January 24, 2004
(Pop) music's lack of cultural examination
Not very long ago I was reading about how activism in pop music was a thing of the past. I thought that was a pity but probably a symptom of every marketer's gold rule: don't alienate enyone (offending non-target groups with pop music is fine - in fact it helps gather exposure - but don't ask people to think too hard).
However, I recently came across this, which looks at some attempts to sledge the Bush administration in song. Now, I'm no fan of the Bush administration's foreign policy record but no-one deserves some of these pathetic attempts at musical critique. If you're gonna sledge someone in song, you should at least make it entertaining ...
Still, these all seem to be American takes on American politics which is fine, but got me wondering where the Australian equivalent is. With the exception of The Living End, I can't recall a single Australian cultural critique in a popular song since Redgum (please correct me below if I'm wrong). That's a disaster - remember that the nursery rhymes we tell our kids these days were once cultural and political critiques ...
Which brings me the next point: Germaine Greer finally said something with which I agree. She wrote in The OZ: "If your ambition is to live on Ramsay Street, where nobody has even been heard to discuss a book or a movie, let alone an international event, then Australia may be the place for you." I have to say that that's frighteningly (and unpleasantly) accurate from my limited experience.
Australian should engage with current affairs and culture more ... and I intend to when it's appropriate. Writing and singing about personal relationships, etc is fine when there's something people can share about that experience, but there's more to life than endless amounts of attitude and image ...Posted by Huge at January 24, 2004 10:34 AM