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Sunday Brunch: The State of Pop Music

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Brunch isn't really a big deal over here but I love the idea of it - and enjoy going to brunch whilst on holiday. Whenever I'm throwing together ideas for a new story, one of my favourite things to do is go Google Maps-ing for all the nice restaurants in the area. As I have dairy intolerance, I often have to watch what I eat at restaurants so it's not always a fun experience. However, the rise of all those Food Network shows and Pinterest and all the great reviews on Yelp and Chowhound allow me to live vicariously through all you gastronauts. 

So, I thought I'd try and start a new feature (although I'm not good at keeping up features so we'll see) where we go for brunch on a Sunday, anywhere in the world, and have a chat. This week we'll be:

Did you watch the VMA's last week? Remember when it used to be event television - and not just because a former teen queen tried to twerk? Well, it's certainly not the same anymore and this was highlighted even more so by Beyonce's stupendously spectacular closing marathon of a performance.  

After the goosebumps had disappeared and I'd calmed down it suddenly dawned on me that this was the end of pop music as we know it. Beyonce is the last truely great enteratiner. The last pop star who will give you your money's worth at a concert. The last of the gang who grew up watching the precision and spectacle of their predecessors - Michael, Janet, Madonna, Prince. The last who wanted to create a brand not based on wearing as little as possible for no reason and miming whilst shuffling in astronomically high heels. The last to sashay, shantay - to truly WORK IT. 

I then watched the actual VMA's - obviously we get it a day afterwards over here - and my hypothesis was confirmed. All of the other performances were underwhelming. So my question is: who are the new guard? I'm talking about the ladies under 30's in the pop music scene - your radio stars (other genres of music are not suffering so much from this). 

Certainly not Jessie/Katy/Ariana/Iggy even though they were forced down our throats the whole time. I like Jessie J as a person because she's from my neck of the woods and I'll always support an Essex girl done good. I'm not really a Katy Perry fan - she's just...too much. All this overcompensation must be for a reason. Ariana Grande is the new fetch. I liked her album from last year but that Problem song does my head in - why can't this girl enunciate? Finally, I.GG.Y. Hmmm. The more I see, the more I dislike. I don't really want to start a discussion on cultural appropriation here because that topic deserves proper discourse but I will say: to me Iggy's schtick (and it is one) is like if I, as a black British girl, decided to become a Bollywood star and started talking and singing in an Indian accent and then suddenly I was crowned the Queen of Bollywood. Unlikely but you catch my drift, no? I have no issue with Iggy rapping. I have an issue with her rapping in a black accent - she doesn't speak like that I'm sure, she's Australian - and dressing up in what she deems to be black culture then getting lauded as Hip Hop's Saviour. All the while, being rude to fellow black female rappers.

I realised the only person I could really think of as a maybe future legend is Taylor Swift. She kind of sits in her own box and is by far and away the most successful out of all the 20-somethings. I'm not keen on her latest song - think it's a bit gimmicky compared to all the stuff on Red - but I respect her game. She writes her own songs and knows who she is - to a certain degree. 

I've come to the conclusion that our lack of female entertainers who can entertain is due to the overall blandazization of culture/entertainment/life in general that has happened this century. Originality is rare these days. In fashion, there aren't any supermodels anymore. Sure, I can still name top models and have a few favourites (Joan, Jourdan, Chanel, Doutzen) but generally they all look the same. Bland. Basic - and not in the good way I talked about the other day. I talked about this in terms of Hollywood and the Jessica's a long time ago too. Where are the really interesting, crazy, fun celebrities? Like the models, they're pretty much all the same, don't you think? So, the question is, why is this happening? Are there just too many cooks in the kitchen? Is it the special snowflake syndrome? Perhaps it's Instagram and fear of missing out or whatever - everyone just does the same as everyone else to keep up with the Jones's. Then again, maybe the end is nigh! I don't know what it is but we're suffering because we're happily celebrating mediocrity and that's just not cool.  

So, I guess the things to take away from this discussion: 1) Enjoy Beyonce and the old guard whilst you can; and 2) If you do find someone original and interesting, hold onto them for dear life. 

What do you think? Who are your favourite pop singers these days? Can anyone hold a candle to Queen Bey? 

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