My drift's too hip to resist.
27 December 2001
It's about time James really vented some spleen.
I'm fat from over-eating and knackered from yet another night on the town. But I'm still angry. Very very angry.
There's plenty to be angry about, but what really gets my goat is the music industry.
And in specific, when I heard Pete Waterman say on TV that he would never let any of his acts (this is the great man who brought us Kylie and Jason et al), sing live on Top of the Pops. He said that he couldn't see why people would want to listen to people singing live when they could just mime to the record and it would sound the same as the record.
Suddenly, this man jumped to the top of my hit list, finally toppling Richard Whitely from the number one spot. I have a feeling he'll stay there for a while, too.
Some may say that I'm being a music fascist, that Pete Waterman is successful because people buy his 'artists' tracks, and just because it's popular doesn't mean that it's bad. In fact, doesn't it's popularity mean that it is 'good'?
No, of course it doesn't.
Because pop music has nothing to do with music. The music industry is just like many other consumer-focussed industries, and over the past decade, big industry has discovered a way to sell loads more goods - branding. The idea of a brand and brand image is to give the consumer something more than what they're physically buying. Marlboro Country, case in point. Also Nike projecting themselves as the pure idea of sport (remember them completely cloaking Cathy Freeman in Sydney. She embodied the idea of sport, covered from head to toe, but with a swoosh). So brands sell, not products.
Pop music the exactly this. When a teenage girl goes and buys a 5ive cd, is she really interested in what the music actually sounds like? No, with the help of music shows, Ant Dec and Cat, teeny mags, by buying that cd and playing the music contained within, the teenage girl has a little bit of a picture perfect world of shiny teeth, clear skin and nice boys. Why do Westlife never do any original songs? Because they don't have to. As long as the sounds go vaguely with the pictures of the pop music brand image, then the music itself doesn't matter. And the record companies rake it in.
In terms of trends, though, music always lags a few years behind reality. The world became branded in the eighties and nineties, music has about finally woken up to it in the last few years. But now, the big brands are beginning to get hit by scandal. Marlboro cigarettes might take you to a promised land, but only after a long and painful death hacking up tar and bits of lung. Nike projects the image of pure sport, but employs armies of indentured teenage girls to manufacture them, and markets them hardest to the poorest sections of western countries, so that kids get stabbed for their shoes. Big brand companies are getting bitten because their actual products in the real world can not live up to the expectations of their brand imagery.
If history repeats itself, then the music industry will eventually catch up with these new trends. Although 'alternative' music movements have either died out or got sucked into the big industry, eventually consumers will tire of the same tired songs being churned out again and again. There is only a limited number of songs out there to cover. And big supermarkets started stocking organic ranges because consumers wanted it. I'm ready for real organic music now.
So, people of the world, be ready for some real music. I have my nine-man army ready, and our drift's too hip to resist. We're beaming down with phasers set on funk. I'll sing live on Top of the Pops, with Pete Waterman's head on a pole, smiling back at me.
18 December 2003. George writes: This List
Most recent ten:
15 December 2003. Jamie writes: Seven Songs
11 December 2003. Dan writes: Spinning Jenny
8 December 2003. Victor writes: Rock Opera
4 December 2003. Matt writes: The Mirrored Spheres of Patagonia
1 December 2003. George writes: Charm
27 November 2003. James writes: On Boxing
24 November 2003. Jamie writes: El Matador del Amor; Or, the Man who Killed Love
20 November 2003. Dan writes: Rights Management
17 November 2003. Victor writes: Walking on Yellow
13 November 2003. Matt writes: Disintermediation
(And alas we lost Neil, who last wrote Cockfosters)
Also by this clown:
27 November 2003. James writes: On Boxing
16 October 2003. James writes: Jakesy's School of Urban Driving
24 September 2003. James writes: Chapter One
4 September 2003. James writes: The Silicon Soul
14 August 2003. James writes: A Room With 100 Seats
24 July 2003. James writes: English For Beginners
3 July 2003. James writes: Coldplay are crap. Discuss.
9 June 2003. James writes: It Takes All Sorts
22 May 2003. James writes: Lesson 2: Buying his Gran for a tenner
1 May 2003. James writes: Rosencrantz and Leytonstone
10 April 2003. James writes: Character Building
20 March 2003. James writes: So This Is It. What Are We Going To Do About It?
27 February 2003. James writes: Street Level Zero
6 February 2003. James writes: Reference: James Noteworthy
16 January 2003. James writes: Kissing George Clooney for just £99!
26 December 2002. James writes: Hongkong In Four Tableaux
5 December 2002. James writes: We Are Your Idea
14 November 2002. James writes: The Knight Of Spring Fervent
24 October 2002. James writes: Go On, Be Honest
7 October 2002. James writes: Cold Comfort
12 September 2002. James writes: Peas In A Pod
22 August 2002. James writes: Seed Investment
1 August 2002. James writes: We Are QPR
11 July 2002. James writes: The Road to Ossuna
20 June 2002. James writes: Pret A Teleporter
27 May 2002. James writes: A Play On Words
2 May 2002. James writes: Labour Saving Device
8 April 2002. James writes: Beggaring Belief
14 March 2002. James writes: Small Things
18 February 2002. James writes: Drop Dead Letters
24 January 2002. James writes: High-Rise Rhapsody
27 December 2001. James writes: My drift's too hip to resist.
6 December 2001. James writes: My Lord Has No Nose
12 November 2001. James writes: A Job For Life
18 October 2001. James writes: Which is the cleverest animal?
24 September 2001. James writes: Interview With An Automatum
30 August 2001. James writes: Each To Their Own
6 August 2001. James writes: An Escape, In Sonata Form
12 July 2001. James writes: Truckloads Of Goodies
18 June 2001. James writes: There's No Such Thing As A Coincidence
24 May 2001. James writes: It's All True - The Paper Says So
30 April 2001. James writes: A Letter From Prisyn
16 April 2001. James writes: I Quit
15 March 2001. James writes: An Essay In Procrastination
15 February 2001. James writes: Confessions Of An English Sand-Eater
22 January 2001. James writes: The Future And The Pasta
28 December 2000. James writes: Never drink with men in red
4 December 2000. James writes: The Underground
9 November 2000. James writes: Right answer. Wrong answer
16 October 2000. James writes: The March of Proudfoot: Part I
21 September 2000. James writes: You haven't got a chance
28 August 2000. James writes: Bad, man. Wicked
24 July 2000. James writes: I play games with street lamps
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