What The Kids Are Listening To

Am I missing something? I’m sure I’m missing several things, if the truth be told in it’s gory, unexpurgated form. Occasionally I attempt to take an interest in popular culture, just to see what the kids are talking about, but I know that if I know about something now it must be uncool and not cutting edge or groundbreaking. And, to put it bluntly, I don’t really care. Especially about music.

The work I do involves knowing what’s going on with TV shows and so I did know, months ago, of the existence of something called Justin Bieber through advertising for having some repugnant toe tapper of his as the ring tone on one’s mobile phone. He appeared properly on the radar a bit later on, when he graced this country with his fairly effeminate (it’s not his fault, he’s a young teenager) presence and young women and girls swooned and stampeded and police were called to the location of a scheduled free show. For me, this was proof that there was indeed a Justin Bieber – it breathed and gathered up truckloads of cash from pre-pubescent humans of the female persuasion wherever it visited in the world – and I felt like I knew something. Something small. The smallness grew when more information was disseminated, like his mum putting clips of his singing on YouTube and being signed by Usher. (Incidentally, I had always thought, “Who the fuck is this Usher bloke?” But he seemed OK when he was on The Graham Norton Show.)

So what I am presented with is a curious situation where there is so much I don’t know that when I learn something it’s not enough to truly say that I know something. As the kids are following their stuff and they’re on top of the ‘sensations’ we’ll all be bothered about over the next five years already. Incidentally, what is the fucking story with Twilight? Read a proper book or watch a proper film! Seriously. There are good stories about vampires and good stories about teenaged angst out there already. I won’t even comment about Harry Potter. People who are reasonably discerning have read every one of those, and seen all the films. I don’t get it. These things are all so derivative of so many other works. But I suppose the point is that each generation wants its own teen angst or rebellious woman doing it her way or kids telling adults they aren’t allowed in the club house. The fact that some of us have long enough memories that we can honestly say, “I’ve seen that before, a number of times” doesn’t delegitimise  what the new audience thinks they are experiencing new and for the first time. I just wish that there could be some quality in all this cut-and-paste, paying homage, nicking ideas dross. Is that too much to ask?

And to finish, a quote from the ‘war’ between Lily Allen and Katy Perry. Lily is English and writes her own songs, while Katy is American and doesn’t write her own songs, and she and the egregious UK comic Russell Brand plan to wed, and she probably said that Lily was overweight compared to her, or something. The two recording artists look the same. Here’s what a fan wrote about the conflict while it was on (there seems to be a truce now):

Katy is like the new Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. She loves herself way too much and hates too many others. “Skinner version of Lily Allen”? Can’t believe she said that over the media. And “Fatter version of Amy Whinehouse?” That’s offensive to her also. Amy Whinehouse was bulimic because she thought she was fat, but now she’s way too skinny. And then, she dedicates the song “U’re so gay” to Tokio Hotel, saying that she “Personnally donated them the awards” for MTV’s video music awards 2009.

That woman has a issue with kindness or support. A little modesty would suit her.

Yep. Mozart.


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