Stumbled across my now-defunct first blog from back in 2007 #thatyear and in the past six years… not much has changed at all… what can I say?
For the sake of morbid curiosity… from October 2007… my first blog post… #itsadoosie #notheresnopictures
swiper sighs manifesto
So until I figure out this whole music blog thing i’ll just blog about pop culture, pseudo-politics, philosophy, anthropology, sociology, ology … the usual and of course media/entertainment which includes music, movies, tv a bit, books, or whatever suits my fancy.
Ummmm as for the music scene right now – it’s lacking in the mainstream. American Top 40 isn’t a good representation of music, the Top 40 should be indicative of the culture. The top 40 is watered down everything, even pop is watered down. Say what you will about Britney, Christina, N Sync, and Backstreet – but they were Pop: down to the core. They were catchy and they got into your head. They were like Saccharin; they were too sweet, and it was so synthetic, but they were devoured by the masses. You could not deny the sheer “Pop” of it.
Before them, the Spice Girls led the way. It was a tour de force from overseas and not even the socially-ignored-thus-driven-through-angst-to-apathy grunge movement could hold the five brits back. The beauty of the Spice Girls was that they did not care. They were Pop and the world was their bubble. Everything seemed so simple. Girl Power. That phrase made absolutely no logical sense in terms of just about anything but it summed up the moment. They were just girls, and of all the messages to send out to this malleable world resting in their palm they said ‘Girl Power’ — five girls who had been created by a British music mogul, and who filled every mold set by those like but before them, who were individually defined by generalized cliches which bred stereotypes for tween girls to emulate — built their empire behind those two words which were so indicative of, yet in complete opposition to, these puppeteered women posing as dominant girls; but it worked. For whatever reason, we followed; and their gain was our gain, their loss of Geri was a world’s wound.
This was Pop. It was popular and defined the general population which it captured. Britney and company were that Pop’s offspring, the American version. They were poppy, albeit not as pure as their predecessors, but more widespread and more American, so more accessible. They were the peak. They were the perfecters, Spice were the originators of 90s Pop. Now we have the aftermath, the requiem, and the poor poor reconstruction.
As interpersonal communication shows us: the more people involved in any given relationship result in a greater quantity of relationships per person but a far lesser quality of each given relationship. The same holds true for our pop music. We had Spice. Then we had Britney, Christina, Sync, and Street. They ebbed in and flowed out, but America being the uberglutton and pseudouberefficient wrecking ball powerhouse that we are – in all arenas – made more Britneys and Syncs. We had Jessica and Mandy, but below that base we had the Hokus. For every Christina we had twelve Samantha Mumbas, for every Backstreet we had the O-Towns… Then we tried to merge and make the Dreams. The point is: the more we brought in, the less we got out. Britney was Madonna’s ‘brightly burning but quickly dimming’ clone, but then Britney had clones, not half her age but months younger, and they were burning half as brightly and dimming twice as quickly.
Music runs in cycles and for the natural ebb and flow of Pop to Rap to Rock and back again, it is not ‘just the way things are’ it is the result of the natural ebb and flow of culture shift. People get tired of anything, and when Pop dies down, the Rap that was cultivating itself on the low is now ripe for the mainstream and prepared to put its best work out during its prime. When Pop kept mass manufacturing ‘artists,’ they spent their reserves like European colonists failing to realize the basic logic and necessity of crop rotation. You can’t keep harvesting one spot, you have to move it around. So Pop was spent, and pop is spent. We keep adding more people and merge watered down versions of genres we once felt, then knew, and now only vaguely know of into ‘pop’. We have gotten to the point of recycling tracks – not to pay homage – but rather to try and fool the new breed of listeners who have no sense of anything before or after this moment in time, musically, culturally, or generally. It is all about now and the more we cater our music to the fleeting nature of this minute speck in history, the more we create a culture which becomes a forgettable void. Music is the voice of the culture, just as art reflects culture, so it cultivates that society.
We have lost our voice, we removed our tongues with our own blade. this is not a claim to bring back Britney as an artist to represent now, but her crash and burn demise as a result of turning a person into a profitable product does represent our generation quite well. This has gone beyond far enough, but I just feel that we need to bring the purity of anything back. If we cannot even keep Pop true to its roots of the superficial, we cannot do much. We cannot resurrect Hip-Hop or Rock or art in general until we fix the face of Pop Culture. We have put all of our chips on the table.
The Video Music Awards are the epitome of our generation’s music and culture. MTV was our face. It was new and edgy and just safe enough to ride the really-a-sub-culture-but-call-us-a-counter-culture-so-we-can-make-the-viewers-feel-cool fence. Their crown jewel was the VMA. It was not about music, it was about image; but it was image based on music which was a beautiful, if fragile, merger. The awards weren’t black tie. The awards were live and unstaged. Somehow everyone loved it and everyone watched. Then, the video started taking precedence and the music mattered less and less – it wasn’t symbiotic anymore. It was like a virus overtaking the host. You slowly needed less and less talent to win or “make it,” and eventually the awards hit a breaking point. People stopped watching.
This year the VMA went to Vegas and put all their chips on the table. They cut the performances short. They had various fragmented broadcasts going on simultaneously. They scrapped a host. They cut off the head for the body – literally. It was frenzy. It was an assault under the veil of a fireworks display. It was a beautiful disaster. People watched again, if only to say they saw the fall. We have nothing left. The emperor lost its clothes. For some reason, possibly “sex sells,” no one wants to make him more – stark naked is the new black. The apathy is astonishing.
I must digress, because it has been said over and over. I am definitely not the first or last to bring up the state of music, but I had to say my piece on the record, if only for my own good. I think music is one of life’s greatest pleasures and, in the midst of all of my disdain for its superficial facets, I feel there are beaming rays of light. I continue to love music. I only disdain what I do because of the wasted potential. There is great music out there now and, honestly, even the Top 40 is catchy enough to numb you from its general irrelevance; but maybe it’s all of the cookie-cutter recyclables on top that make finding the beauty in the trash heap below so great.
A track that epitomizes music in its most basic Pop element would be “Music Inferno.” The track is a mash-up of Madonna’s “Music” and The Trammps “Disco Inferno.” The live version is sonic perfection, and the visual performance is near orgasmic. The song is live and, because of Madge’s inhuman ability to create the perfection for which she always strives, creates a pop sound which breaks through to a higher standard because it is made by the band: real guitar, real drummer, real keyboardist, etc … but the uncanny peak of the audio and visual is that it strikes a chord. It actually hits something inside that’s inexplicable; so, you sit back and enjoy. It is all well choreographed, planned, rehearsed, and tirelessly perfected all to invoke an emotion which others plant into their audience simply by feeling the emotion they hope to express; Madonna is not others, and in order to make you feel the way she wants she detaches herself so far from the crowd and manufactures emotion. It works, it works in the way that is plain scary.
Granted I got very airy, flowery, and philosophical with the rant – it is what it is. What makes the people come together in the opium den veiled as an arena is tuning in, turning on, and dropping out with that most addictive and potent of narcotics: music. So check out the track and sit back.