Saturday, 2 February 2008

No Fun

‘We don’t need no educashun!’ sang the Pink Floyd somewhat ungrammatically and looking at their bank balance you felt they had a point.

But does education really have a place in pop music? I can’t help feeling that somewhere along the line pop music has become a little too worthy. I blame LiveAid (1985 for those old enough to remember) for trying to raise the stature of the medium out of the ‘purely for enjoyment’ category into the ‘take us seriously’ category. It seems that everywhere you look and this includes music, everything has to be educational rather than just plain fun. There is something of the intrusion of the Nanny State at work here. You can imagine the scene in Nurseries everywhere:

All together now kiddies…
‘Hey Hey we’re the Anthropoid Apes,
And people say we primate around,
But we’re too busy learning,
To put anybody down.’

Perhaps all music outlets should become a branch of Early Learning then we’d all know where we stand. Toys long ago became instruments of ‘Education’ so that we cannot buy anything for a pre-schooler without it having to teach them something. My own experience reveals that toddlers generally ignore these overpriced teaching aides and continue to play quite happily with cardboard boxes and wrapping paper thus learning a basic British right – to be suspicious of all authority.

Which is why I really can’t get to grips with politics in music, there’s too much preciousness involved and it turns me off. We have that stuff breathing down our necks all the time, the last place I need it is entertainment. But what I really don’t need is some earnest teenager ramming a non-too subtle ‘message’ down my throat. Comment on the state of the union by all means but don’t preach otherwise I’m off to play with the cardboard boxes.

Let’s be clear, I have no quibble with those who make a general observational protest in lyrical form – Nerina Pallot’s ‘Everybody’s Gone to War’ is a good example – but I really don’t want to spend money on a CD that then accuses me directly of creating all the world’s ills. It’s not all my fault, honest! Nor do I take kindly to being told to give money to various causes by rock stars who could probably finance the problem out of existence, personally.

So, where were we? Oh yes…
‘Hey Hey we’re the Monkees,
And people say we Monkee around,
But we’re too busy singing,
To put anybody down.’

Much better.


TR1-Guy said...

Well, no surprise that I remember Dusty very well.

Buy, the reason for the comment is the video of her singing with a young Tom Jones! I like some of Tom's music and hits and love the fact that he's come "back" in this modern age and still cranks out a great show in Vegas (never have seen him, but the clips of him today are great).

Thanks for posting these gems, as I had long forgotten about Dusty and she was a true talent, not really seen much today.

musicobsessive said...

I think 'cranks out' is a perfect description for Tom these days but you have to admire him for keeping it up all these years!
There's loads more Dusty on YouTube. It's just so good to see someone sing so well on live TV - something not all artists today opt to do!

Adrian said...

Talent has been systematically squeezed out of the record industry.

An act signed to a major label today, directly or indirectly, when it comes to the music, is a product, a puppet whose sound and destiny is shaped by the 'suits'.

Not so in the days of Dusty and others who were exceptional talents, allowed to explore music and their creative potential. (And, these acts were regularly robbed by their managers and labels+ - but, that's a different issue.)

Today, you have acts being billed as the "new Dusty" etc. - and it's marketing hype. Mimics abound. Truly original voices like Dusty are not allowed to be themselves in the mainstream.

Fortunately, the industry no longer controls how and where we hear music - so, welcome to an age of great voices that are free, and soon to be reaching thee and me.

Fun ahead!!

musicobsessive said...

That's very interesting. And from the horse's mouth too!
It just makes you realize how 'free' the sixties were in that artists were 'allowed' to sing live on TV. Pete Waterman once said that he would never allow any of his acts to sing live (presumably it would undermine his studio expertise!)

Perplexio said...

There's a time and place for politics in music. There are the musicians who take themselves and their politics far too seriously (Bruce Springsteen, Rage Against the Machine, John Cougar Mellencamp, etc. etc.) and then there are those who know how to have fun with their music-- Def Leppard, The Monkees, KISS, etc. etc.

musicobsessive said...

I agree. I'm not too averse to politics - only those people that blame me personally! I'm much more receptive to those who put their case and then leave me to make up my own mind. Hey, I'm a reasonable guy!