Saturday, April 23, 2016

Take On Me

I wish I could access some photos.  They say that photos are the key to getting your posts read.  And how am I to overawe and destroy Justin Bieber if I can't get photos?

As part of my ongoing preparation to go on Jeopardy, I've been trying to become current on today's pop music.  I downloaded a whole bunch of recent hit songs and have been trying to listen to them.

So I guess I'm old because I mostly hate all of them.  In fact, the wife and I went to Vegas last month and I got so depressed by our car ride--when I listened to a whole smorgasbord of Kesha, LMFAO, Bruno Mars, et al, that by the time we got there I just wanted to go home.

What a good pop song has to have, at minimum, I think, is wit.  It doesn't have to move you, necessarily; it doesn't have to make you feel; but it has to be clever.  Maybe it's melodically clever; maybe it's lyrically clever; maybe it's both.  And Drake, for example, is neither.  He's not even close to clever.  He can't even see clever through a telescope.

And I just think--b/c I'm old--the pop music of the 80s: it was just better.  Objectively, clearly better.  Boy George or Human League or Adam Ant--all of those guys produced songs that were orders of magnitude better than the stuff that's being done by, say, Maroon 5.  And why that is--maybe it's just that pop and rock is an exhausted genre, and there are no new ideas left--or maybe it's a less sophisticated listening audience--I don't know.  But it's dispiriting.

Two small bright spots: Meghan Trainor and (small selections of) Bruno Mars.  Actually, only one song of Bruno Mars (well, really Mark Ronson with Bruno Mars): "Uptown Funk."  Highly derivative of James Brown, but man is it good.  And M Trainor is pretty good too.

But that's it, as far as I can see.  Give me The Thompson Twins and Thomas Dolby any day.


JMW said...

I have some current-ish hits you should listen to, but I need to gather them. There aren't THAT many, but there are some. They will follow.

ANCIANT said...

Excellent! I am genuinely in need. My feeling of being a grumpy old man needs to be allayed (falsely).

Saxo Philologus said...

I positively loathe Uptown Funk. I could go on and on about how bad it is, but I will spare you. But you are definitely right about 80's pop music. Even virtual novelty songs like Safety Dance or Tarzan Boy are incomparably better to most pop today. What's even more interesting is how bad rock music has been in the last 25 years. I think Alice in Chains and Smashing Pumpkins hold up a little bit, G&R had its great songs, but there is really no good rock music of the last 15 years. On an unrelated note, Mrs. Saxo and I both came to the conclusion that Hole is better than Nirvana, and Courtney Love's music has aged much, much better than Kurt Cobain's.