Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Cymbal #28:: The Purported Immortality of Pop

I watched the death of Michael Jackson and the outpouring of grief and simultaneous media wankfest (I'd like to believe the two were not necessarily related phenomena) from some distance. I am too young to have heard Thriller in its vogue, too young to appreciate his music at any level higher than that of momentary observation. I've only ever seen him as the caricature, never as the subject. Of course, this is a bit of a pariah opinion, and so I feel guilty about it and wonder if I am too schooled in only certain kinds of music. Only now dare I voice it. 

You've seen this trip before. It leads to a crushing lack of confidence, collapse in self esteem and ends with the protagonist destroying himself in a grungy hotel bathroom with intravenous drugs. 

So, thanks for your kind offer- I'll desist. The passing of Michael Jackson leaves me unmoved. But the larger truth remains: great pop lives forever.

Big Star - September Gurls - 1974

Pop the beast is many eyed and has fierce turns of mood. I'm going to go out on a limb here and make a statement. The defining trait of pop is not chart position; it has a necessary stylistic content. The hallmark of pop is temporality. It is of this world and defiantly so. Thus it is that a pop metal song requires none of the frosty hooded academic fervor and brow furrowing concentration of more hardcore metal.

Megadeth - Countdown to Extinction - 1992
If it's a nine minute song and it includes a sax solo, is it really pop anymore? Does that not militate against the definition of pop as a genre with content? I can't really tell. I want to say it's axis is temporal, but it's aspirations may not be.
Traffic - The Low Spark of the High Heeled Boys - 1972

Traffic is one of those bands that everybody should have a Greatest Hits collection of. Incidentally, for those who care, Blind Faith, which was (Traffic's) Steve Winwood's collaboration with Eric Clapton, did reform this year for a limited tour. Some folks just keep on keeping on.
Apologies for hiatus. No longer working as a corporate lawyer. All well?

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