March 4, 2011

The Thrill Of Open Ears: Listening To Top Forty

Hey, fellow old people!

Hey, fellow music geeks among the young!

Here is the best single piece on how and why to listen to today's top forty pop music that I have read anywhere, and it's a very brief semi-pome the author calls a "wordstream" which she wrote earlier today.

Starting this introduction, I was stunned to realize that I have been on the Have_Moicy email list, dedicated to the music of the Holy Modal Rounders, Michael Hurley and whatever else suddenly gets some list regular's drawers all damp, for maybe 15 years now. One such list regular is a woman named Jane Gilday, a creative sort--paints, various stringed instruments, songwriting, poetry and lorry nose what else--who wrote this puppy. I post, of course, with her persimmons.

beat madness

my current obsession
started maybe 2 years ago,
but got waylaid here and there
until i got injured in january,
nothing to do but rest, SO:

began listening like a pre-teen
to contemporary top 40
my transistor radio is on 24/7

the pop of right now
has become vunderbar again

EVERY previous genre/style is being

BUT leaving out all the crap-stuff-drear-overdone from each previous hoopla-era
(such as: NO PENTATONIC-SCALE BORING B'LUESY' GUITAR SOLOS--super yay!...and ditch the melisma-diva ballad schmootz and ditch the bad-boy rap bravado etc.)

PLUS there's lotsa new stuff happening
impossible heretofore
or heretofore unimaginable

i almost don't even wanna write about this
for fear of somehow jinxing its insane vitality
still i'm obsessively thinking about
all this wondrous noise i'm ear-glued-to

what comes to mind, often, is the friggin anthology
like: "these people have no set patterns,
they're re-inventing everything from mistakes,
misconstrual, naivety, haste, greed, delusions,
devil-may-care', technical shortcomings etc

aka 'wrong is right' on a widespread NON SELF CONSCIOUS,
non-ARTSY-FARTSY scale.

also it's relentlessly beat-driven...
fuck lofty poetics, gimme groove every time

every era, some significant changes happen...small shifts
often about which instrument or voice keys and/or exemplifies the overall geist-zit:

this new stuff? it's all about the kick drum.
snare's been done to death,
let's take it deeper all-anon
below the belly button wet ooze thumpin'

and who says ya cant use
some crappy sample of a tambourine,
pitch-shifted down a coupla octaves
as our kick drum? huh?

odd, unexpected influences in lots of this stuff:
--the police
--afro-pop (not just south africa--the west-coast of africa stuff etc too)
--plus bollywood schmooze
--lotsa arabic/mideast...muzzein. muzzein, snakecharmin' etc.
--youngsters come of age cobbling noise via garageband progs on their macs n' similar.

anyhow, it feels like the same kinda fun it was when i was 12-13, and EVERY song on WABC-am was some kinda rush, my brain on fire trying to figger out what all this insane noise was and how could one join the fray

or: just go watch pink's video for 'raise your glass' wearing the best phones ya got with the volume at 12 and
try to do so while imagining you'd NEVER HEARD MUSIC BEFORE, because boomer-R-us baggage has its drawbacks, same as any & all other baggage ya know?

dat surfing bird spirit dun phoenixed again into bengal-paki-beasty-boys-zz-memphis (the nile version) war wooping.

stunned anonce in this dotage


Anonymous said...

Ok , I tried songs of the current top 40. I did appreciate the Pink song Raise yr glass. Might not have liked it as much without the humor of the vid. SHe communciates more visually than sonicaly.
I found another tune that I respect. The rest all sounded overcmressed,and derivative. I regulary cruise youtubes for pop music from Africa ,S America and Asia,alot of which is highly predictable,but I hit more often in those realma than American/Brit charts. Yes I relate to groove-I'm a professional percussionist. I'm not hearing anything
interesting in this American and Brit stuff . In fact the stuff that relies on groove instead of melody is the most canned of all-the rap styles are so generic,the rhythmic knowledge is an inch deep. The electronica influences are from 20 years ago,I can pull up the patches they use on the synth . There are loads of young musicians who are incredible players,and have very broad interests musically- sorry to say,I'm not seeing any of that in these hits.

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