It's Pop Goes The Friday, the day reserved for me to talk about my favorite subject - pop culture!
Ever since I was a teenager, I have had a love affair with bubblegum music. Back in high school, when everyone else was discovering Queen, Bowie, and Led Zeppelin, I had my dial set to the local AM station that played sunny beach music and one-hit wonders like The Night Chicago Died - "Nanananananana." I was young for my age, and a bit naive (I thought Happy Days was a documentary) so the songs did not need to be deep. I was also awkward and shy with the opposite sex, so innocent tunes with delicate lyrics about true love were my comfort zone. Though my taste in music has grown, I still have a soft spot for pop and regularly set my radio on the local FM Hot 100 station. Believe it or not, there is some good stuff out there. However, there's a part of me that hears the music through the ears of that 15-year-old girl holed up in her bedroom playing and replaying her Carpenters' albums. For her sake, I have a little something to say to a few of the top artists this week.
Let me start with Bruno Mars. Talk about a magnet for tween girl crushing! Had his song, "If I Were Your Man" been out when I was in high school, I know my girlfriends and I would have driven our cars up and down our small town streets belting out the lyrics between group-hysteria-induced tears wishing that some boy, somewhere, were singing that song to us. Then, Bruno followed that up with his latest radio hit, Gorilla, a song with the lyric, "You and me, baby, making love like gorillas." Gorillas, Bruno? Good God, man, have you ever been to a zoo? If you want to be turned off to sex for life, just spend time in the Ape House. Listen, shorty. If your ego demands that you write about your liquor-and-cocaine fueled trysts with your dirty little lovers, might I suggest keeping a personal journal? I do not need to hear about you yanking some poor girl's hair while I'm trying to maneuver traffic on I-75. Keep it to yourself, bub.
Moving on, I need to have a real conversation with Mr. Robin Thicke. Blurred Lines was, without a doubt, the pop hit of the summer. I liked it! It was catchy, you could dance to it, there was an element of fun (Mary Poppins Seal of Approval right there!) Then, the damned feminists stepped in and made me listen to the lyrics. From that point on, I kept waiting for a Million Dad March to rid the world of lecherous sleaze bags who convince young things that, to quote Mr. Thicke-in-the-skull, "You know you want it." By the way, faux frat boy, is there anything blurred about this?
Katy Perry, bless her tone-deaf little heart, saves the day with her mega-hit Roar. She might not be the best singer, but she's so brimming with gosh-golly girl-power! So much girl-power, in fact, that she's capable of shooting fireworks from her bra! Still, Katy never plays the victim in her songs and does not allow her listeners to do so, either. By the time she sings, "roar...Roar....ROAR....ROAR! I'VE GOT THE EYE OF THE TIGER..." I'm ready to run up the stairs of the Philadelphia Art Museum before pounding frozen cow cadavers in a meat locker. Katy, the 15-year-old girl in me thanks you.
This piece would not be complete without a discussion of Miley. The only thing I have to say to Ms. Cyrus is that Wrecking Ball is one of the best pop songs on the air right now. Miley, like Katy, is not known for her vocal capabilities nor for her song-writing skills (unlike Katy, her songs are written for her.) But, Miley truly owns this song. If she can continue to choose songs that allow her to make such a powerful emotional connection, she might not need attention-getting stunts. Girl, if you want to swing around buck-naked with your tongue hanging to your chin, that's your prerogative.You are young, and young people love to shock and experiment and assume they invented it all. I just hope someone looking out for your best interests makes sure you know that's not what defines you. Maybe you should have a chat with Katy Perry. Maybe it's your time to roar to your audience rather than purr for record execs.
Now, where did I put that Carpenters' album?