Last year Damon Albarn lamented to Q the domination of "the club" in today's chart music. It felt at the moment that all successful pop songs had to either be about "going to a club, queuing up, being in the club or you've just left the club", he argued .
A cursory glance at some recent Top 40s suggests the Blur man has a point: with bowel-twisting basslines and garish melodies, most of the songs that chart seem to be obsessed with the dancefloors of a perennially positive sweatboxs (take Carly Rae Jepsen and Owl City's Good Times or Tulisa's Live It Up, for example). To paraphrase Rita Ora, it's all just "party and bullshit".
The party is fine; it's the bullshit world of fast cars, champagne and emotion-free sex that many of today's pop songs trade in that we should be concerned about. Wileys racing about on their Yahama R6s and the dapperly dressed and flash-watch-flaunting Tinie Tempahs are fine in their own right, but pop music is spectacularly failing to live up to one its best functions: acknowledging the fact that not everyone's rich and successful, not every night will be a marathon of ubiquitous sex and booze. So what happened to pop's losers?
Roughly ten years ago you could hold your head high (and jeans low) as a Wheatus' Teenage Dirtbag was a hit, and about ten years before that you could howl along to the joyful guitar scree of Radiohead's Creep the world over. Both songs not only acknowledged the plight of the loser in their lyrics (social alienation, unrequited love), but injected loserdom with something sneeringly triumphant, thanks to bolshy power-chords and bittersweet arpeggios. They recognised and celebrated the fact that pop music was also a sanctuary for all the creeps, freaks and weirdos.
Of course you don't have to be scrawny and male to pen a loser anthem; nor does a loser anthem have to contain hefty chunks of rock guitar - Robyn's shy dancer lament, Dancing On My Own made being alone sound glorious, yet it struggled to dent the charts.
There's nothing wrong with pop loving club life, but at the moment it feels that's all it cares about. What happens when you want a night off? Or worse still, when you're not even on the guest list? Remember loser pop is an important part a healthy part of any musical diet.
10:06 AM | 11/10/2012
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