Fat Cat Plankton

Nonsense in extensia

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

You think cuz of this blonde mop that's on top that I've gone pop?!

If you'da told me two years ago that I'd have a blog and my first real post would be about Brandy, I prolly woulda flung an Anticon CD at you.  OK, so maybe it wasn't quite that bad, but even as recently as a year ago I was railing against the bullshit populism I felt was encroaching on rockcrit, and now half the time I sound like a hardliner myself, big-upping T.I. instead of Illogic, Gretchen Wilson instead of Jolie Holland, JoJo instead of Wilco (I'll stop now, promise).  Have I just been drinking too much of the ILM Kool-Aid?  I'd like to think that part of me was just unnecessarily biased against pop before and that now I try to give everything a fair shake, but honestly it kind of frightens me that I could do such a complete 180 on the whole dichotomy in such a short period of time. 

I still think it's way too easy to defend a populist stance cuz you can always call out your underground assailants as elitists and then cling to the moral high ground of being a man of the people who doesn't insult the mainstream's intelligence.  My girlfriend (henceforth Lauren cuz I'll mention her bunches on here) quite capably skewered me on this point recently in the middle of an overriding argument that I'd gone pop to be consciously anti-indie (if only she knew!), wondering how I could guilelessly defend the consumer choices of the average American music listener when I so frequently scoffed at those same people's choice of movies, television shows, books, etc.  Not that I really scoff at the people themselves, but I am still pretty much an elitist when it comes to all other mediums besides music, and I betcha most other music critics are as well but never think about it.  Honestly, how many rockcrits read Grisham or watch The Bachelor 2 or raved to their friends about The Bourne Supremacy?  Certainly not me, but like Kanye I'm just the first to admit it.

Or maybe it's just "pop" music is inherently better than all other forms of popular entertainment.  I'd like to think that's true, and listening to Ludacris, Kevin Lyttle, Los Lonely Boys, or Lloyd Banks certainly seems to corroborate that theory, but then again maybe I've just preconditioned myself to gravitate towards that stuff now, who knows.

There's loads more I could get into on this topic and plan to do just that sometime soon (meta-fun!), basically in terms of the pure pleasure of sound and whether other mediums offer that same kind of instant gratification that overrides any potential thematic shortcomings (b/c after all, don't we intellectual types watch movies and read books to get some kind of insight on something?  Obv. it doesn't have to be some philosophical exposition, but most of the time we at least demand something that's gonna cause us to look at ourselves and our world a little differently, something that at least challenges us in some small way - of course, any movie involving Will Ferrell is automatically exempt from such qualifications).

Also, when Lauren and I were having that heated discussion on my pop-slutitude, she quite rightly took a detour into the stickly realm of misogyny, which is something I definitely want to revisit even though I know it's been done absolutely to death - ain't that what blogs are fer?!

Oh yeah, and somehow this was supposed to come back to Brandy.  Erm, Afrodisiac is great and I was just thinking how much I like it better than Alicia Keys' last album and what that says about my listening habits now, when two years ago I would have cottoned to A. Keys' nu-soul way quicker than Brandy's Timbo-pop.  I'm reviewing Afrodisiac for Stylus and so I've been thinking alot about it lately, obviously.  More on that later, but for now I'm just marvelling at how many truly great, catchy, moving songs are on it - "Focus" "Turn it Up" "Finally" and "I Tried" especially.


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