Pavlov’s Pop – Is Pop Music Brainwashing You?

Pop music – does it really exist? I mean of course it does, but as something that is popular, in the way that you choose it? It seems increasingly you don’t – like in Russia the pop chooses you, through incessant repetition. The video from PBS’s Idea Channel above and this article describes it as a sort of musical Stockholm Syndrome, but I like to think of it more as a Pavlov’s Dog experiment, with Fancy or Blurred Lines – or that frigging Happy song – as the bell.

So combined with payola and the gatekeepers wanting their latest signings to be a success, there is a sort of not-that-virtous cycle, a Pavlov’s Dog eating it’s own tail. You see this as much with Rolling Stone, NME as with daytime radio and MTV – even the classic ‘is this person deserving of success?’ (e.g. Lana Del Rey, Gaga, Miley etc) from Guardian to Perez Hilton is part of this constant news/promo cycle. The end of this cycle for an artist seems to be either some Gangnam Style level ‘don’t want to hear that anymore’ or Gaga-level meh.

But certainly what gets popular is not what the public has chosen, but what was chosen FOR it, what’s chosen to be part of this cycles, from competitions to Best New Music of 2014 to playlists, TV and Films. Yes, even the public broadcasters are guilty of this as much as Clear Channel and the like. It’s all part of the mere-exposure effect, making the unfamiliar familiar by repetition.

It’s why I’m wary about the label ‘popular music’ (popular from/by whom?) and tend to mash it up with stuff that isn’t in the current news/release cycle. Much more interested on the podcast in rocking stuff off Bandcamp then some old ska tune, than pay lip service to another Bieber construction. And it’s more creative.

(Oh and yes, Fancy is TERRIBLE – Iggy Azalia can’t rap for shit, and I say that as a hip hop head, only one part of the hook is any good and I suspect they filched it. Oh well, at least it annoys Azealia Banks…)

Also not sure if I posted this Idea Channel on Mashups destroying Genre:

Recycled Radio

For those who liked my digital debris podcasts, especially ‘Hell (for Bill)‘ I suspect you might also like Recycled Radio (probably UK IP only) presented by Gerald Scarfe, which has just come back for a second series.

The first of the new series is about hell, and it’s mashup/cutup radio at it’s finest, and both series unusually have over a year to listen to them – I guess because they use BBC owned content only.

Viv Stanshall’s Radio Flashes

Ooh look what just popped up on my computer (thank you Get iPlayer and PVR, yes Stanshall and Radiophonic search terms are always on scan), the BBC are replaying 3 episodes of what I presume the only high-quality versions they have of Viv Stanshall’s Radio Flashes, which was when he stood in for John Peel on Top Gear. I think he originally did 4 and a Christmas special which was Rawlinson’s End themed, I think.

Sounds like they’ve remastered them, or at least replaced the music with high quality versions, so good for you Bonzos fans out there, you have 3 days to listen to the first episode, so hurry! (unless you use Get iPlayer)

Those outside the UK I suggest investing in a good VPN with UK servers.

Shirley Collins and the Poor Murdered Woman

I love the fact that Alan Moore has made a video on the importance of Shirley Collins and the Kickstarter to make a film about her. I dug through my collection and the sole track I had on my computer was ‘Poor Murdered Woman’, but 5-star rated and a track I love.

The story of the woman leads to a murder on Leatherhead Common, and a local songwriter via Milford (near where I grew up), and eventually how Shirley Collins covered the song originally written in 1834. And eventually this piece for Folk Radio UK, which is well worth listening to.

Something about this song, and her version just haunts me. I think even though she says it’s like news reportage, just the facts, her love and care for this forgotten woman bleeds through. In a funny yet good way this poor murdered woman will be never forgotten because of this song.