Monday, October 23, 2006

Pop Matters

Google image search of "Pop Matters" brings up Cat Power, a la Amorica

Lily Allen - "LDN" (mp3)
(purchase here)

Electric Light Orchestra - "Telephone Line" (Instrumental) (mp3)
(purchase here)

I meant to put together this "Beantown Week" post last weekend when I was actually up there. But I didn't, so here it is.

Instead of doing some recap of Boston's greatest hits -- Aerosmith head tales; Ed O.G. homages; NKOTB stalker reports -- I wanted to try something different: musical responses to the city. No, I'm not going to break into song & dance (or will I? we'll get to that in a minute), but I'll share some jawns that matched my impression of the city.

First, a little background: in spite of being an American history "major," my grasp of the Colonial Era and all things New England is shakey, at best. Which worked in my favor because I don't feel like my expectations were either unreasonable or underestimable. Frankly, I responded to the town mostly through the weather (fuck your yawning ~ I'll talk about music in a minute), which was nice, and the scenery, which was autumnal.

Appropriately, the ride up and down were soundtracked by a pair of pop rocks, new and older: Lily Allen and ELO. I don't need to add to the abundance of Lily Allen attention, so I'll just make a few observations: this year's Annie; which means she'll likely have to work on her live game; which is a shame because dropping the beat on "LDN" can be Massv (can't you imagine Kay Slay berating the crowd and rewinding this beat? "Don't this shit make you wanna...").

Granted, I didn't spend much time strolling through the city city, but any urbanite (and suburbanite these days) can relate to the all-that-glitter's-not-gold sentiment. But, once again, it's all in the packaging:

While the kids of today gaggle over this year's model, they're also getting hired with the help of last generation's models. On that note, did you ever notice how ELO was like the Coldplay of its time? Consider this: if Radiohead begat Coldplay, a band that took a fraction (at least the most marketable bit) of another band's genius and multiplied it to the Nth commercial potential, then the Beatles begat ELO (and Bad Company, Supertramp, etc.). Which isn't saying much for the things-ain't-what-they-used-to-be naysayers, but, whatever: we'll save the "How Bad is Coldplay?" debate for another day, because a sizeable chunk of ELO's catalog is laughably bloated.

That said, "Telephone Line" consistently hits the spot for me. From the twinkle twinkle that brings in Jeff Lynne's tortured McCartney-isms to the weepy string arrangement, this is perfect speed-/sing-along music. Hence, the instro to get your karaoke on.

Tomorrow's installment:
Bahs-tahn hip-hop (you know me) and (one of) the best albums of 2006.


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