Nothing at all weird about appropriating a term for a shooting someone with a gun – potentially killing them – to your weird, vineyard-centric romantic conquest. Nothing weird about that at all. Oh, Train. There are so many things heinously wrong about you I don’t know where to start. So let’s start at the beginning.
I don’t know if anyone else ever does this, but whenever I trawl through the charts listening to the songs I’ve yet to hear anywhere else, I sometimes black out and wake up covered in blood. Usually this is because I listen to a song whose success is so bewildering to me that I can’t help but murder people, maybe. One such song was ‘Call Me Maybe’ by Carly Rae Jepsen, who like, how is she NOT just Taylor Swift 2.0? With a name like that? It’s like she’s the sweet, innocent 16 year old that gets put through the first few rounds of American Idol auditions just because the judges can’t bear to make her cry on national television, because how can Jennifer Lopez harvest her tears to bathe in then?
The most alarming thing about this song, though, is that it’s a hit. But it sounds like a hit from 10 years ago. This is like, the 2012 version of Mandy Moore’s ‘Candy’.
So it’s come to this: boy band revivalism.
Pretty much everything nowadays is about revivalism. Countless 80s films being remade, this mid-90s-esque obsession with club-oriented pop songs, everything Madonna did being copied by every pop star ad infinitum…the list goes on. Now, admittedly, the strength of this particular wave is not yet known. It’s been about 15 years since boy bands peaked, and 10 since they subsequently flamed out (obviously I’m speaking about the iteration of boy bands most relevant to pop music now, and therefore not including the early ‘boy bands’ such as The Beatles, The Monkees, The Jackson 5, etc.). Collectively, there are some fantastic pop songs between the likes of The Backstreet Boys, *NSYNC, New Kids On The Block, Boyz II Men, and so on. But do we really need the trend to roll around again?
I have a theory. I don’t expect it to be a popular one, but here goes anyway: Justin Bieber is the male Lady Gaga.
BEAR WITH ME.
Now, I don’t mean in a musical sense, or (somewhat disappointingly) in terms of fashion either, no matter how much I’d like to see Bieber wearing a giant lit cigarette on his head at his next concert, or shoes that meet regulatory standards for the butchering of cattle, or just dousing himself in pig’s blood and running around screaming, “SISSY SPACEK! SISSY SPACEK! SISSY SPACEK!” as I’m sure Lady Gaga will have to do at some point because ideas are finite.
You know, I’m all for nostalgia, but songs that remind me of 2007 are just a bit much. All the pop stars sound of the same ilk, because they’re all making the same kind of music that’s the ‘in’ thing right now. These kinds of pop rock bands are different, however. Where that Maroon 5 song has succeeded, Hot Chelle Rae fails. In fact, they pretty much set themselves up to fail when they chose that heinous name.
The song, Tonight Tonight, peaked at 7 on the Billboard charts, and currently sits at 11 in Australia after peaking at 7 here too. The band’s Wikipedia page informs me that their long, illustrious career has spanned from 2005 to now, which is remarkable, because they all look like they’re 17 years old. It also informs me that they have such creative talent that they came up with their horrid name like thus:
Hot Chelle Rae began in 2005, with a meeting between singer-songwriter Ryan (RK) and guitarist Nash. The band is named for the first “dedicated” fan, Chelle Rae, a MySpace stalker who provided the band with quite an entertaining era of online activity until her false identity was discovered and brought to light.
Frankly, I would never have fallen for such a ruse because I flatly refuse to believe anyone on this planet is named Chelle Rae, or at least, that anyone named that is even remotely attractive.
It’s actually moderately surprising it has taken me this long to get to Ke$ha since she would appear to be the nadir of the sluttiness in pop I’ve talked so much about, but NOT SO. Read on, fair reader.
For the record, I will henceforth simply type Kesha, because she is really not worth the effort it takes to type any symbol of a currency. When she popped up as a solo artist in 2009 with ‘Tik Tok’, it immediately became an absolute smash, and really stepped into a mostly unfilled void (which she herself rarely has) in the pop music world. Sure, we’re used to hypersexual pop stars by now, and pop stars that love to party, BUT: was the world quite ready for trashbag-pop?