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MartyDigs: Summer Pop Music

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Everyday I’m shufflin’, and chasin’ around a blond blur known as my son Jack. And everyday I’m stressin’ about my bank account and bills, and prayin’ my car makes it to whatever destination I need to get to. Every night I’m averagin’ about 4 hours of choppy sleep courtesy of Jack. And every weekend down the shore I’m listenin’ to commercial radio loaded with pop music. Guess what? I’m startin’ to dig it. At first, I chalked it up to my unhealthy lack of sleep and maddening descent into domestication. But I am realizin’ that there are other factors involved.

This all started last summer- for the first time in years I was familiar with pop songs played relentlessly on the radio. Prior to that, I was blissfully ignorant to pop music thanks to my ipod and cd player in my car. But since my cd player died in my car, like everything else, I am forced to listen to the radio now. In the non-radio listening days, I had heard of Rihanna, but couldn’t tell you a single song she sung and am still confused whether you pronounce her name “Ree-anna” or “Ree-Hanna”. And don’t get me started on Wiz Khalifa (is that even in English) – because even young kids that I have asked aren’t sure how you pronounce his last name. On top of that, how much musical integrity can a guy have when his hit song is about Pittsburgh?    

I am hearing all these pop songs on the boardwalk, and at carnivals I take Jack to, and of course on the radio when I am down the shore. The station that is the culprit for all of this is 95.1 WAYV – their site doesn’t even bother to put a playlist because they really only play about six different songs, with an older pop song peppered in here and there. Sometimes, I am pretty sure they play the Bruno Mars “Lazy Song” a few times in a row and think people won’t notice. Additionally I was convinced that they played Ke$ha every other song, but I recently learned that “Last Friday Night” is by Katy Perry and not Ke$ha. One can certainly understood my confusion though, as the song is about getting wasted, handling male genitalia, breaking a good portion of the Ten Commandments, and being wildly irresponsible – basically the plot and bread and butter of every single Ke$ha song. But I have to admit, it’s a damn near perfect pop song with a video that features cameos by Kenny G, the band Hanson, Debbie Gibson, Corey Feldman, and the kid in the wheelchair from Glee. Oh, and this is the first video and time in public that Katy Perry hasn’t had her boobs prominently on display.

Speaking of Ke$ha, who is making my spell check furious at me. I am almost 100% that “she” is a dude. And the content of her songs are just one of ten million reasons I did cartwheels when I learned that I was going to have a son and not a daughter. Her songs are somehow catchy and annoying at the same time – and I am not sure if she is trying to rap, or if she is some kind of new wave spoken word artist. I am compassionate on the topic of censorship, but if I was a father of a girl, I would probably burn my daughter’s ipod if it had Ke$ha on it.   

Last night, I realized how overplayed these songs are, and how many times we are hearing them. I had Jason Derulo’s “Don’t Wanna Go Home” on. Jason Derulo makes some decent pop songs, but isn’t exactly the king of originality. The song samples Robin S’s early 90’s dance hit “Show Me Love” – an enormous guilty pleasure of mine in high school, and admittedly a great sample. But he also quotes lyrics from Lil’ Jon and the chorus is taken straight from Harry Belafonte’s immortal song “Day-O” (famous to my generation for its appearance in Beetlejuice). Anyway, I had the song on last night and turned it off midway through – as the song went silent I heard Jack chime in “daylight come and we don’t wanna go home”.  After I got done laughing, I asked Jack if he liked the song and he just nodded with a big dumb smile on his face.  

The jewel of this summer has to be LMFAO’s “Party Rock Anthem”. From the same band that brought us the song with the chorus “Shots!Shots!Shots!”, and feature members with the names Redfoo and SkyBlu. For my disgruntled and disillusioned musician friends out there wondering how they got famous so easy – it definitely helps when you are the son (Redfoo) and grandson (Skyblu) of Berry Gordy – the founder of the Motown label. Being related to Berry Gordy, one could probably record themselves taking a dump and get a record contract. Regardless, I think the song of one of the most fun songs I have ever heard. And as inappropriate and clearly embarrassing that it would be to me – an overweight, shaggy haired, 35 year old father – I would love to be able to completely “act a fool” to this song on a wedding or nightclub dance floor. For now, I restrict myself to Party Rock Anthem dance parties on my kitchen floor with Jack. The song is clearly ridiculous. Jack could have written the lyrics to this song. In fact, some of the songs he makes up about Thomas the Train, pirates, and SpongeBob, have better song structure, are more insightful, and use words that contain more than five letters. Sometimes I struggle writing this blog and coming up with things that will elicit a few cheap laughs. I am starting to realize that I should start writing pop songs. I have a few nights in college that I could write about that could even make Ke$ha blush.

As for other pop songs and artists out there  – there is a song by Selena Gomez called “Who Says” that I find strangely inspiring. I am familiar with Ms. Gomez because she is also a Disney channel actress and because of Jack the Disney channel is on 24/7 at home. I have zero problems with Justin Timberlake and Lady Gaga. Without embarrassment, I admit that both are on my ipod and I think they are both very talented. I like how “JTim” or whatever the hell kids call him, doesn’t seem to take himself too seriously and is actually one of the few funny things on Saturday Night Live when he is on it. (I’ve had the hardest time even using funny and Saturday Night in the same sentence since 1993)

My indie rock snob friends would shudder in their cutoff Dickies and Chuck Taylors if they knew of my love of current pop music. But indie rock is starting to bore me – nothing has really grabbed me lately and I am tired of internet blogs hyping a band seemingly before they even really form. And most bands coming out that I am “supposed to like” consist of a few pasty dudes who wear beards, glasses that make them look intellectual, and thrift store flannel shirts. And then wind up sounding just like the hyped up, blogged about, pasty looking band before them. My local alternative rock station, 104.5 isn’t any help either. I don’t know who does their music research, but they champion the worst bands. And lately they all even have the same sounding names – Cage The Elephant, Young The Giant, Company of Thieves, etc. They all suck and must have dads that work for Live Nation or whatever evil conglomerate owns 104.5 and tells them what to play. With all the blogs and internet buzz out there, they are missing out on a ton of solid bands and instead pushing these awful bands and worst of all Paramore on us. (To me, Paramore are the TMZ, New York Yankees, and Osama Bin Laden of music) I can’t complain though – I am just glad America got over its angry, smack down days of liking bands like Limp Bizkit, Korn, and other bands that intentionally misspelled their names.   

In all honesty though, I think my fondness and affinity to current pop music has to do with all the memories I am creating with Jack. As much as I have to deal with my sleepless nights, and Jack’s temper tantrums, mood swings, can’t stop/won’t stop activity, million questions a minute – I know I am going to look back on these days with an extreme fondness and long for the days I could take Jack to a carnival and watch him laugh uncontrollably on a ride, go on the Big Slide 15 times in a row, and splash through the surf on the beach. There is no doubt that in a few years I am going to miss these days so much. As much as I feel my life has been rushed through, I am trying to cherish every second of Jack’s childhood. And for me, music serves as a soundtrack for it. Twenty years down the line, when I hear something about a one hit wonder from 2011, it will conjure up happy images of building sand castles with Jack, playing with his toy trains, and helping him jump over waves in the ocean. And maybe by then, I will have finally learned how to properly “Dougie”.

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One Response to “MartyDigs: Summer Pop Music”

  1. knowledge of pop music can sometimes get you chicks not that I would know but….. I’m getting pretty decent at guitar and I’m starting to realize as much as I’m impressing myself its useless unless I learn Sweet Home Alabama gutiar licks

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