McPopMusic, Wrong both in principal and practice

Hey kids, what’s sweet, sugary, devoid of nutritional content and available at McDonald’s? That’s right! Brittany Spheres and N’Sync.

Ugh!

I was at the local McGreaseburger-- I’d like to point out it was only because I was getting Transformer Happy Meal toys to fill the seven remaining inches of desk space I have at work. I give the food to San Francisco’s ever present homeless. Cruel yes, but the bastards deserve far worse (can you believe one of these creeps hassled me because I didn’t spring the extra dime for a cheeseburger!?)-- anyway, I’m in there and I see ad’s promoting new Brittany and N’Sync albums and videos, available only from McCorporateBehemoth.

I can’t quite put my finger on why this seems so wrong to me. Is it because music nowadays is so bland, unthreatening, and obviously concocted to appeal to as broad an audience as possible (not unlike McDonalds food), or is it that things like art, music, and literature shouldn’t corporate commodities. Is it maybe just a natural, healthy revulsion to silicon enhanced 19 year-old poptarts and sexually ambigious boy bands?

Old codger checking in here.

I remember people saying “music nowadays is so bland, unthreatening, and obviously concocted to appeal to as broad an audience as possible” back in the 1960’s, and the 1970’s, and the 1980’s. They were probably saying it in the Roaring Twenties, too, although I wasn’t around then (how about “You Gotta See Momma Every Night or You Can’t See Momma At All” or “Who Put the Overalls in Mrs. Murphy’s Chowder?”)

As for The Arts not being the province of corporate commodities, geez, do ya want 'em all to starve or something? Some of the best art in Western Civilization came about as a direct result of corporate sponsorship, such as the Medicis of Italy, the Pope, various kings and queens, etc., not to mention all those committees in 16th and 17th century Netherlands who wanted their portraits painted by people like Frans Hals.

Yeah, I agree it’s annoying to see Miss Oops-I’d-like-to-pop-her-one-on-her-not-so-innocent-perfect-nose everywhere on the face of Planet Earth, but you know what? Her 15 minutes are about up, babe. Even as we speak, she is growing older, and hairier, and her voice is growing husky and not quite so squeaky-cute. Soon enough, my child, this fairy will have morphed into a Has-Been, working the K-Tel “Greatest Hits” nostalgia circuit. Be patient.

And that goes double for N’Sync, who don’t even have the saving grace of being a real band.

I thought the benchmark for manufactured-by-committees-and-plastic-surgeons musical “artists” was set by New Kids on the Block, and their 18 month career. Tittany, N’Stink and the Backroom Boys have all long outlived whatever claim to usefullness they might have ever had, and should be euthanised.

lol, I’ll bet Christina Aguillera and the Backstreet Boys will make their own video sponsered by Burger King next week…

Patience, children. In a couple years they will be as forgotten as Menudo, the Bay City Rollers, the Archies, Fabian, etc unto the beginning of pop culture. I’ve said it before, but we don’t realize how much commercial crap has been created the past five hundred years because it has all been forgotten. We remember Shakespeare, but do we remember who wrote the Punch and Judy shows?

I wish I still had the link to an article about Brittany’s keepers’ plans to get her into Playboy next fall, when they expect her career to start drooping.

This whole thing runs in cycles:

Early 50’s: Record companies foist bland music on the American public.

Late 50’s: Rock and Roll bubbles up from the underground and seizes the charts.

Early 60’s: Record companies regain the upper hand, and we get treated to white bread acts like Frankie Avalon, Donovan, Paul Anka, et al.

Mid to Late 60’s: British invasion, psychedelia and soul storm the charts. A renaissance.

Mid 70’s: Record companies back in control. We get the Carpenters, Barry Manilow, The Captain and Tenniele, etc.

Late 70’s to early 80’s: First punk, then New Wave bring new creative energy to the charts. MTV boosts these movements.

Late 80’s: Corporate America back in control. Hello Tiffany. Hello cookie cutter heavy metal bands.

Early 90’s: Grunge storms the charts. Hordes of creative new bands find an outlet.

Late 90’s to early 00’s: Well, here we are back in a creative lull again.

I hold great hope for a new “thing” emerging over the next few years. Hang in there…

Probably not, isn’t Christina Aguillera owned by Disney as well? (And isn’t this McD’s CD thing just another promotion of the Disney-McDonald’s partnership? They get to put a McDonald’s in Disneyland, Disney get to put blandness in their restaurants).

I’m firmly convinced that what saved the eighties was the DEEP PURPLE REUNION.

I think that the reason we perceive todays music as being bland and the Music Of Our Youth as being more creative, exciting, whatever, is that we had a few favorite bands that we listened to on vinyl, didn’t pay much attention to the surrounding crap on the radio, and the crappy acts were forgotten.

At my old job, once upon a time, seventies music was played continuously over the PA system. Intermixed with liberal doses of disco (which sounds great in compared to most of the crap on the radio nowadays) we got Deep Purple, Argent, Steve Miller, P-Funk… great stuff. Then they started playing this weeks top forty. Morale went through the floor. Customers complained. Notes were dropped in the suggestion box saying that the customers and employees hated the music, please make it stop.

I got a new job. A mix of old and new music, but so far, no B.S. Boys, Brittany Spears or N’Sync.

I like it better here.

