16 February 2005

Then, near the end, We raise the key from A to B

So much new music and so many new ideas:

[ via Best postmodern pop song evah. (The Rambler) -> Seriously? (clap clap) -> Stop whatever you are doing and read this (POPJUSTICE ) ]

Watch this childishly venomous video mocking electronic pop by PAY TV (another subversive version of art movement culture I had recently talked about). They're apparently a bunch of Swedish troublemakers (miscreants, they are) who have been making electronic music for public competition that both mocks and excells at the style. POPJUSTICE makes the point eloquently:

If it had represented Sweden at Eurovision it might have been the most subversive pop moment of the 21st Century; as it is, let's just be happy that the song exists at all.

(The Eurovision Song Contest is the watered-down hopelessness of The Grammys gone amok.)

The obviousness(ness) is that mocking obvious hackery is too simple. Yeah, but when the likes of The Yes Men [Wikipedia] can slip into an international conference and mock them, the sheer achievement becomes part of the art. You thought it'd be easy to mock, but, as David Foster Wallace had pointed out, a culture of the ironic has inoculated itself from all criticism--how then do you ever attack it? To summarize: How do we know that a concept is flawed unless we publicly criticize it? We can't rely on a tacit understanding of flaw, because an affectation of irony makes people think it's too insignificant to criticize.

Is mockability a measure of flawed content? If something is "too easy to mock," does the absence of ridicule provide the appearance of validity?

Which gets me to a concept I acquired from the book The Classical Style [Amazon] by Charles Rosen: certain artistic styles hold within themselves different limitations. A more limiting style will be less expressive than a less limiting style. The problem is to define what "limiting" means. The book was expansive and studied and certainly beyond me, but the concept resonated with what I had already believed from my own experiences. So, some styles are flawed to begin with.

Finally, The Rambler referenced this as postmodern pop. I've seen this term relatively recently in reference to Beck and, my newfavoriteband, The Fiery Furnaces. The Pay TV piece seems more of a satire. I'll fall back on Rhapsody's definition--although it's got problems, I haven't found another good source:

Post-Modern Pop alternately mocks and celebrates trashy culture -- sometimes at the same time -- through a hodgepodge of sampling and genre-bending. Beck, Post-Modern Pop's point man, crystallized the genre's junkyard vision by blending nearly every imaginable musical style -- from folk to hip-hop to Indie Rock -- on his groundbreaking mid-1990s albums Mellow Gold and Odelay. L.A. production duo the Dust Brothers have played a significant role in forming Post- Modern Pop's eclectic sound, producing Odelay as well as the Beastie Boys' cult favorite Paul's Boutique plus several tracks on I Become Small and Go, the sleeper debut of Bay Area band Creeper Lagoon. Post-Modern Pop's success rests in its ability to tap into an overwhelming variety of stylistic sources to assemble hazy yet gripping amalgamations of sound that somehow reflect the essence of pop culture.

From this, and from what I've listened to, I don't think that the intent is satire.

[ posted by sstrader on 16 February 2005 at 9:56:52 PM in Music | tagged david foster wallace ]