Today’s post on Waiter Rant got me thinking about how I seem to have reached a turning point in my pop culture junkie life. Like many of you probably, when I was growing up I liked to think of myself as having a fairly sophisticated taste in music. I sought out bands that nobody had heard of, partially because I liked to find new music and partially because I wanted to know as much about music as My Friend and His Amazing New York Show*.
Yet, I still listened to the radio, and was still exposed to mainstream pop music. While I generally pooh-poohed much of the worst examples of musical drivel, I would typically find myself eventually turning on most of it. Secretly, I developed hidden enjoyment for hearing the latest one-hit wonder** and multi-platinum tabloid darling***. It’s not like I wanted this to happen, but since you hear the stuff so often eventually a hook or a beat catches on with you and next thing you know, you find yourself tapping your foot
If you’re lucky, eventually the song goes away and becomes a beloved piece of pop-kitch history****. If you’re unlucky then you publish your affection for these groups in a public venue where you can be publicly shamed beyond measure.
Yet to get back to my original point, reading through the Waiter’s post, I realized that Shakira’s “Hips Don’t Lie” is one of the first instances where I have completely failed to get on board the hype train. I’ve heard the song countless times, and I really don’t like it – not ambivalence, mind you – I truly don’t think it is a very good piece of music. Sure, Shakira’s hot but even that’s not enough to make me want to go watch the video.
In a way this makes me happy, but in other ways it makes me sad. On the one hand maybe I’m finally shaking the grip that the big music labels have held over my for my entire life – thus freeing me to delve more deeply into new bands that have kept their indie street cred while putting out great tunes. But on the other hand maybe this is just the first step into losing my ability to appreciate new music altogether, and I’m destined to become one of those crotchety old men who sit at the cafeteria table in the retirement village and go off about how no good music has been made since Glen Miller.
Either way I’m a little disturbed.
* Who is a certified music genius, able to recall the contents of every mix tape he had ever created when we were college buddies.
** e.g. Chumbahwumba’s “Tubthumping”, Crazy Town’s “Butterfly”
*** e.g. Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Kelly Clarkson, and even an occasional boy band
**** e.g. Toni Basil’s “Mickey”, Vanilla Ice’s “Ice Ice Baby”