As only a ‘sometimes’ listener of commercial radio I may be underqualified to pass comment on the state of the music charts (for ‘music charts’ read ‘the music of today’). But because I have strong opinions, and if I don’t air them I’ll break out, I’ll have a go anyway.
The exponential growth (and success) of mass-produced, tuneless, carbon-copied, pop music offers interesting questions about our culture. Perhaps the most important of those are why, when and how was pop music ever able to take us so far down the boredom cul-de-sac and leave us stranded in the super-producer world?
Thinking about this over the weekend I came up with three potential answers. Firstly, the larger record labels are unwilling to take a financial/reputational risk in investing in other, less likely to recoup, genres. Secondly pop music just happens to be currently ‘cool’ with the kids. Thirdly, and my personal belief, it’s the result of society looking for reasons to step outside of its modern day challenges, and dream about a positive future.
Pop music shouldn’t be a commentary on world peace; it should be about fantasy.
So while the majority of pop music may be disposable, the best parts play a valuable ingredient in society’s overall morale. ‘Havana’, or ‘Billie Jean’ if you’re a little older, may be the best mood enhancers anyone can be prescribed.
Blues pop duo YUMA approach ‘Like a river’ as a method of communicating pop’s greatest message – that we are all in charge of our own destiny. There is nothing that can’t be fixed.
Set in side the duo’s light Americana, Bon-Jovi ‘Young guns’ era, minimal country sound, charismatic vocalist Shannon Pearl has two key messages; the future is nothing to be scared of, and good things happen to people who have a good attitude. So here when our hero sings ‘You can dirty my name but I’ll wear your heart like war paint’ and ‘you can look but you can’t touch’ you just know that this is not a song about rebellion but rather about removing yourself from bad situations. And because this is pop we have no reason to doubt that life won’t be better and our former lover won’t become jealous and regret their decision. Why would we? The pop universe make us leave all of our practical worries (money, social pressures) at the door and makes us believe that anything is possible.
Good pop, like the best of Disney, can change our mood, reawaken our dreams make us feel like we can take on the world. Upbeat, infectious and sassy, this is a great example of what pop should do.