January 28, 2013

A break in the clouds of pop music dreariness?

Starbucks has been playing this song for the past week or so, the bassline is so funky and groovy that I can't help but drum my fingers along to it. It's got that mellow disco-sounding guitar, too, at first you'd think they were playing something new wave or pop-in-the-wake-of-disco. However, the lyrics and emotional delivery are part of the whole "Girl, you so fine" ass-kissing genre that you know it must be from the 21st century.

So I tracked down the song based on the repetitive chorus, and it turns out it's by... Bruno Mars. Everything else I've heard by him has been forgettable, but I do keep an open mind. It's just by now I'm used to everything sucking so hard. Occasionally, though, a decent song squeaks through. "Treasure" gets this cranky old man's non-ironic stamp of approval.

Not surprisingly it wasn't released as the lead single (the album came out last December). It'll be a real test of audience coolness if they release it at all and it becomes a club hit -- it's not the kind of beat that an attention whore can shake her ass to while standing still. You actually have to move your legs and body around, and it's too upbeat to dance alone to. I'm guessing it's ahead of its time, although in a few years young people may not be quite so awkward around each other, and this kind of song will catch on.

It feels more and more like we're heading into the mid-'50s phase of our neo-mid-century zeitgeist. So, pop music probably won't sound as bad as it has for the past 20 years. A little bubble-gummy, timid, and probably won't survive whatever comes after it when the neo-Sixties arrives. Still, it's cheerful and infectiously danceable, which is a welcome change.

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