Ralph Melton (ralphmelton) wrote,
Ralph Melton

P-p-p-p-p-pop Music

Normally, I listen to WDUQ (an NPR news and jazz station) in the car. I listen to this station not so much because I particularly love news and jazz (though I do enjoy them), but because WDUQ doesn't annoy me into changing the station nearly as much as the pop-music stations.

But the pledge drive does annoy me. So this year, I decided that I would listen to rock stations during the pledge drive, in order to check out current pop music. The particular question: would I like it, or would I be revealed as a stuck-in-the-80's cane-shaking geezer? (Note that I've used an 80's musical reference as the title of this report on my foray into the pop music of the 00's. I am teh ironic.)

For a few days, I listened to WXDX, a local "alternative" station. I enjoyed pretty much everything I heard here. Specific song commentary:

- OutKast, "Heya": this is a fun "rappy" song. But the final lyrics are "shake it like a Polaroid picture!" Point the first: Polaroid recommends against shaking pictures. Point the second: who has Polaroid cameras anymore? In my social circle, digital cameras have crushed Polaroid's market share with an iron fist.

- Audioslave, "Show Me How To Live". This is heavy metal. It's good heavy metal, with a sort of "Frankenstein's Monster" theme that carries on the heavy metal tradition of lyrics that are about something, despite people's surprise. But it's not fundamentally different from the heavy metal of the 80's.

- I also heard covers of the Cure's "Love Song", by 311, and Led Zeppelin's "When the Levee Breaks", artist unknown. What goes around, comes around, certainly, but it made me feel right at home.

WXDX did play one thing to make me change the channel, though: the Howard Stern show. And so I switched to WBZZ, which claims to play "all of today's best music".

WBZZ turns out to be a much better place to observe the current iteration of the inevitable co-opting of black music by white culture; almost every song I heard was strongly influenced by rap and hip-hop. But it's such mild, drippy rap that it reminds me of Smoove B. I'd rather listen to my 15-year-old Public Enemy albums.

This is overstating things; though I didn't enjoy WBZZ as much, there was nothing that really forced me to change the channel. And I did hear some very enjoyable songs, such as Kelis' "Milkshake". (I'd been aware of that song before hearing it on the radio, because NPR's All Things Considered did a piece asking the question, "Just what is the song referring to, anyway?" I agree that the song certainly sounds as if 'milkshake' is referring to something salacious.)
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