Monday, 1 November 2010

The Musical Industrial Complex

Pop music has been around so long that it is taken for granted but great pop is as good as any other type of music. Don’t forget that The Beatles, Abba, the Carpenters, Motown and  many others produced great pop music. There was a time that pop music transcended the format in which it was enjoyed; Tinny radio, cassette player, dansette, radiogram. Now it is produced specifically to be heard on MP3, T’internet and mobile phone. Thus a generation of wasp buzzing, auto tuned pap assaults the ears in shops, public amenities and general day to day life. Technology is not at fault here; in fact there are more ways than ever to find music , which is a good thing. Where the fault lies is in the Simon Cowell’s of this world who want the music to serve the technology instead of the technology serving the music.
I grew up on pop and this set the tone as I grew up explored and listened I got ‘into music’ Being into music is hard to explain but anyone reading this that has always been into music will know exactly what that means.

The modern pop song, for the great part, also has no structure, discernible individuality or longevity. Those of you who have been reading my blog for a while will recall my bile heavy deconstruction of the Black eyed Peas, and it is with this group you will find the epitome of the current trend in popular music.

The X Factor is the highest profile example of the trend toward tat. Much like production line food tastes generic as opposed to freshly cooked fare the production line of box ticking mediocrity of the current music Industry (and never has the term ‘industry’, when used in a music context, been more apt) is exemplified by the performances seen on this show.
Standing ovations are handed out by the so called expert panel to performers such as Usher, Lady gaga, Shakira, Katy Perry and the ilk all of whom have marginal vocal ability. Their appearances on the show aimed squarely at marketing their latest release, and damn the vocals.

Jay Kay of Jamiroquai, a mouthy sod at the best of times, appeared on X Factor as a new album is being released and, hilariously, he had this to say:

Jamiroquai performed on X Factor to promote their new single and album. But before he even set foot on the ITV stage, band frontman Jay Kay launched a blistering attack on judges Dannii Minogue and Cheryl Cole saying they are “f****** useless” and added: “What are they going to tell me about f****** music?
He went on:
“What the f***. When have you ever done anything? You’re useless. The pair of you. I mean you look great and I’d like to f****** s**g you but that’s all.”
“I just don’t like the w**** stuff I have to do. F****** X Factor and that. I’m going to have to sing in front of f****** amateurs.

Cole has appeared ‘live’ on X factor performing in a sub Janet Jackson Circa 1988 style whilst lip syncing and throwing in a piece of occasional inaudible lyrics. Minogue has yet to treat the nation to her fine vocal range.
It’s about marketability and the actual talent comes second. Of course Pop music has always needed the saleability factor but talent was a requirement for anything more than a one hit wonder.

The Wasps nest sound is going to be the legacy of pop in the noughties. A far cry from the heyday of Radio One when pop ruled the airwaves and Top of the Pops was a national institution. This isn’t about nostalgia its about a generation of people who are not getting a musical education and therefore will never really be ‘into music’, and that’s something to be genuinely sad about.
penny lane

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having said that;