Monday, May 22, 2006

Pop vs Snobs

I just thought I'd add this because I like it and it basically encompasses my total philosphy on the pop music vs snobs war. It's from Nick Hornby's Songbook.

"That's the thing that puzzles me about those who feel that contemporary pop (and I use the word to encompass soul, reggae, country, rock -- anything and everything that might be regarded as trashy) is beneath them, or behind them, or beyond them -- some proposition denoting distance, anyway: does this mean that you never hear, or at least never enjoy, new songs, that everything you whistle or hum was written years, decades, centuries ago? Do you really deny yourselves the pleasure of mastering a tune (a pleasure, incidentally, that your generation is perhaps the first in the history of mankind to forego) because you are afraid it might make you look as if you don't know who Harold Bloom is?

"A three-minute pop song can only withhold its mysteries for so long, after all. So, yes, it's disposable, as if that makes any difference to anyone's perceptions of the value of pop music. But then, shouldn't we be sick of the 'Moonlight Sonata' by now? Or Christina's World? Or The Importance of Being Earnest? They're empty! Nothing left! We've sucked 'em dry! That's what gets me: the very people who are snotty about the disposability of pop will go over and over again to see Lady Bracknell say 'A handbag?' in a funny voice. They don't think that joke's exhausted itself? Maybe disposability is a sign of pop music's maturity, a recognition of its own limitations, rather than the converse."

While I'm at it... anyone watch Eurovision last night? What did you reckon?

*sings* "We are the winners... of Eurovision..."


Rohan Williams said...

As always, Nick Hornby is right. I mean, apparently he's a neo-conservative or something, so I doubt I'd agree with absolutely everything he says, but when it comes to this sort of stuff, he's right.
Maybe, though, the reason people still laugh over Lady Bracknell's handbag instead of, say, listening to Westlife, is because they've made the decision that the works they really enjoy aren't disposable at all, and will always have value to them. So from that point of view, I don't see pop music's disposability as a sign of maturity, but I agree that being able to recognise its own disposability is a great part of what makes pop music... well, pop.
And now I'm rambling.

Malin Viktoria said...

I did watch the Eurovision song contest last night, and it's the most disgraceful ting I've ever seen. I know I say that every year, but really...! "We are the winners of the Eurovision"????? I would rather eat dead flies than vote for that. Okay, so Norway did quite badly, but I honestly think some of the reason to that was that she sang in Norwegian. Otherwise, I didn't hate her contribution, though I didn't watch her performance last night (I've seen it before).
I thought it was cool that the Finnish song won; not that I loved the song, but the fact that a band who looked like a mix between Turbonegro and Slipknot could win in such a "glamourous" (well, it used to be anyway...) contest, was really interesting. Otherwise, it wasn't a huge shock to me when Finland showed up with a heavy metal song, and I thought "well, better Finland than someone who doesn't have the first clue about heavy metal". germany could have pulled it off as well, I think.

Grace Suter said...

Ah, but Germany were too busy doing their weird version of country music.

I loved the "We are the winners of Eurovision" song. It cracked me up! I would have voted for them, just because they were only band that actually had the words "VOTE! VOTE! VOTE FOR THE WINNERS!" in their song.

Otherwise, I quite liked Sweden and Denmark. The Croatian woman scared the crap out of me with her weird botoxed face. And the UK was shit, but it made me laugh just for the desk-choreograophy.

The Monsters deserved their win. Just for the bit where the main singer's wings spread out at the end.

Samer Butrous said...

One important thing we all have to realise. If there is goin to be a contest about songs and stuff, it will most likely suck.

I know if i have talent (which i do) i wouldn't write a song that will be played to the world. Becasue if u really think about it, u have already sold out. For me, music still does mean something. in my few songs i have already written (well actually only managed the lyrics so far) i have included stuff that's close to me (now i'm sounding a little bit gay). i would never want to perform my stuff for money, unlike some of the people in eurovision trying to make a quick buck by singing that shit.

DriveLikeJehu said...

I don't think most people take the eurovision contest seriously.

I fail to see the point of selling out... I mean how can a pop artist sell out if one of their main aims is to make a living out of the industry? They're not hiding their intentions it's out there in plain view. I mean maybe if Westlife decided to go all art rock that might be considered in some way selling out.

To sellout is to change your original sound or artistic credibility for the purely for the sake of commerical success. Pop artists have nothing to sell out to because their is just no pretension but that's not to say they can't be artistic or creative in making a living.

Samer Butrous said...

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Grace Suter said...

Shan, I love you. (But not like that).

swedish_me said...

Otherwise, I quite liked Sweden and Denmark.

*stunned* are you serious?????

mmm we had a crap song this year...

hmm i've been sayin for ages that finland would win n i was kinda happy bout it..tho it's far from my fave in that competition...

tho the one i'd wanted to see on the last place was: sweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeden...