03 June 2009

Videos, but First a Rant

First off, in response to SDM, thank you for giving me the opportunity to write.

Volunteering to do the videos this month, I decided I would rant about music in US before getting to them.

In many ways, the pop world is the opposite and parallel world of SlowdiveMusic; the idea of the blog is look at new artists, artists who have defined genre, and “to sing the unsung heroes” of music. Between the pop divas and the glossy, sound-alike rock bands, traditionally radio has instilled and spoon-fed the minds of music listeners. As a result, these entertainers have been raking in the cash due to their high demand from the general public. Their methods of selling music with sex appeal, sampled music from the past that proved to be successful once before, and nonsense has quite the effect on the minds of their listeners. But why all of this? Why a mainstream world of pop? What is the valuable purpose and its purpose in selling? And what better than to sell than music that does not offend or music that is easily marketed? Newer and inexperienced musicians are needed in order for these companies to profit and to basically gyp them (the artists, not just the audience) off.

Meticulously, the artists and bands that are capable of catching the attention of millions are recruited every day, sort of like an army until the larger record labels eventually control the world - and you thought it was only Disney in on that game. It is a producer driven industry, where the musician is the puppet and the producer is the puppeteer. It probably isn’t that big of a plot but there is a precise selection in which artists are chosen to become famous within their first year of release and it isn’t reliant on just talent, because if talent were truly the reason why artists are chosen, then so many (Placebo, the Cure, Metric, Royksopp to name a few) would be famous all over the world.

“Pop” stands for material that is familiar and “unthreatening” to the masses, even in how sex and sexuality are sold. Yet, many underground and indie bands mention topics that are totally relevant to the lives of today but are expressed in a more paradoxical and creative way, which never sees the light of day? So is creativity meant to be hidden nowadays? It took years for the The Cures and Depeche Modes of this world to gain their stature, but nowadays it takes about four months for a sex-selling wannabe Madonnas and Nirvanas to be played continually on the radio. And it is not pure coincidence that songs such as “Lovesong” and “Friday, I’m in Love” by The Cure and “Enjoy the Silence” by Depeche Mode were the songs chosen and singled out by corporate promoters to be "pop" of America – they are the most unthreatening songs in their catalogue. It is pure corporate strategy.

The industry has coined so many labels (from gothic rock to emo), which has wrongly shunned some indie bands that certainly do not belong in this category, from being listened to or even given a chance. But then, when you think about it logically, without the wannabe divas and Nirvanas, the industry would be very different. The fact of the matter is that with a ying there is a yang: pop/underground. And in order for the music industry to survive, mass profits have to be made, and hence music companies will always default to the least common denominator: pop. Especially here in the US, a nation so large and diverse, where everyone from Washington to Florida, Arizona to Maine has to be marketed with one broad stroke (pun intended), pop allows the industry to continue to function on a monetary level, allowing other bands to be rise to the level of artists and establishing themselves as artists who will define genre, who history will remember, and who need to be “sung.”

Jarvis Cocker: “Angela” on the Rough Trade YouTube Channel: RoughTradeRecordsUK

The Twang: “Another Bus” from their YouTube Channel: TheTwangTV

Royksopp featuring Robyn: “The Girl and the Robot” from their YouTube Channel: RoyksoppMusic

Gossip: “Heavy Cross” from their YouTube Channel: GSSP09

Paloma Faith: “Stone Cold Sober” on her YouTube Channel: PalomaFaith

The Joy Formidable: “Whirring” from their YouTube Channel: TheJoyFormidable

1 comment:

  1. I liked Royksopp featuring Robyn: “The Girl and the Robot” but my favorite was The Joy Formidable: “Whirring” I liked the lyrics and all. In Paloma Faith: “Stone Cold Sober” the singer is wearing this dress that has mirrors, or some kind of shiny material, I liked it sooo much, I want one for myself but she's probably the only one that can pull it off ^^!