Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Top 40's Inferno, or the Nine Circles of Our Cultural Decline

The car radio had been mistakenly left on a top 40 station. (U2’s new single had its début the day before, thus…) As the driver reached to quickly change the station he was struck by a revelation that unfolded over the next half hour of popular music and DJ banter…

Popular music has never boded well for the culture that produces it, but has it ever been this bad?

Katy Perry started the set off with her new single “Hot N Cold.” Never mind that this inane song is about a girl who banters endlessly about how she should know her guy is no good for her; nor that it was obviously written right after a reading of one of those preschool board books teaching kids about opposites. The opening line, “You change your mind like a girl changes clothes” is a simile with all the wit, sophistication, and poetry of Vinko Bogataj’s famous ski jump. A line later in the song claims: “You’re plain bo-o-ring.” Exactly.

Next is Kelly Clarkson’s new hit “My Life Would Suck Without You.” Is this song really catching on? Years from now, if any of the current crop of High School sweethearts make it, they will get to have this song playing at their 50th wedding anniversary. “Yes, grandkids, that was ‘Our Song.’” Nice sentiment maybe, but are we really that banal?

Next: Pink’s “So What.” A song about a woman who goes to way too much trouble to show how she doesn’t care that her husband left her. Waaay too much trouble. She must be hurting after all.

Just when he can’t take anymore, they go to one of those witty morning show sketches. Angela Merkel is trying to congratulate Obama over the phone. He keeps interrupting her because people want to kiss him… Mick Jagger, Barbara Streisand, the Pope. He finally has to ask her to ask her to call back, as God wants to put on a show for him…

It would be funnier if it wasn’t so spot-on. Yep… Popular Culture… Like so many tea leaves in the bottom of society’s cup.

1 comment:

  1. Very well put! Art,in all it's forms, always holds a mirror up to society, whether intentionally or not.
    Were you up at 4am?!?


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