While walking through a shop the other day, browsing electronics I cannot afford right now, A song caught my attention on the radio. It wasn't your typical pop drivel, there was something else that made this song significant and it got me to thinking. Before i go off and start telling you what i thought while the song was playing, it might help that i told you what the song actually was. The song was "Don't Stop Believin'" not by Journey, but by some girl who is obviously topping the charts with it right now. OK, so it might not be some girl... Manufactured pop music now seems to turn out guys that sound like girls all the time these days. There is no novelty in Androgynous pop stars any more, it seems to be standard. In the 80's we had Boy George and Marilyn, Dead or Alive and we even had groups where singers sounded female but actually weren't... I was convinced for years that there was a female singer in Sparks and that "Flash" by Queen was, in fact, sang by a woman. Now, before i digress off topic again, i just want to state for the record that Androgynous pop, rock, whatever is fine by me. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice? I probably deserve it.
I cannot say I was pleasantly surprised by the experience of hearing this song but rather i was just "surprised". It's not often that rock songs make it into the pop format, granted there has been Queen's "We Will Rock You", Joan Jett's "I love Rock 'n' Roll" and a few others that shall go nameless, only because they are so forgettable and that I'd rather not waste my or your time by recalling them. Also, i'd rather not fall to the ranks of the children, greedy pop executives and morons that demand this stuff be made to justify their manufacture in the first place. Furthermore, I cannot go as far as renouncing it either as I would be just the same as those that tried to "displace" pop over Christmas by voting Rage Against the Machine to number 1 over some X-Factor sludge that shouldn't have even been noticed by any self-respecting rock fans. Without going on about it, I'm sure some of you will be familiar with my opinion of this. Those that aren't can request a copy of that debate off me. Let's just say it wasn't popular. Not nearly as "pop" as Rage Against The Machine last Christmas anyway.
The Music industry has been in tatters since the 80's and don't get me wrong here, I don't say this in any Conservative manner as I intend to divulge to you progressively as you read on. In my humble opinion, nothing good or ground breaking has surfaced since that decade at all. I'm not the only one to notice this. Look around you. Ask around. Who remembers Bros with pride? Anyone want to pull out their East 17 posters? Do Teenage Mutant Hero Turtle fans remember the Turtle Rap? Acid house? Will you be re-buying your NAFF CO jackets? Maybe, OK, give or take 10 years or so. What are the chances of music taking a turn for the 90's again? Doubtful but not impossible. The 80's are everywhere. TV shows on DVD. 80's Fashion in every pub and club. Every Zara and Bershka. Every Topman and Topshop. Retro Gaming is on the rise again and 80's bands are reforming once more. I'm not crazy about the idea of old men rocking out in spandex any more than you are, but this is for real. We see old buzzards cashing in on their greatest hits almost weekly. I'm not innocent of the charge of paying to see them either. I paid €125, 2 years ago to see The Police in Croke Park. Why can't we have a nostalgia on 80's prices? We're even going nostalgic on 80's recession! But i have to say, the gig was phenomenal. Nostalgia sure is expensive. But i'm also a heavy advocate of "If it ain't broke, don't fix it". However, I'm led to question this loyalty in myself when i hear "Hurt" by Johnny Cash arguably one of the best cover versions ever made. Also, in my opinion, "Hallelujah" by Jeff Buckley and "The Man Who Sold The World" by Nirvana are my close seconds. Remember i said "Arguably" and "In my opinion" so no whining. So it's fair to say that a band or artist truly deserving of recognition can cover a song. Well actually anyone can. I certainly ain't gonna try stop you. Besides, it could be interesting. I'm an 80's fan, not an 80's Conservative.
Anyway, this song that i had heard that day was not the original, but a cover version and I wasn't really listening to it, i just kinda overheard it, spilling into my ears as I was lost in a chain of thought. The first thing that occurred to me or rather, that i remembered was a few nameless people on Facebook that were giving out about it. These guys and girls were typically rock fans and people i consider as friends (otherwise i wouldn't have them on my page. Bleh) These are the same people who say that pop music is ruining rock 'n' roll. I'd like to add at this point that there have been tons of rock versions of pop tunes... "Hit Me Baby One More Time", "Wild Boys", "Ant Music", "Poker Face" and "Smooth Criminal", just to name a few. It seems to me that said rock fans are OK with pop covers, but when it's the other way around they are up in arms about it. It's typical double standards. It is my contention that rock fans were usually the ones rebelling against things, being different, striving for change and standing against the status quo. Why has it become so uniform, inflexible and conservative? We are talking about the same people who wear black everyday, have long hair and leather trousers as standard and call themselves "non-conformist". Gimme a break. If you're gonna complain about something at least don't be a hypocrite to start off with. Yes, I did conform to these standards once and I'm no stranger to it but I grew up eventually. I think music has a much greater potential so long as it's allowed to be expressed freely. If you don't like it, change the channel. Rockers/Metallers, you may think you are non-conformist and are not Conservative but that's only true so long as you Don't Stop Believin' it.