Fuck off. Fuck off Ryan Adams and your asthmatic wanky Brooklyn café muzak. Fuck off a dozen high-end music critics who call heavy metal ‘raucus’ and snub pop music out of misguided religious fervour. Taylor Swift is a problematic artist, she seems to have been cooked up in petri dishes in a government lab to somehow quash every possible complaint. Her peppy self-aware pop is simultaneously cerebral and dashboard-tapping catchy, she’s attractive and skinny enough to satisfy the complaints of people who work in fashion (who are just keeping organs warm for nicer people) and seems to be a genuinely nice person on top of it all. Can’t say I’m addicted to 1989 as much as some people, but as pop goes it’s solid.
Ryan Adams on the other hand has made a career out of swaggering nonenties with no ability to discern good music from warbling meaningless twaddle; the kind of straight-suit non-nonsense scum who continue to give careers Chris Martin and Bono. The real perpetrators here though are the critics, proclaiming that Adams has ‘found’ good songs in Swift’s work; in that faux-sincere patronising praise heavily qualified; where pop music is inherently valueless. These are people who praise textureless singer-songwriter guff while proclaiming rich, engaging Sunn O))) is ‘too bleak’.
Pop music is energetic, at its best it’s deep and profound too. Like all pop culture, ‘real’ musicians could do well to listen to Taylor Swift instead of trying to reflexively ‘improve’ on her; the way writers of ‘literature’ (read: Unreadable wank) could do well to drink in some Dean Koontz to learn about readability. When I was at university and took a class on pop music, one exercise involved playing an excerpt of music to the class and discussing it. I was appalled by more than half the class picking faux-sincere tragic indiewank from adverts (incidentally, I picked Reincarnation by the Pretty Things, because it’s what I wanted to think about that day.) Like Adele and Sam Smith, there appears to be a market for people who don’t like music but who want to seem profound because they think they can’t fuck to hip hop (you can). Don’t condescend to pop, and please stop buying whiny meaningless indie rubbish that sounds like the kind of thing a cabbie would listen to while burning photo albums in a layby.
All that being said, if Primitive Man want to do an entire album of Meghan Trainor covers I'd totally be nice about it.
Written under duress by Steven. Act now and you too could regret following me on twitter.