I didn’t get a chance to post yesterday: I was busy at work, as well as trying to figure out the logistics related to a funeral today (my uncle died). So consider this yesterday’s post :-). Today I’m working from home, and it’s a brief morning break.
There’s an interesting article in the SF Chronicle about Rebecca Black and her pop single, “Friday”. Actually, the article is less about Black and more about the company behind the video and music: Ark Music Factory. Now I’d heard about this song being the “worst thing ever”, so I took a listen.
No, it’s not the worse thing ever. Trust me.
It’s actually not bad. Although her voice is weird (thank you, auto-tune… oh, G-d, give me real voices!) and her face vapid, the music itself is catchy and can be an instant earworm. The reason, of course, is that it was engineered that way—it was designed to be “Feather-light, nutrition-free ear candy that, with repeat exposure, becomes hypnotically addictive.”
And guess what? It’s not new. There has been equally bad pop music throughout the years (even Sinatra was once in that category!). From the “bubble-gum music” of the 60s, to the early days of the Jackson 5, to the engineered music of Boyce and Hart, the writers behind the Monkees and the Partridge Family, to all the teen and boy bands… to event the Spice Girls… every generation has such music. Listening to it is a guilty pleasure—it can serve as high energy drive music or something equally useless. Further, we’ll become nostalgic for it in 30 years!
This is noted in the article: “Indeed, stripped of its classically bad lyrics and unintentionally hilarious video, or when consumed in the standard mode of its target audience — as half-heard background music while IM’ing — it’s no more horrible than the standard tweenpop fare one is subjected to on Radio Disney.” As the author of the song said, perfect pop music isn’t about depth, poetry or content; it’s “whatever makes you feel good.” “If it makes you tap your feet, if it makes you hum, that’s what’s important.”
So what’s your guilty pleasure in “pop” music from your generation? What music do you listen to that would make your friends go “ugh!”. I know I’ve got such music on my iPod (although I haven’t brought myself to record my Partridge Family albums yet). I’ve got Spice Girls. I’ve got the Monkees and Cherry People. Much much more. So what’s yours?