Friday, May 7, 2010

Music Part 2: Pop Music: Part 1 (Jayzus)


Yeah, that's right, today I am going to talk about this girl band.

I bet that is something of a surprise, right? Yeah, I'm sitting here and they are on the TV behind me. It's pleasant to look at, but the music is outta place in this house. It'd be more suited to a dance club I think and admittedly, after one too many drinks, I'd probably be likely to attempt to dance to it.

For shame! But come on, anyone would!

But yes, that is not why I want to talk about them to be honest.

Are they a "band"? What constitutes a band? Are they a group?

In the dictionary definition, a collective of people can be known as a band, a group, a family etc etc. It's technically not wrong to refer a "group" of people as any of these so long as they meet certain criteria. In fact it's not wrong to refer to a group of non-blood associates as "family" either. Hell, if Charles Manson can do it, anyone can.

So, first of all, are Sugababes a pop "group" or a "band"? Does a band have to play instruments or do they just have to write songs? Do they have to do either as a requirement? Do they have to look a certain way? Do they have to be consistent as a group? Does any group or band have to fit these criteria? I doubt it. I mean who makes up these rules anyway?

So apparently when last this band made the headlines, they were locked in a legal dispute with three former members of the band. And as the band number three in total, that means that the current line-up has none of the original members. So, do the present three members have the right to use the name Sugababes?

Frankly, I would think it much more unusual if David Bowie quit music and someone else sttarted calling himself David Bowie and started touring with his songs. If David Bowie instead publicly made people aware that this new star had full permission to tour and record his songs that he wrote, that would be another thing. But the new star probably couldn't call himself David Bowie. It would be something stupid like "The Continued David Bowie Experience" or something equally naff like that. The Sugababes on the other hand do not write their own songs, they are just performers. If the original song writers (who arguably, male or female should be the real Sugababes) agree that three new performers can masquerade the songs as their own, then they should rightfully be allowed the name "Sugababes".

So, are a performance group better referred by their writing prowess or by their stage presence? Can a group of singers be called a group or a band even if they only sing other artist or writers songs to a backing track? I hear some of my holier than thou rock advocates saying that no, a group like this does not qualify as a "band". But I must also remind you of the uses of the word band in dictionary terms. Actually no, how about practical terms? Band of Brothers? Band of Mexican Banditos? Band of Villains? I'm pretty sure that the term "band" was useful before rock 'n' roll was invented. So I guess the Sugababes and every other vocal and acapella group is entitled to the term "band" as any rock outfit. That's just the way it is, if you wanna be literal about it.

But as far as Sugababes go, it's not so controversial that they want to continue being known by that name. I mean it's only partly their choice anyway. I would say these girls are as much about what they get to wear and how they get to look as well as the performances themselves, rather than any hardcore writing they could be known for. I'm pretty sure that if I looked, I'd find they don't write any of their own songs. So if there are other's writing their songs, I'm pretty sure they want whoever is performing them to be well known as they can reap the royalties. This is the business. If a song writer decides to sell his music to the pop industry for use by the popular music mill in order to make his or her money, then that is their prerogative. It is up to the fan/consumer to decide whether the music is good enough to buy or ignore on principle.

It doesn't matter if the performance artist is sincere or not,it matters whether or not the writer of the piece is. It is also up to the listener to decide. Music can be deep, it can be shallow and it can be happy or sad or a number of other emotions, but it should never stop being fun and interesting.

Band, group, collective, family, troupe -whatever- are an unnecessary descriptive words to pay attention to anyway in the grand scheme of things.

At least that Sugababes lot are still decent to look at anyway :P

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