Sunday, September 26, 2010

Mainstream music is shitty again, surprise, surprise.

At the back of every issue of Rolling Stone magazine is a page showing a few different music charts: lately it's been Billboard's top 40 albums, CMJ's top 10 College Radio albums (this is the only chart I pay attention to), the iTunes top 10 songs, and a chart in the "From the Vault" section, some time ago.

This week's "From the Vault" comes from September 28, 2000. It was a simpler time: extremist nuts hadn't rammed planes into buildings, Clinton was still president, Parliament hadn't been prorogued (twice), and a crackerjack young physics teacher was still pretty wet-behind-the-ears at his new gig. Also, as you can see, shitty music ruled the charts:

#1: Madonna — "Music"
#2: 98 Degrees — "Give Me Just One Night (Una Noche)"
#3: Janet — "Doesn't Really Matter"
#4: Destiny's Child — "Jumpin', Jumpin'"
#5: 3 Doors Down — "Kryptonite"
#6: Matchbox Twenty — "Bent"
#7: Sisqó — "Incomplete"
#8: Nelly — "(Hot S**t) Country Grammar"
#9: Christina Aguilera — "Come On Over Baby (All I Want Is You)"
#10: Creed — "With Arms Wide Open"

A few things jump out at me from this chart.
  • I hate every song I know on it.
  • People really liked putting parentheses in song titles.
  • I remember a buddy of mine loving the song "Kryptonite" and thinking that it was boring and plodding and I just couldn't stand the sound of it.
  • Sisqó had a second song? Really?
  • The women on this chart didn't openly and proudly pass themselves off as whores. (More on this later.)
  • Insert your own Creed joke here.
And now, without further ado, here's this week's iTunes top 10 songs (because apparently that's how people buy music these days):

#1: Katy Perry — "Teenage Dream"
#2: Bruno Mars — "Just The Way You Are"
#3: Talo Cruz — "Dynamite"
#4: Eminem — "Love The Way You Lie"
#5: Usher — "DJ Got Us Fallin' In Love"
#6: Enrique Iglesias — "I Like It"
#7: Nelly — "Just A Dream"
#8: Ke$ha — "Take It Off"
#9: Taylor Swift — "Mine"
#10: B.o.B — "Magic"

Observations:
  • I'd heard of 8 of these artists before.
  • Of those eight, I only know of 7 of them because I subscribe to Rolling Stone; the only one whose music I've ever come across on my own was Eminem, and that was a decade ago ("My Name Is").
  • Of the three women on this list, the first hit single for two of them had "I'm either sexually open-minded or outright promiscuous" as a theme (Perry's "I Kissed A Girl" and Ke$ha's "Tik Tok").
  • Nelly's song contains the romantic line, "My lover, my life, my shorty, my wife." I suppose if basketball jerseys can be considered high-fashion, "my shorty" could plausibly be a term of endearment.
  • I spent about ten minutes investigating these songs through YouTube (all with several million hits; I guess they're popular songs, eh?), and there was only one song I didn't truly hate.
  • You thought it was the Taylor Swift one, didn't you? It isn't. Bruno Mars' song was the best of the lot, but that's really not saying much. (Plus, he's dreamy.)
Much like the chart from ten years ago, I would never choose to listen to any of these songs. I would never listen to a radio station that would play them. I do not like them, Sam I am.

In somewhat-related news, I finally got around to listening to Rick Wakeman's The Six Wives of Henry VIII record which I picked up in the summer. Given the liner notes' explanation by the author of the concept of the album...
The album is based around my interpretations of the musical characteristics of the wives of Henry VIII. Although the style may not always be in keeping with their individual history, it is my personal conception of their characters in relation to keyboard instruments."

...I thought it would be way more insufferably pretentious than it actually was. (I mean, look at that album cover!) In fact, it was rather enjoyable. In conclusion, it was the second-best 50 cents I spent all summer (to the two quarters I laid down for a vinyl copy of Steely Dan's Pretzel Logic, which I will put on right after I type this sentence).

(Sometimes I think I was born about 30 years too late.)

2 comments:

The Whale said...

I thought I hated most of the top songs because I was getting old, but then I remebered that I hated the top 40 when I was a teenager as well.

Drop by and encourage The Whale's efforts to lose some flab.

sincerely,

The Whale

Eve said...

JTL is a music snob again, surprise surprise :)

I'm jealous of your copy of Pretzel Logic.