Tuesday, October 11, 2011

If you force-feed it, they will come

Lots of thoughts going round in my head today which I thought I'd pull together into some kind of blog post.

Been thinking about my annual top 50 rundown (the 2011-50), which is due to start in precisely five weeks' time. Usually at this time of year I would be filled with excitement at having to narrow about 100 songs down to a shortlist of 50. This year, however, things are very different indeed. The main reason being that I haven't listened to as much new music as usual, having spent the year rediscovering a lot of old, forgotten favourites, and feeling a general sense of disappointment at the new music which has been on offer. At the moment I'm sitting with approximately 38 songs so will need to find another 12 in the coming weeks; it also has to be said that if some of the contenders had been around 3 or 4 years ago they'd have struggled to get anywhere near my top 50.

It's nothing to do with getting older, but I've never felt so disillusioned/disenfranchised with the music scene as I am now. I'm tired of radio and TV stations force-feeding us the same style of music, the same 'artists' day in, day out. And it's not just a British problem either - go to any European singles chart, for example, and you'll see the same names time and time again, the international superstars who dominate the airwaves leaving no opportunities for decent new local artists to break through, with the only outlets being the now very stale format of talent shows. The problem with force-feeding is that eventually you will surrender and that's what's happened, worldwide. But I'm not waving the white flag just yet.

Having suffered through the 'urban' music explosion of the past couple of years, this has now mutated into a repetitive parade of songs about being in the club/on the floor/put your drinks in the air/party all day/party all night (delete as appropriate) mainly orchestrated by the three-headed monster that is Pitbull, David Guetta and Flo Rida. I'm particularly disappointed by David Guetta's lowest-common-denominator output at present, as I used to be a fan of his music, but now he's right up there with Rihanna in the ubiquity stakes. I have always loved dance music, but this current variation has nothing new to offer, and will be forgotten in a few years' time when the DJs are still playing 'old school' and 'rave classics'.

I wanted to write something about how the 'alternatives' to the current club-obsessed sound have also failed to excite us. However, I'll just point you in the direction of none other than Popjustice legend Peter Robinson. Whilst on my break at work today I was browsing the Guardian's website and discovered this post which he had written and which I would encourage you all to read: http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2011/oct/08/adele-new-boring-ed-sheeran?commentpage=3#start-of-comments

Admittedly, there was that 'wow' moment during the Brits, when Adele's performance came as a welcome contrast to all the urban nonsense which dominated that ceremony. Here was a "proper singer" who didn't need to cavort around with minimal clothing and maximum dance routines. However, all these months down the line and we are still under assault from "Someone Like You" at every turn. A song which, to quote its own lyrics, turned up out of the blue uninvited and couldn't stay away. It has taken over from "Chasing Cars", (which I previously declared on this blog in 2007 to be the national anthem of Dreary-Pop) soundtracking every mournful, tearful moment on every reality show.

Adele's massive worldwide success could initially be viewed as a reaction to all those empty international pop superstars - yet ironically she has now become part of the problem rather than the solution. Her music has been promoted as aggressively as, say, Rihanna or Katy Perry, but is tapping into the "adult" music market, "music for couples" as I used to call it - the kind of people who don't really like music but buy those stupid 'acoustic'/'feelgood' compilations. Which presumably include the likes of Ed Sheeran a.k.a. the new James Blunt with added collaboration-credibility bells on. Most of the current crop of tedious artists are only popular because we have been force-fed them. It's time for a change!


Kippers said...

Great post as ever, Laura. It does my head in, too, how we're force-fed all the same dreary music over the airwaves day after day. "Citizens! Here's the latest dull but worthy corporate popster who you *will* like! Keep calm and carry on!"

Laura (EuropeCrazy) said...

Spot on! That's how you keep the peasants down...

Raquelita said...

I think this post should be sent to every British radio station! I'm just glad I've moved far away enough from London for Heart not to work on my DAB anymore (bit ironic seeing as I'm currently listening to Chelsi's cover of Careless Whisper,but whatever!)

By the way,my friend who came to Eurovision with us this year has just started up a Euro-only radio show on his university station (http://vervemedia.org.uk/) It's a good antidote to the daily Adele overdose!

Raquelita said...

Oh,it's called Verves of Europe by the way :)

Laura (EuropeCrazy) said...

I'm listening to Verves of Europe right now and loving it! Great show, brings back fond memories of the much-missed Sounds of Europe.