I learned tonight that a friend got fired from his part time job because he stayed for three days straight at Occupy Austin. Strange times we're living in. There's one thing that never seems to change though, and that's shitty pop music. You know, the kind that makes you want to believe that life is one big party, you can be a slut or male whore and always come out feeling fine the next day. I think it finally dawned on me over the last few weeks of working at a store where that particular frequency of music is accepted that it's a false propaganda of hope. No, we cannot party all the time or in the U.S.A. or til the break of dawn because we live in a world where over-extravagance has led us into a form of middle class poverty.
The radio and Top 40 hits are generally filled with over-produced cuts of processed SUPER SIZED, value menu choices - it's cheap and leaves quite a bad taste in your mouth afterward. Besides just that, the new realization I've come to is that "happy" music for the sake of "partying" just constitutes so many steps backwards that it's unreal in the long run.
I don't expect the general public to get what a lot of us as heavy listeners and purveyors of audio understand - and that's fair. I'm just saying that reading a good book instead of the funnies or keeping up with the news instead of who fucked who on the new season of the Real World (I can't even believe that's still a show) will continue to further some sort of salvation for not only the arts - but the progression of mankind as a whole.
Sometimes I can't believe the general public is that diluted in their nature to try new things unless it's by popular design. Just because a song doesn't have words doesn't take away from the depth of the movement; just because there's an instrument other than a guitar doesn't make it indie; just because there's a lack of an upbeat or synth doesn't make it depressing - it's all just variants on a mood.
I don't know about you, but life's more adventurous when you go through the motions and have a soundtrack to back it up.
Today the world was rocked by losing a legend to this industry, our entertainment and popular music around the world. Micheal Jackson, through all the personal matters, you gave us funk and pop that was adored right before it imploded on itself, and processed to our new "tween" generation.
Not only was I shocked by this, I was also hit by the words of John Gourley today. It would seem that the band's new album has leaked, just like their three previous records. Are we surprised? Was Gourley? Well, no. But with age comes new wisdom and a new shine on life, and it seems without changing stance, Gourley has cemented his thoughts on the subject, and articulated them well.
Here's the deal. I downloaded the leak of Water: "You Vultures! and fell in love with the band. Their releases have made my top five list every year since they've come out, and with the exception of "The Pines/The Devil" 7in, I own all their albums on vinyl, including two copies of Censored Colors (pre-order and Vinyl Collective exclusive), as well as have ordered the deluxe package and the VC exclusive color for their new album.
I fucking love this band. Yet, I have not heard the new album. And at this point, I will not intend on downloading the leak.
I think Gourley covered 99% of both sides of the downloading issue in his blog. I must agree with his support issue, especially for a band like Portugal. The Man, who tour their asses off and I see them not get the same respect I see other "lesser" bands get. Portugal isn't the only band suffering this either.
But, music is still arguable at best, and with that being said, I hope that if you really love music, you do go out and support the bands you love. As for the money issue, I completely understand that point. I am right there with all of you on that, but if it came down to priorities (covering needs first of course), I would for sure put back into that which brings me so much joy.
Once that value is reciprocated back, our favorite bands can grow and reach a larger audience. The business has changed, and I think with the Web giving everyone easy access at a shot on stage, and hookers and blow in the back, we tend to fall into the image, and the 1, 2, 3 and then the 4.
Micheal Jackson helped shape pop music into a joyous, danceable thing, and he sold 750 million records doing it. I'm not saying that some of our favorite bands will ever reach that status...well, maybe Nickelback...but I hope that we can support them after taking a sneak peek, and possibly work together to weed out the crap.
What is pop music? Is it the Tiger Beat full spread photos that are strung up across thirteen year old girls walls, and the pedophiles who stalk them? Is it the bubble gum pop hits of The Partridge Family? Maybe it's the circus of melody across some of my favorite records like Dog Problems and Black Foliage: Animation Music Vol. 1.
When conducting an interview with Jaguar Love, I asked them if they could define pop music, if there is any distaste toward it and how they felt about it being ladened across their debut record Take Me to the Sea. I got surprising answers across the board.
The members didn't seem to mind the pigeonholed. In fact, Jay Clark had a hard time singling out the genre, stating that he doesn't go in recording anything with a mindset of a genre. As for Cody Votolato and Johnny Whitney, they felt that sometimes pop music can show signs of maturity.
And then, there's Hannah Montana. What I would guess is the next generation's Britney Spears. So I know two things about this: 1) It's the new sixteen-year-old boy fantasy and 2) she'll be doing coke lines and showing up Spears by literally marrying a pile of trash from a trailer park. A fucking heap of trash!
But is it the processing of the the labels that give pop the bad name? Should we blame the voices, the millions that votes for American Idol, the marketers or the artist themselves? Is it wrong to have melody? Sure, I love the post-hardcore scene that continues to tear down the epileptic seizure it creates, but man, I can always go for some good melody.
But I guess it really comes down to the shiny accessible road that most can drive their ears along. So how do we tell the difference between the individually wrapped slices of cheese and a well thought out progression in a C major scale.
Well, I guess in the end it all comes with that maturity that Votolato and Whitney were speaking about. How many 21+ Hannah Montana fans are out there? The ones that aren't fans because of the "cool-to-be-lame" montage of thought, but the die-hard creepers.
Pop music on a large scale has always been big with a younger audience because of its appeal both visually and audibly. Here's a humble moment: when I was a little kid, I owned the New Kids on the Block album. I fucking loved the "Right Stuff" and it made me think I was the shit at the tender age of six. I liked my mom's Paula Abdul, Jackson (Micheal and Janet) and George Micheal albums. As a kid they appealed to me on a fun level. Sure, I didn't understand the sexual undertones of all of them, but they were fun!
Then a record changed the way I looked at music. One morning, while my mom was cleaning the house, she slipped into the record player The Beatles' Magical Mystery Tour. It was fun on a whole new level. It was pop on a whole new level. It was as accessible as the other less critical records I was listening to just a few years ago. This is where I stepped over the line of the processed meat grinder to the creative community.
Maybe I can't answer what pop music is myself. But according to Dictionary.com, it is defined as: "music of general appeal to teenagers; a bland watered-down version of rock'n'roll with more rhythm and harmony and an emphasis on romantic love."
Well, fuck. I think even that's right and wrong. We'll never define this shit. I'm going to toss in New Found Glory, I can always get a grasp on that, and never feel bad.