Jan 022016

Once again, there isn’t much debate about who reigned the year in pop music. The clear choice is Adele. Other than “Hello”, few songs had such broad appeal and praise this year. Much like Taylor Swift in 2014, Adele swooped in during the last quarter of the year to deliver a song and an album that were considered a must listen. If you couple that with sales unprecedented by today’s standards, all that was missing from the chanteuse was a mic drop. But she’s too classy for that. Leave it to Taylor Swift to mop up all the adulation. She embarked on a victory tour selling out stadiums and surrounding herself with special guests (including rock royalty) in a vain attempt to bolster her brand and her cred. She wasn’t the only one jumping up and down saying “look at me”. One of the biggest songs of the year had a nation whipping and nae-naeing all over social media.
Silento and his hit song “Watch Me (Whip/Nae-nae)” is the modern update of “Land of a 1000 Dances”,albeit a terrible one. At first, I assumed the whole purpose of this song was an excuse to get your grandmother up at a wedding reception to see if she could do the “Duff” or the “Stanky Leg”. Plainly, the songs true message is in the repeated phrase, “WatchMe!” The song seems like a metaphor for these self absorbed times. Yes, watch me Instagram, now watch me You Tube, watch me Vine, now watch me Periscope, etc. You get the idea.



Dec 302011

At first glance, the choice would seem obvious. Choosing “Friday” over “Someone Like You” would land any sane person in 24-hour observation at the psych ward. But, a closer examination of the two songs reveals a lot of “where” popular music is in 2011. On one side we have a song widely considered “the worst song of all time” up against a song being labelled as “a new standard.” Clearly choosing “Someone Like You” is the safe choice, but did “Friday” have more of an impact?

In late 2010, a 13-year-old Rebecca Black entered an L.A. studio and recorded 2 songs for a fee of $4,000. The financing put up by Rebecca’s mother would cover the cost of studio time and accompanying videos. “Friday,” penned by the studio owners, was eventually chosen by Black herself because her familiarity with the song’s subject. The video and song featuring Black’s heavily auto-tuned squeaky voice and inane lyrics would eventually be uploaded to YouTube in February 2011. The reaction was as swift as it was incendiary. Despite the fact that mindless auto-tuned pop music has been around for nearly 15 years, the song was immediately derided for being instantly disposable and without merit. This did not stop the song however from having over 175 million views on YouTube and making Rebecca Black an overnight sensation. Her quick ascent to fame pissed people off enough that the teenager started receiving death threats. Even I received considerable flack for suggesting that the song was “punk” for its ability to anger so many people. There were those, mostly under the age of 15, who loved the song. The song surpassed Justin Bieber’s “Baby” for the most disliked video on YouTube. It would appear that no song in pop music history (even “Disco Duck”) has found itself under such intense derision and polarization.

But, we’ve been here before. Aside from the aforementioned “Disco Duck,”  Aqua’s “Barbie Girl” and Los Del Rio’s “Macarena” ran into quite a resistance from music fans and critics. But those were novelty songs. “Friday” was a genuine attempt at the pop charts. Which I guess, amplified the hate. And for once it seemed everyone’s sense of good taste was immediately challenged. The public needed a good mouthwash to erase this bad-taste. Enter Adele.

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