Thursday Three: Music Edition


Everyone and their mother is covering this song.

I’ve come to realize that the subject of music is a lot like politics and religion: You shouldn’t bring it up unless you’re willing to open yourself up to a LOT of judgment. And since I judge people a lot, I should be willing to take as much as I can dish, right? So let’s just go ahead and get this out of the way now.

1. I like pop music.

There, I said it. Go ahead, crucify me if you care to, but “pop” is short for “popular.” And I like to listen to popular stuff because it appeals to the lowest common denominator. It’s meant to engage everyone, from little children who don’t know any better to adults who should. And yeah, I get pop music is rarely substantive in any way since most of it is just talking about the shit that goes down in the club.

HOWEVER, art at any given period is a window into the culture. For example, the conservative music of the Classical period (I’m talking about the period between 1750 and 1830) shows the mindset of the people at the time, which was restraint. When you analyze Classical music, there’s an emphasis on order and hierarchy. Between 1750 and 1830, social norms were such that adhered strictly to a moral code based on order and hierarchy, ergo the music reflected that.

So what does pop music say about our culture today? Obviously that we are a people that like to get drunk and have sex with randoms simply cuz they gots swag. And hey, if that floats your boat, then that’s cool. (In this case) I’m not judging. As long as the music has a catchy hook, then keep doing what you do.

2. There are some Glee covers that are better than the originals and some Glee covers that suck.

Another controversial one. Look, I heart Glee like there’s no tomorrow, and I own every album released so far. Usually, there are some songs that are just so much better than the originals. For example:

  • “I Feel Pretty/Unpretty:” mashup of “Unpretty” by TLC and “I Feel Pretty” from West Side Story
  • “She’s Not There” by The Zombies
  • “Blame It (on the Alcohol)” by Jaime Foxx
  • “Teenage Dream” by Katy Perry

Don’t get me wrong. These covers aren’t better because the cast isn’t more talented, but  mostly because of higher production quality/auto-tune. In the case of “Teenage Dream” however, the cover was incredibly well arranged, and Katy Perry just can’t compare to an a capella group with actual talent. But in the same vein, there are some Glee covers that suck. For example:

  • “Forget You” by Cee-Lo Green
  • “The Only Exception” by Paramore
  • “I’ve Had the Time of My Life” by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes
  • “Empire State of Mind” by Jay-Z ft. Alicia Keys

The reason these mostly suck is because the originals were JUST TOO GOOD to begin with. In the case of “Forget You,” Gwyneth Paltrow just can’t/shouldn’t EVER sing. And I mean ever. Never ever ever ever. Additionally, you can’t cover a rap song with kids who can’t rap. You just can’t. You’ll kill the song faster than the audience can kill itself. At least give the audience a head start.

3. I don’t get why the Internet hates Nickelback.

I really don’t. I’ve tried. I’ve tried to make myself hate them, but I can’t.

The thing is, yeah, I understand that their songs can sometimes be really contrived, and sometimes they try too hard. And yeah, I get that sometimes Chad Kroeger’s voice can grate on someone’s nerves like stale parmesan. And okay, I get that they use the same three chords in every one of their songs.

But let’s face it: Not all of their songs are crap. Like “Photograph.” That was the soundtrack to my senior year of high school. “How You Remind Me” was the anthem of my formative years. And there was that one song about road head that made me giggle every time I heard it because it was just so ridiculous.

I guess I like that about Nickelback. While also being relatable, they can also be ridiculous and kind of over the top. I don’t mind it so much.

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