Actually, the I-Want-It-The-Back-Way Boys did sign with Burger King. Good call.

I just read this at Salon.com:

(http://www.salon.com/people/feature/2000/08/09/britney_place/index2.html)

Kind of sad, isn’t it? She sold herself for fame and when that’s gone, she’ll have nothing but an empty mansion, goofy clothes, and the knowledge that she is a has-been.

[QUOTE]
*Originally posted by dropzone *
**

Hey, lay off the Bay City Rollers man. Don’t make me come over there.

Wow, what a well-thought-out post, spoke. I had never thought of it that way. It actually gives me a little bit of hope for the future. :slight_smile:

Speaking of Britney, is there some medical condition she has that requires her to position her head in that look-how-cute-I-am 45 degree angle in EVERY SINGLE photo that’s ever been taken of her? If not, she really needs to knock that crap off.

Spokes- Interesting analysis, but very simplistic.

No foisting involved. That was what the American public wanted. (Interesting tidbit – in the late 40s, over 50% of all recorded music was classical.) It may be hard to believe, but before R&R, kids and their parents liked the same music.

OTOH, Jazz was big around this period, too.

Nothing underground about it. Bill Haley was not all that different from the other acts of the time. The big difference was the influence of R&B music, which was homogenized into rock and roll.

But this was the same time as the folk music explosion and progressive jazz.

Essentially true, but remember there were plenty of bland hits of that time too – Dean Martin’s “Everbody Loves Somebody,” for intance.

As well as The Who, Pink Floyd, progressive rock like Yes, etc.

But punk was never all that popular. Neither was New Wave.

The reality is that at any given time, there were good, progressive acts that tried to push the envelope, and there were also groups that were content to churn out listenable pop tunes. In order for music to be popular, it has to be nonthreatening, so it’s much more likely a bland act makes it big on the charts.

I want to throw Brittney Spears to the floor, and have my way with her for days on end. Oh yes. Will you marry me? I’ll hit you every time. Day and night. ::passes out from excitement::

–Tim

Well, that and her money. But anyway, I’m not too disturbed about seeing Miss Spears and N’Sync hawking their wares via McDonalds. Hell, they have to make some money somehow and as was noted, they’d better strike now while the iron is hot. No one expects that Brittney will still be recording music when she’s 35 (or 25 for that matter) so her only recourse is a massive blitzkreig of money generating gimmicks that will be remembered only in a sense of vague amusement in 2005 and forgotten totally by 2010. Yes, I find her somewhat annoying but on the other hand, I don’t watch MTv, I don’t listen to Top 40 radio and so besides from seeing posters of her in the music section of Wal-Mart, Target et al and now in the McDonald’s drive through window (she might want to get used to being in there) my immersion in Spears/N’Sync culture is pretty minimal and not a part of daily life.

Interesting reply RealityChuck. Here are my counters top your points:

  1. We’ll never really know what folks in the early 50’s really would have wanted to hear, because the record companies gave them such limited choices.

  2. Bill Haley didn’t invent Rock and Roll for crying out loud. It started as an underground movement among black musicians such as Chuck Berry and Little Richard. It was underground, because these guys could not get their songs played on white radio stations. Instead, listeners got bland covers of their songs by folks like Pat Boone. Finally, Elvis and Bill Haley brought Rock and Roll out of the underground and into the popular consciousness.

  3. Yes, there was good folk music in the early 60’s, but the charts were dominated by bland teen idol acts (just like today). The good folk song on the charts was the exception, not the rule.

  4. There were some good musical acts in the mid-70’s, but again, they were the exception rather than the rule.

  5. Bands with their roots in Punk and New Wave were very popular in the late 70’s to early 80’s. A very partial list: The Pretenders, The Police, Blondie, Thompson Twins, Flock of Seagulls, Eurythmics, Human League, Go-Go’s, The Clash, Devo, B-52’s, Elvis Costello, etc., etc., all had chart success during this era.

  6. My analysis is somewhat simplistic, but generally holds. We go through cycles where the charts are dominated by highly commercialized pop music crap (with a few exceptions noted) and periods where a new musical movement storms the charts with good creative recordings.

Just a quick interjection:

The only time cutting-edge jazz was truly “popular music” was during the mid-to-late 1930s, when young white people got turned on to swing music, and Artie Shaw and Benny Goodman were moving hundreds of thousands of units. Artie and Benny, of course, had swiped the sound from black bands like Fletcher Henderson, Duke Ellington, and Count Basie. They made some awfully good Product, though.

By the end of the decade and into the 1940s, Glenn Miller-type music had superseded hot swing on the pop charts.

By 1945, the jaw-dropping jazz was being made by Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, and the other beboppers. And bop was never truly popular (in terms of selling millions of copies of a given record). Jazz had once again become an urban hipster’s music, and a tiny percentage of record sales.

So Inky-, Why didn’t you come off the lousy dime and make it a cheeseburger?

lol, I think you might have just created a new verb!
I suppose that is why they have the check box at the bottom to disable smilies.

Oh yeah, and RealityChuck also wrote:

Don’t you believe it! You think parents wanted their children listening to the popular jazz of the 30’s described by Uke??? Or that an earlier generation of parents wanted their kids playing and singing Ragtime tunes?

Kids rebel. It’s what they do. Take Eminem with a grain of salt. He is just the latest in a long line of parent-irritants to come down the pike.