I have always been opiniated about popular music - as evidenced by this piece I wrote for my high school newspaper when I was sweet sixteen :)
If you've ever wanted to be a singer/songwriter, here's your BIG chance. Pull up a chair, straighten your hair and pay close attention, because today's lesson is on "How to Write a Senseless Commercial Song That Will Make You as Famous as Kylie".
OK, first we've got to choose a topic. LOVE is always a number one best-seller, because people who are in love tend to let their brains go to mush and will happily listen to any rubbish as long as it reminds them of their loved one, their ex-loved, or the one who won't pay a shred of attention to them. The list goes on and on and on...
Now that we're happy with the topic (although anything will actually do) all we've got to do is write the lyrics. Not a problem. Just think of a sentence or phrase consisting of four to six words, for example:
"I should be so lucky"
"Blame it on the rain"
"Tonight" (only attempt one-worders if you're really adventurous!!!)
Then you have to get really creative and try and write the words down in as many different ways as possible. Repetitions, oohs, aahs, and "baby"s are essential. Don't hesitate to get a stuttering effect on the vowel sounds, especially on the word "I". Now we're on our way to certain stardom, because our songs turned out something like:
"I-I-I-I I should be so lucky, lucky, lucky, lucky"
"Blame it on the rain, blame it on the rain, baby"
"Tonight, tonight, toni-ni-ni-ni-ni-ni- tonight".
Of course it doesn't matter at all if you've got a terrible voice, because you can always mime to somebody else's singing and still win numerous awards for it. But if you don't want to risk getting caught and having all your awards taken away, you can use your own rotten vocals and rely on the Public Relations people to fix you up an image that will make people say "So what about the voice? They're absolutely stunning", and ignore the fact that people like you should be taken out into the streets and hanged as an example to all others who are blatantly over-confident enough to subject everyone to the awful noise-pollution that record companies would have us believe is actually singing.
Millions of rands are wasted every year on commercial records by those people who are influenced into thinking that this type of music is genuinely good music. You may disagree with me and insist that it IS, but I'll ask you to cast your mind back to the days of MODERN TALKING. They were commercially successful, but there's no way you're going to convince me that their music was any good.
Something else that makes me wonder about commercial music, is the fact that few of these artists remain popular for long. I mean, look at dear Kylie. She's so ashamed of the records she made that she's desperately trying to change her image. Even after Rick Astley has changed his image, I'm sure you still mutter his charming nick-name when you hear any of his songs. Jason Donovan, who loved to do cover versions of old sixties songs, will soon be leaving the Andrew Lloyd-Webber musical he's been hiding behind in London. Who knows what he'll try to do next? I also wonder how Chesney Hawkes will try to change his image when he's sick and sut of being the One and Only.
For our mental health, I can only say "LONG LIVE THE CURE!!!"
Flash forward to 2012... and in retrospect: I have to give Kylie a spot of credit, because she has done an amazing job of keeping her career alive in spite of my teenGoth vitriol!