Elvis Presley

The Death of Music

Sell-out… Goulding’s earlier work is far more credible.

What is currently number-one in the UK? Ellie Goulding’s ‘Burn’. A dance-pop song that many will struggle to remember in a few years time. It’s not the same as the number ones of twenty or even ten years ago that are remembered now and identifiable after the first note is aired. No, now it will take a good 60 seconds of murmuring until you reach the chorus before you can be sure it’s ‘that song’ by ‘oh, what’s her name’.

It seems reaching the summit of any of the world’s major music charts has become easier and easier year on year, with that all too familiar formulaic drivel soaring to the top. And here is my handy guide on how to reach the top of any chart;

  • Make sure your song is of the ‘dance-pop’ genre.
  • Sing about the events of partying, drinking and/or having sex with strangers.
  • You must spend at least 30 seconds of the song making a generic noise such as ‘woah’, ‘la’ or ‘eh’.

Machine… Seriously, this woman never stops.

If we’re being honest, few artists around today will stand alongside the likes of Elvis, Michael and the Beatles as legends in music folklore. Most popular artists are now merely corporate hit-making monsters. For instance, Rihanna, who seems to drop a new album every time I blink, has accumulated seven number-one hits. This places her above Queen, but ‘RiRi’ will never have the impact on music that Freddie Mercury’s posse did because a number-one was harder to attain in their day. Equally, 18 Months, the latest album by Calvin Harris holds the record for the most top 10 hits from a single album. It is still unknown to me why the likes of Calvin Harris and David Guetta deem themselves better than other music producers and therefore need top billing on their work but that’s another story. The point is, these artists are determined to reel off throwaway hit after throwaway hit for one purpose – money. Let’s look at some of the songs that have topped the charts that meet the above criteria let’s say two years ago; Roll Deep – Good Times, JLS – The Club is Alive, Ke$ha – We R Who We R, Jason Derulo – Don’t Wanna Go Home. I bet there’s not many people listening to these songs now except maybe if you go out to a club. It’s like Beyoncé said in this year’s  V Festival programme, “People don’t make albums anymore. They just try to sell a bunch of really quick singles. People don’t ever listen to a body of work anymore.”

Aware… Beyoncé acknowledges that albums are mostly redundant.

In honesty, it’s near impossible to argue with Mrs. Carter. If we’re talking music that will be remembered it is the creators of works such as Adele’s ’21’, Frank Ocean’s ‘Channel Orange’ and Taylor Swift’s ‘Fearless’ that will be remembered from this era of music not Iyaz’s Replay. Remember that? You should, it was number one worldwide just three years ago.

Still, the cogs of the corporate music machine keep turning without executives realising the biggest selling hits of the last few years haven’t necessarily been of the dance-pop genre and the best selling albums certainly haven’t been. With the likes of Eminem’s ‘Love The Way You Lie’ and Gotye’s ‘Somebody That I Used To Know’ topping end of year singles charts in recent years.

Unfortunately, the big wigs of music have cottoned on that making five or six throwaway hits that reach the top ten makes more money than one track of musical brilliance that reaches the summit – not that that’s really an honour anymore. Unfortunately, the fed up among us will have to wait patiently for this tedious trend of monotonous dance-pop to bow out. I for one, cannot pretend to like the same barely altered songs  every other week, any longer.

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Hidden Gems

You can find part two here; https://thechriswhitingshow.wordpress.com/2013/07/16/hidden-gems-2-2/

A lot of the time, my favourite songs slip under the radar and I’m absolutely bored today so I thought I’d make a blog post commending some of my favourites, that are unknown to most.

Marina & The Diamonds – Oh No!

I’m actually somewhat a fan of Marina & The Diamonds. It always strikes me that behind her catchy songs are some really depressing, emotional and at times wonderfully observant lyrics. The well-known hits, ‘Primadonna’ and ‘Hollywood’ deal with society’s obsession with fame but ‘Oh No!’ provides a much deeper social commentary. Like the others mentioned, the song itself is very catchy but conveys a deep meaning about her ruthless desire to succeed and escape from a monotonous life where ‘TV has taught her how to feel’.

Frank Ocean – Forrest Gump

Frank Ocean’s debut album Channel Orange received rave reviews when it was first released. I initially resisted the temptation to listen to it, given his rising popularity in the quite frankly pretentious hipster culture. However, after hearing one of its singles; ‘Lost’, I changed my mind. After listening, one track stood out among the rest. ‘Forrest Gump’ kicks in with an almost eerie organ that quickly turns in to a nostalgic summer synth masterpiece. As if the song itself wasn’t good enough, the honesty of the song’s lyrics about Ocean’s unrequited love for another male from his teenage years only adds to the song.

Hellogoodbye – Two Weeks in Hawaii

One-hit wonders with keyboards is probably the best way to describe quirky band, Hellogoodbye. Their hit ‘Here (In Your Arms)’ was big back in the summer of 2007, the subsequent album, ‘Zombies! Aliens! Vampires! Dinosaurs!’ however, was not… except in my house. My sister had gained an admiration for them over that summer leading to many plays of their LP. ‘Two Weeks in Hawaii’ and ‘Baby, it’s Fact’ are the only ones still on my iPod today. It’s hard to pinpoint just what is I like about this song but it has survived the test of time.

fun. – Walking the Dog

Now, I probably shouldn’t have even included this in my list because I could go on for hours praising this band. They’re a favourite of mine and I highly recommend every single song from the commercial successful ‘Some Nights’ and its superior predecessor, ‘Aim and Ignite’. ‘Walking the Dog’ simply got the nod because it’s the cream of the crop. Fun pride themselves on their unique pop and complex lyrics, something the non-album single, ‘Sight of the Sun’ is good for too.

The Neighbourhood – Sweater Weather

My Dad knows nothing about music but to credit him, he did bring this band to my attention. The song is instantly catchy and a classic juxtaposition in its construction. The music has a definite sombre feel, seemingly conflicting with the lyrics of adoration the singer has for his girlfriend. The rest of the songs on their EP, “I’m Sorry…” are basically average but in all honesty, ‘Sweater Weather’ could have topped the charts.

Maroon 5 – I Can’t Lie

Another of my favourite bands up next. I’ve always been a big fan of Maroon 5’s albums, particularly ‘Songs About Jane’ but this gem lies unnoticed on 2010’s ‘Hands All Over’. I hadn’t given the album much of a chance initially but during my American ventures last year, my iPod broke meaning I had to listen to my Dad’s. This album was one of the only bearable ones to choose from and this quickly stood out for me.

Little Comets – One Night In October

The inclusion of this song is again down to my sister’s influence. At some point, she made me listen to Little Comets and this insanely catchy song about a failing relationship was soon being played on a loop. The lyrics are less intellectual than some of the others in this list but the song is redeemed by the music itself. Other standout songs by the Little Comets include ‘Dancing Song’, ‘Adultery’ and ‘Isles’.

Alex Winston – Velvet Elvis

Most of you will recognise this from a Google Chrome advert or simply as the ‘Satchel song’. In reality, this track has nothing to do with either. The tune is chirpy and melodic, serving as a fascinating contrast to the sinister lyrics played over top. The single recounts a twisted love affair with a picture of Elvis Presley and her insistence that no one can come between them, not another woman, her father or a psychiatrist.