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: