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.
Katy Perry: from bland, to bland girl trying super hard to fit in and be cool.
Contained herein are images of a Tumblr post that’s currently circulating with about 20,000 notes on it (warning: open that page and music will play). Here is my response:
I’ve never made it a secret that I’m no fan of Rihanna’s. She’s just Caribbean Katy Perry, except with more abuse and probably less role-modelling, somehow. ‘Cheers (Drink to That)’ is her seventh (!) single from her last album, Loud, proving that the album is not dead, it has simply been reborn as a collection of songs that will all eventually be released as singles for the sake of shameless money-grabbing.
Presently sitting at number 2 on Billboard and ARIA charts (after previously hitting #1 on the Billboard), Moves Like Jagger is the quadrennial reminder that yes, Maroon 5 do exist. And they make music still! How cute! It also has Christina Aguilera in it, presumably a pairing borne of Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine and Christina Aguilera working together on US talent search The Voice. So naturally, after spending so much time searching for said Voice, Levine has returned his band to success after – IF NO ONE ELSE WILL SAY IT, I GUESS I’LL HAVE TO – a bit of a SLUMP, quite frankly. For shame, Maroon 5. For. Shame.
Let’s cut the bullshit, friends. When I or you or anyone says ‘pop’ we are referring to an incredibly broad genre. Have you ever thought that The Beatles – pre-eminent pop band of the world ever – are a pop band? And that Ke$ha is a pop artist? And therefore the two occupy the same segmented space in the music landscape? It’s a scary thought (the amount of glitter Ke$ha wears would’ve made the Fab Four trip balls).
So this is a thing I might start doing fairly regularly of songs I love/am loving which slot easily into the pop spectrum (there’s a euphemism here, I know it!). The first artist I want to feature is St. Vincent – the moniker of multi-instrumentalist Annie Clark. Clark is one of those people who really thinks about her music, really crafts it. There’s always a theme at work and everything is meticulously done. Also, her songs reflect on herself, as she reflects on her songs.