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Is Pop Music Eating Itself (and us in the process)?

By Patrick Henningsen
21st Century Wire
July 5, 2010

Lady Ga Ga is the latest in a line of style-driven pop personalities

Imagery has always played a key part in the content of pop with the high tech surveillance/shiny robotic comic book themes playing an ever increasing role in the music videos of Beyonce, Lady Ga Ga and many pop entertainers today. Las Vegas meets Disneyland. In the last two decades we have seen a whole generation of 100% style-driven, short-term marketing icons whose imagery now out lives the music itself.

Seductive and sexy, it’s a merger of popular culture desires and fears which converge on what some may argue is a well-crafted CGI pornographic genre targeting ever younger audiences(as well as overgrown children who reside in adult bodies), in some cases as young as 8 and 9 years old, boys and girls alike. It’s a neon arena where personality trumps character. This is a genre which sits well past the rock and roll revolution of the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s, a genre even MTV pioneer Andy Warhol could hardly imagine.

Hollywood and the Music and Fashion industries work hand in glove to create a theatre of high drama and emotive themes,  which in turn program the public to accept different ideas. The youth are the primary target here.

Question: Who chooses our Pop Icons?

Cultural commentator Alan Watt explains how Hollywood and the Music industry work hand in glove:

Will this all-encompassing commercial onslaught by pop moguls lead to the end of the innocence for our youth?

With the digital revolution upon us, a definite quickening has taken place, where the lines between age groups, morality and imagery have become so blurred and distorted that something like Cyndi Lauper, Thomas Dolby or Motley Crue in the 80’s- seen as edgy and genre-breaking rock/pop at the time 25 years ago, now looks as innocent as a Sesame Street block party.

You can make so many other comparisons right back to the Summer of Love or even with Elvis Presley, but few could foresee the cloud of corporate conditioning and social engineering we are witnessing today in the music industry and society. According to these pop markers, you could say that this is either a culture in rapid acceleration, or a culture in rapid decline. As to which one we think it is will depend largely on our idea of what constitutes social norms.

Artistic prophet Bob Marley’s song Babylon System as a reference point from where we might still backtrack from the current degenerate pop culture of Lady Ga Ga, Beyonce, Jay Z, Madonna and MTV – back to real progressive and insightful social commentary which was once broadcast by music icons of a bygone era.

After three decades since his passing, Bob Marley(below) still stokes the fires of enlightenment with music and lyrics that couldn’t be more relevant today…

Video: Bob Marley’s classic piece, “Babylon System”:

21st Century Wire Hollywood Files



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