May 08, 2004

I agree with what eppy says here about Eamon - great single, f'sure - but as per my Abba post, I disagree that pop is essentially adolescent. Off the top of my head, I can think of four counter-examples that disprove this claim: Abba, of course, Roxy, Kate Bush and Fleetwood Mac. Pretty powerful counter-examples.

Posted by mark at May 8, 2004 06:08 PM | TrackBack

The Pet Shop Boys? Their latter stuff is a bit hit-and-miss but there's a raft of songs which deal with and are written from the perspective of adulthood.

Posted by: Tom at May 10, 2004 09:38 AM

perhaps Eppy would say it's all to do with the 'typologies of pop' etc. and he's thinking of the germination of yoof culture/rock'n'roll yadda yadda.

the adolescent impulse blah blah.

needless to say your examples are grate.

Posted by: scott at May 10, 2004 02:33 PM

PSBoys another good example, yeh...And wasn't so hit and miss back in the day...

Posted by: Mark k-p at May 10, 2004 03:11 PM

Yeah, by 'latter' I mean '96 on really, so that's a ten year great run - and there's plenty to enjoy in the late stuff.

Posted by: at May 10, 2004 03:14 PM

Kate Bush isn't adolescent?!?!?! Which adolescent teenage girls are you hanging out with? Cause I knew a few that were pretty much li'l Kate Bushes. They then went on to be English majors at liberal arts colleges. But they were pretty much Kate Bush to the nines.

Anyway, we can quibble about examples, but maybe a clarification will help: I wasn't saying pop was essentially adolescent so much as that its juvenility is what differentiates it from other styles/genres--that willingness to go for the pleasure button over and over again, even when it gets annoying or easy. It's not literally teenage so much as it appeals to the adolescent bit that lingers in, I think, all of us to some degree. That's why _Liz Phair_ is a pop album: it's made by an older woman and focusing, mainly, on the specifically adolescent parts of her life at that moment. Not on the breakup, but on the sexual tension.

That said: I certainly think Roxy Music is at least partially adolescent (image-wise), as is Abba (musically), and Fleetwood Mac's legend was basically a big ol' teen soap opera. But I also think that bringing out the mature aspects of it is important and useful, and that Abba post is indeed great. What makes pop interesting is less the pop and more what you mix with it.

Posted by: Eppy at May 10, 2004 05:24 PM

'that willingness to go for the pleasure button over and over again'

you certainly don't get that just in pop, to be fair.

sexual tension as specifically adolescent is that?

Posted by: scott at May 10, 2004 06:16 PM

I wonder how much of a defining force a song's "age" plays, and/or if it purely resides in the youth or otherwise of the performers - eg. do The Corrs make "Dreams" younger, does it make them older, or are both sides left unchanged?

A more extreme example: imagine if it was Hillary Duff who sang "Dreams". (not so odd a thought - "Come Clean" is very Fleetwood Mac!)

Posted by: Tim Finney at May 11, 2004 02:38 AM

it's me being stoopid but i'm confused by Eppy's 1st para. here.

isn't this just sort of the same as me saying some young postgraduate literature friends of mine are young Harold Blooms, for instance?

so i'm not sure that sort of point negates the force of Kate Bush as a counter-example in this ref.
there again, i do think Kate Bush is kinda adolescent-friendly par excellence (but that's nothing to do with lil' Kate Bushes on liberal arts campuses, i stress).

Posted by: scott at May 11, 2004 02:04 PM

I'm saying that for every 100 high school students, 1 will be Kate Bushy.

But to be more clear: Kate Bush presents an adolescent conception of maturity.

Posted by: Eppy at May 14, 2004 02:03 PM

hmm i dunno man.

Posted by: scott at June 18, 2004 03:37 PM