“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.
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
- Uptown Funk – Chart Performance
- Performed with live band on Saturday Night Live
- The Wolf of Wall Street
- Spike Lee’s Malcolm X
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
- Steve Lambert and Josh Luke Improve Signs at Occupy Boston
- Steve Lambert helping make signs for the People’s Climate March and Taking Photos with the NYPD
- I Can’t Relax – early street painting by Steve Lambert
- Advertising Murals
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.”
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.
White 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