Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Pop Music

Just recently I got a bee in my bonnet.  This was prompted by something which I picked up when studying the story of the early days of Abba.
There is disposable, inane pop music, and then there is polished, exhilarating and life-affirming pop music. The Swedish foursome were consummate purveyors of music in the latter category. However, many of those who espoused the cause of "serious" music, both within Sweden and without, displayed a kind of sneering mockery and disdain. It seems that their primary objections were the commercial nature of the group's releases, which were considered the antithesis of what music should represent, and the absence of overt "political" content or social commentary. By all accounts, many of these observers cling to their outlook three or four decades on.
The last time I checked, nobody forces anybody, least of all the pundits, to listen to anything. In addition, it is not a pre-requisite of "worthy" music that it should advocate global revolution. Pop music for decades has helped to elevate, if intermittently, the lives of countless "ordinary" people above drudgery and the mundane, by creating escapism, and those special transcendent moments. Don't try to tell me that such things are devoid of meaning or value.  People who issue a blanket condemnation of "pop" music on spurious philosophical grounds probably need to get a life.  You never know, they might just smile or laugh occasionally as a result.
I love "serious" music (classical, prog-rock, singer-songwriters etc) as much as anyone, and my own political views have moved leftwards in recent times. However, I also know the thrill of listening to a beautifully crafted and thrilling pop record. It is possible to have a foot in both camps, without being some kind of reactionary traitor. Those who see everything in "political" terms reveal their insecurity. They bemoan "straight society", but who is really "uptight" and "repressed"?
Some people would do well to be honest with themselves, swallow their pride and forget their self-image for a few moments. Light relief might just do them some good....

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