Your Body” with Justin Timberlake, Janet Jackson decided it would be cool to show the whole world her superfluous nipple, which was covered by some nipple-shield thing. Looked like a bronze ninja star or something. Classy.

The media blew the whole incident WAY out of proportion. Jackson and Timberlake were hounded by the media constantly asking them, “Why did you do it? Was it an accident?” The FCC ordered a full-blown “investigation” of the wardrobe malfunction, since so many little kids saw Janet Jackson’s nipple and were scarred for life. Their parents are still paying for therapy sessions to this day. Now THAT is a good half-time show.

The Super Bowl halftime show in 2007 was definitely a memorable performance by Prince, arguably one of the most memorable performances of Super Bowl history. Now, I’m not the biggest Prince fan, and “Purple Rain” isn’t on my iPod, but after that performance, I had a newfound respect for the weirdo. (And you have to admit the guy is a weirdo – his name is a symbol. Enough said.)

It was pouring rain during the entire performance. Prince wore this ridiculous turquoise and orange outfit with some of the highest platforms I have ever seen. There was fog, pyrotechnics, flashing lights, microphones and multiple electric guitars – that’s a lot of electrical equipment in the rain. But Prince doesn’t care about electric shock because he’s the man and he played his heart out.

Although Tom Petty is the man, I’m not sure he could ever beat that performance by Prince. Maybe if he wore some giant platforms next time, or maybe if he exposed his right nipple for the entire world to see, then it might have been the best Super Bowl halftime show ever.

Cary Conrady is a journalism senior and a Mustang Daily reporter.

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