The genesis of this note came from a reading of the note by Phillip Edward Alexander, "The Abuse of Culture... (Who Say Advantage?)" and its respondent commentary. His thesis was the degradation of our Carnival culture as exemplified by the "quality" of a recently leaked soca tune by Machel, "Advantage". Phillip did not like it in the least, and lamented that this was a portent to the "dumbing down [of] our nation."
My comment to that note was as follows:
"Apt commentary. I, however, take a more holistic and historical look at road march and Machel's place in it. As you alluded to in the note, this is business, not cultural attachment: "if its drivel they want to a hook and a killer beat, by all means give them."
The year Machel won the road march with 'Big Truck' in 1997 was a cusp much like an earlier era when Sparrow won with 'Jean and Dinah.' Sparrow ushered in the era of music and tempo in the road march. In the decade prior to 1997, Pelham Goddard was arranging consecutive road marches for Superblue and Tambu. Tempo, melody with some sing-along lyrics. Machel's win signaled the tempo at all costs era with no-lyrics tuned to drive the hordes across the stages at Carnival and in the fetes. The mas took on a different look also. Poison rose while Minshall and Berkley were the last bastions of 'art.'