Monday, April 30, 2007

Is it just pop music?

I guess I can somtimes take it way too personal at times when musical acts I like aren't commercially successful, or they're not successful enough and go to desperate measures to keep their music career going at the expense of the actual music. Take Madonna for example: her last album Confessions On A Dance Floor was my favorite album from 2005 and it went on to sell 1.7 million copies in the US alone (which is pretty good considering today's declining music sales). But the singles from that album didn't click that much with US pop radio which was (and continues to be) driven by hip-hop. So now Madonna is working with rap producers like Timbaland and Pharrel Williams for her next album, since she now wants a hit record on American radio badly--America is still going through a long night of dispair that Bush and 9-11 brought upon it and considers that bouncy house and techno songs are too frivolous for the national mood. And now I heard that Madonna is so desperate for that "ghetto pass" to US radio that she's working with Justin Timberlake now. Ick, now that's someone who's likely to take her back to gauche soy latte territory in that "American Life" single, since Justin tries way too hard to overcome his past as a Mickey Mousekateer and a boy-band member by doing things like hiring rappers by the busload and "confessing" in an interview that's timed just before his latest album comes out that he's dabbled in drugs in order to gain a "bad-ass" repuatation.

On her Confessions album Madge wrote two songs ("Let It Will Be" and "How High") cmplaining about how fame isn't all that cracked up to be. Those songs now look like a case of "the lady protests too much," since she's made a calculated musically career move that's meant to keep fame up and running (at least to the Clear Channel crowd). As the Divine Ms. Jimmi once said about her: "If you mean it, shave your head, find a secluded moutain-top to hide on and then never come back. If it weren't for fame and your fans you would have to get a real job."

I'll likely end up buying the album when it comes out anyway. I just wish that she'd keep up the uplifting dance stuff for a little longer and not sell out to scowling rappers. Too many songs on the radio catering to that sound already.

One album I've been enjoy as of late is Lily Allen's Alright, Still. I think that it's a really good, sassy album, full of wit and humor, and it that puts like the like of Avril Lavignes of the US pop charts to shame. (Her single "Smile" has gotten some airplay on the local Top 40 radio station Q102, which usually "thugs out" on nothing but rap and R&B. God, some good music on that station for a change.) So I was disappointed that it was announced earlier this month that she was cancelling most of the dates of her May-June US tour because she was "tired." (She'll still do a few selected gigs here, such as her appearance at the Coachella festival this past weekend.) Maybe her management should have better planned ber tour in advance, since a long tour can wear a Brit band down, considering the size of this country. It gives the appearence to the US that she's just another Brit pop star who acts like a crybaby tittysucker when it comes to touring America (thinking that you just need to play New York City and L.A. to make it big here) and that she's blowing her chance at pop stardom in America. Oh well, it was nice while it lasted.

I know that it's all just pop music and that I shouldn't take it personally. But I still do. On one hand I like to sprout my individual musical tastes and on the other I like to see said tastes be affirmed by pop culture. Quite a contradiction in my life indeed.

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Blogger hot-lunch said...

this is why we need people like you to help keep pop music around and alive in North America!!

10:56 AM  

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