Viva La Musique Pop
Forgive me, Slender Music patron, for what I'm about to do.
I'm about to bring the spectre of commercial, main-stream, American, popular music into the previously
unsoiled world that, in an earlier incarnation, was known as Slender Underground Music Source.
I'm going to talk about pop music.
Not retro pop, with its hip-factor. Not indie pop, with its no-commercial-appeal-so-it’s-cool-to-like-it-ness.
I mean commercial, mainstream, slick-as-hell, follow-the-formula-as-the-last-big-hit, it's-got-a-good-beat-
and-you-can-dance-to-it pop songs.
Now, to submit my qualifications as a Slender Music columnist, I really like indie rock; I like it very very
much. I've lost many brain cells while spastically dancing to indie-label post-punk bands (which may
explain why i'm having such a hard time in grad school).
But while it may alienate me from that group of people over there, standing still and smoking cigarettes
while watching the Dismemberment Plan, I have to say it: I like pop music.
Oh, it started innocently enough. Back in '93 I recorded that Positive K song off the radio "I got a Man",
you know, as a joke. Then I taped that Snow song, "Informer", from Shannon Cameron. Then one
Christmas, I received the Spice Girls CD.
I began to really like Weezer. Then I began to admit to others that I really liked Weezer.
Things really starting picking up when I bought ABBA Gold.
It really revealed itself when I started watching and enjoying the television programme called "Friends".
Mainstream television along with a mainstream-pop theme song that will permanently occupy a significant
number of brain cells that could be better used thinking about sex.
Britney Spears comes on the radio, and, and... I leave it on.
The crafted mainstream pop song, it is a beast that is bred and raised to creep into your skull, then grab on
tightly to those gray, squishy cells, with sharp, sharp hooks. Then one day, you suddenly find yourself
humming "Wannabe" by the Spice Girls when you'd rather be thinking about what you want for dinner.
You slap yourself on the head and try to think of anything else except Sporty, Posh, Ginger, Baby and
Scary (and why did they name the black one Scary, what's up with that?), which only makes you think of
them (and their navels) more.
But for me, my dark confession is, once they get into my head, I let them stay there. I enjoy
them. I feel little or no shame even when I catch myself humming Shania Twain.
Man, I don’t believe I just wrote that. This is harder to write than I thought it would be.
But maybe it's harder for you than for me. You didn't come to www.slendermusic.com to read critical
commentary about "What a Girl Wants", or ten reasons why the Backstreet Boys should've beaten Various
Artists Accompanied by Carlos Santana on Guitar Solos for the Gramophone Award. You came here to
read about angular, abrasive, yet beautiful and complex music that no one understands but you, because no
one understands you, especially not your little sister who has ‘N Sync on repeat WOULD YOU TURN IT
DOWN, CHRISSY!?!? I'M TRYING TO LOATHE MYSELF HERE!
Music means something different to each of us. There's no need to look down on people because they like
the most recent boy-band, or because they just don't understand Frank Zappa, or because, for them, music is
something played in the background, not something they really care much about. (Although, if you’re still
in high school, feel free to look down on them. It’s your right as a troubled adolescent. Besides they’ll get
back at you by clobbering you in gym class, you superior bastard.)
These people aren't you, most likely, and they're certainly not me. Music is important to us. Which is why
I used to be troubled by liking music that "those people" like. Though Pop music may not be very
substantial or important, it's sweet and nothing, kind of like candy. And (nearly) everybody likes candy
So don't be so harsh on them. Or on me. And if you lend me your En Vogue CD, I'll lend you SpiceWorld.
(Yeah, don’t pretend like you don't own it, I know you do. I can see it
on your shelf, right between Drive Like
Jehu and Fear. Your sister put it there? Yeah, sure, whatever…)
Written By: Ernie K.