Thursday, May 11, 2006
Best of Junker: Ba bababa, ba bababa, Baby!
Since Junker likely won't be blogging for quite some time given that he is now in Her Majesty's Service, I thought I'd re-run some of his better pieces now and then:
I was challenged today by a most disturbing occurrence. Flipping rapidly through the television channels I stopped instinctively upon eyeing profuse quantities of bare skin. In this situation, you will most likely find that you are watching either MuchMusic or Showcase. In this particular instance, it was MuchMusic. With comfort I noted that the exposed flesh belonged to a woman. Unfortunately it quickly became apparent that the woman in question was Madonna, former sex-symbol, current ageing hippy twit. Having very little to entertain me visually, I contented myself by listening to the “new hit single.” At the end of “this week’s number one song” I was able to hypothesize two possible scenarios that explain the state of pop music today. One, consumers have no input into the music industry, and the “hits” are chosen by the industry itself. Two, this gallant galactic trial we call mankind is an indisputable failure.
Before I go any further, allow me to articulate, in text, the design of Madonna’s newest “hit”, “Hung Up”. The first thing you will notice upon listening to the cacophony is an entirely familiar melody playing in the background. No, its not déjà vu, what you are hearing is an old ABBA riff, so its more like Voulez-Vous vu. Yes ABBA, originators and purveys of the insidious pop culture sensation known as ScanPop(or Smell Muzikk in Norway). At this point, you, my ever shrewd reader, should, like me, be questioning the validity of this whole colossal experiment we call human civilization. What despicable society do we inhabit that allows a talent-less trollop like Madonna to rip off an old song, attach some grade 3 level lyrics, and reach number one on the charts? At this very moment, we, the collective that is mankind, are rewarding a 47 year old Madonna for writhing around on our televisions sets in the nip!
How did music reach this point? How much blame lies with MC “Can’t touch this” Hammer and Vanilla “ice ice baby” Ice? Should a globally funded international institute dedicated to the elimination of the synthesizers be established? Where does Simon Cowell fit into the bigger picture? Who exactly are the “Riot Grrls”, and why is it that I am the only person this side of 1985 that has heard of the Riot Grrls? Why are small clans of musically-deprived flaming metrosexuals so attractive to women when they are classified as a ‘Boy Band’? How is it that a ‘band’ can feature no individuals who actually play an instrument? When did Rap become Hip Hop and are either of those genres deserving of capitalization? Can Wayne Newton’s face still be classified as organic? Would a just and caring god truly allow William Shatner to cover a classic Pulp tune, or sing at all? Having been repulsed by Alternative music, what options do I have left? Does it “matter if I’m black or white?” “How many roads must I travel down?” And does “everybody” really “know”?
I assure you, these melodic perplexities vex me to no end.
Historically, most musicoligists peg "the day the music died" as occurring in 1990. Most anyone who lived through the 80’s will contest this date, and surely they did live through some terrible music, but in the 80’s there was still hope. As time marched inexorably into the 90’s, that hope was crushed, and pop music was destroyed in its entirety.
What events lead to this cataclysmic downfall? It is generally agreed upon that a number of unique and singular events set a future precedent for music in 1990, and from that point on, pop music, to state it scientifically, sucked.
One method of making music awful that was pioneered in 1990 was the cloning of recording “artists”. The idea was to promote inexplicably popular and entirely individual singers who were somehow identical. The leading examples of this phenomenon were Janet Jackson, Paula Abdul, Mariah Carey, and the malevolent one herself, Madonna. Sound technologists have yet to discern any measurable difference between the 1990 hits “Black Cat”, “Opposites Attract”, “Love Takes Time”, and “Vogue”, although it has been hypothesized that the ultrasonic hearing abilities of K-9’s may allow for a variance to be detected.
Another great trendsetter in the world of shitty music was Milli Vanilli. It was decided at this point in time that “artists” need no longer sing. Rather, they would prance about the stage, exposing great quantities of bulky German man-flesh, and insist that “girl, you know its true.” While the ruse was eventually exposed, it hardly stopped the trend. Technology was quickly invented that could transform Gilbert Gottfried into Luciano Pavarotti, and today 95% of all performing “artists” cannot, in fact, sing. Many consider this a detraction from their ‘singer’ status.
Finally, New Kids on the Block emerged on the scene, and, “step by step”, they promptly hammered in the final nail of music’s coffin. Sure, they weren’t worst, but they managed to foster a sheer blinding hatred so powerful it that it wouldn’t be reproduced again until the great Hootie repetitions of 1994.
Although pop music long ago died, the occasional nervous system reflex gives hope to some. Sadly, the hope is a false one. Pop Music has been declared KIA and its rotting carcass lies somewhere in Will Smith’s basement. So where do we go from here? Certainly I could attempt to regale you with my Grade 1 level piano melodies, but I don’t believe this would help in the slightest. Conversely we could destroy all instruments and revive the stoic Gregorian Chant. While this would certainly be an improvement over Cher or Maroon 5, I doubt whether the destruction of all instruments could be accomplished. Thus, we are left to sit back and stomach the pain that is modern pop music. The dreamers among us can enjoy great reveries of a world desecrated by nuclear war and thus left void of pop music.
Posted by Junker at 6:50 AM