Guest blog by Craig Scott
I‘ve always hated pop music. As a Metallica-loving punk kid in the early ’90s I hated pop music; as a 30-something today I still love punk – and hate the shit out of pop.
But why waste energy hating? As you get older and start to mellow, all that hate’s supposed to dissipate. You become more tolerant to ideas you would never have previously entertained, and you start to appreciate different types of music: folk; electronic…pop?
Over the years, my music tastes have evolved (I can’t bring myself to write ‘matured’); I still love punk, but now I listen to a much wider range of music. On occasions, I’ve even found myself reassessing whether I still hate pop music – is it really that bad?
I’ve given the matter some thought and the answer is yes. I still hate that bitch with a passion. Here’s why:
If they’re not crooning a number written by a team of ghostwriters, they’re reciting a execrable rap over an old classic. Why pay a songwriter to do your job when you can lazily reprise a cover? Bonus: your mum will buy it too.
Pop music is unchallenging and safe
Verse, chorus, verse, chorus, key change, chorus, KILL ME NOW. It’s just lazy songwriting. How about inserting a bridge that actually goes somewhere? A clever key change that’s not just a facsimile performed at a higher range? Pop music rarely ventures outside its comfort zone, save for when it decides to piss on current musical trends (see: Spears, Britney dropping a dubstep section into Hold it Against Me). Oh look, another bandwagon to jump on and ride till it’s red raw.
Everyone wants to become a pop star. No one wants to put in the work
X-Factor is full of little pussies tearfully proclaiming that stardom is their dream. But they don’t want it hard enough to put in the time learning to play an instrument, write good songs and master their art while playing hundreds of shows to build up a fan base. They want the easy route: the shortcut to fame with big budgets and major labels to take care of all the dirty stuff.
“Did you see how hot Beyonce looks in her new vid?”
Wait, I thought this was about music? It’s not a fucking beauty pageant! I can appreciate a smouldering starlet as much as the next guy, but what does a singer’s appearance have to do with her musical ability?
Live pop performances aren’t live
Why do people think that lip-synching is acceptable? You’re rinsing £30 on watching someone dance around the stage to a CD. “But that’s not the pop star’s fault – it’s impossible to dance like that and sing at the same time!” Damn, and there was me thinking the singer’s role was to sing. You had one job, Katy Perry, and you couldn’t even do that.
Then there’s the backing band, whose greatest skill appears to be ‘playing guitar’ when there isn’t any guitar in the mix. Can you imagine going to a Black Sabbath gig where Tony Iommi’s guitar wasn’t plugged in? No rock band would ever consent to ‘perform live’ without their instruments – apart from Red Hot Chilli Peppers, who did just that at last week’s Super Bowl. Facepalm.
There’s five singers in a band but no one plays any instruments
I don’t get how ‘bands’ like this form.
“Hey I can sing, what about you?”
“Yeah I can sing too.”
“Cool, let’s get another singer. Anyone play guitar?”
“No, but Ronan can sing too.”
“OK we’ll get him in as well.”
“Awesome. Now we just need one more singer…”
People think Lady Gaga is edgy
Bitch please. If you think Lady Gaga is outré, you should try listening to The Dillinger Escape Plan. Their noise will blow your mind. Not in the hyperbolic Viralnova sense of the word: it will genuinely cause your brain to seep out your skull. Dillinger aren’t even that edgy, yet they make Lady Gaga seem as dangerous as a box of Andrex puppies.
I recently had the displeasure of watching a Rizzle Kicks performance on TV and it occurred to me that this is not music. Therefore it shouldn’t be treated as such. Pop is for people who have no real interest in music; it’s a means for 14-year-olds to troll grown ups on the bus and a way for rich men to get richer still. Don’t indulge them.
tl;dr Pop sucks. Listen to Slayer.