“People in the art world, in general, are afraid of popular… it’s the fear that if you like what everyone else likes, then you’re no different than them, you might just be like them. And people are quite frightened of that.” – Brian Eno

This episode we had author, philosopher, and punk rock drummer Max Trembley tour us through hit songs on the Billboard Hot 100.

Show Notes

The Pernicious Rise of Poptimism – The New York Times – “Should gainfully employed adults whose job is to listen to music thoughtfully really agree so regularly with the taste of 13-year-olds?”

Icona Pop – I Love It – What Steve remembered as the “I don’t care” song.

How the Hot 100 works “This week’s most popular songs across all genres, ranked by radio airplay audience impressions as measured by Nielsen Music, sales data as compiled by Nielsen Music and streaming activity data provided by online music sources.””

Song 1 – Jon Ronson Featuring Bruno Mars Uptown Funk

Song 2 – Taylor Swift – Blank Space

Song 3 – Ed Sheeran – Thinking Out Loud

Song 4 – Hozier – Take Me to Church

  • Take Me to Church – Chart Performance
  • It’s Hozier, not Hoosier
  • “The video… follows two men in a same-sex relationship and the violently homophobic backlash that ensues when the community learns of one of the men’s sexuality. Hozier himself does not appear in the video. The song went viral following its release.” – wikipedia

Song 5 – Maroon 5 – Sugar

  • Adam Levine – “Since 2011, Levine has served as a coach on NBC’s reality talent show The Voice… As an entrepreneur, Levine launched his own eponymous fragrance line in 2013. The same year, he collaborated with Kmart and ShopYourWay.com to develop his menswear collection. He also owns a record label, 222 Records. In 2013, The Hollywood Reporter reported that “sources familiar with his many business dealings” estimated Levine would earn more than $35 million that year.”
  • Sugar (Maroon 5 song) – Charts
  • Video Staging Accusations “Several online magazines including Life & Style, Rolling Stone and Cosmopolitan reported that the video was allegedly staged and filmed over a course of three days on the same location. “
  • Maroon 5-Sugar 1 Hour Music
  • The Archies – Sugar, Sugar (Original 1969 Music Video)
  • Brian Eno Lecture on Pop Music (skip to about 37:15) “Gloss. Sheen. Finish… a lot of attention to a particular kind of sonic production. You know, the really perfect sounds on certain instruments… That’s one side.” He then goes on to compare the Velvet Underground with Abba.

Steve Lambert’s signs and graffiti that didn’t look like graffiti

Gran Fury

Gran Fury was the graphics wing of ACTUP and used advertising’s tropes and polish to communicate about the AIDS crisis.

James Brown – Say It Loud — I’m Black and I’m Proud

James Brown I’m Black and I’m Proud on Wikipedia – “In the song, Brown addresses the prejudice towards blacks in America, and the need for black empowerment. He proclaims that “we demands a chance to do things for ourself/we’re tired of beating our head against the wall/and workin’ for someone else”. The song’s call-and-response chorus is performed by a group of young children, who respond to Brown’s command of “Say it loud” with “I’m black and I’m proud!” The song was recorded in a Los Angeles area suburb with about 30 young people from the Watts and Compton areas.”

Maxwell Tremblay

Maxwell Tremblay Max Tremblay

Max is a doctoral student in Philosophy at the New School for Social Research. He is the co-editor of White Riot: Punk Rock and the Politics of Race and plays drums in the band Sleepies.

@maxwelltremblay on Twitter
@sleepiesbk on Twitter
Sleepies on Bandcamp

White Riot Punk Rock and RaceWhite Riot: Punk Rock and the Politics of Race – Edited by Stephen Duncombe and Maxwell Tremblay.Foreword by James Spooner

The ultimate collection on punk and race, from the Clash to Los Crudos.

From the Clash to Los Crudos, skinheads to afro-punks, the punk rock movement has been obsessed by race. And yet the connections have never been traced in a comprehensive way. White Riot is the definitive study of the subject, collecting first-person writing, lyrics, letters to zines, and analyses of punk history from across the globe.

Music: The Reigning Sound, “Stick Up for Me” courtesy of the Free Music Archive

The Pop Culture Salvage Expeditions on iTunes

More on the Center for Artistic Activism at artisticactivism.org, Stephen Duncombe at stephenduncombe.com, Patricia Jerido on Twitter, and Steve Lambert at visitsteve.com