Old music has come back from the past to gang bang my iPod. "Old" meaning songs and artists who rose to fame before my musical maturation--my musical puberty, if you will. Naturally, Madonna is one of these artists, and that is not to say she isn't relevant today, something that is most certainly debatable, but her catalogue of hit songs goes back almost three decades. That's a lot to dig through.
I'm always writing about Moby and his ability to sense trends before they hit the airwaves, but no one read the musical forecast like Madonna in her prime. Madonna's "Vogue" is a track so future-conscious it's hard to believe it was written and produced before I was even one year old. As a writer, Madonna isn't given enough credit, but with the exception of "She's Not Me," Hard Candy doesn't really warrant any kind of writing praise. But her "old" stuff? It's brilliant. The most amazing thing about "Vogue" isn't the production, which arguably paved the way for hundreds of piano-driven dance tracks (ex. Moby's "Disco Lies"), but the cultural influence and style set forth by Madonna in the late eighties, with "Vogue" the primary vehicle of that influence. The track's echoed vocals and bridge--where Madonna famously name drops like, I don't know, every important actor and actress of the pre-Beatles era--could be the soundtrack to any Gap or American Apparel ad, or even remixed and rerecorded by Rihanna to top the charts. And I'm not suggesting this as some distant New York Times writer whose job requires them to make empty predictions--I'm dead serious, as both a fan of Rihanna and an active observer of pop radio. By observer, however, I mean that literally: if a doctor doesn't have to test every prescription drug he hands out, surely a music blogger doesn't have to listen to Kiss FM to understand what the pop audience craves.
And speaking of distant music writers, TIME magazine wrote an article in this week's issue about the "songs of the summer." "Disturbia" is number two on their list. Let us recap: Rihanna released "Disturbia" little over a month ago, where it received a moderate amount of buzz but never charted well because of "Take A Bow" essentially raping the charts multiple times (it hit No. 1 on Billboard twice, before Katy Perry's "I Kissed A Girl") Just last week "Disturbia" hit number one, which is surprising to me considering how aurally annoying the song really is. The point here being, how can TIME crown Rihanna's "Disturbia" the song of the summer when the track just hit radio three weeks ago? The answer is, they can't. Of course, the actual "queen" of the summer, if we're going to use that term, goes to Perry and "I Kissed A Girl." (Considering how many times I've written "Grill" in place of "Girl," I should just rewrite the song for her.) But of course the politically correct (LOLZ) TIME denounces "Kissed" because it offends both gays and straights, and "no one really listens to it." And that's why it was number one for almost two months. Thanks TIME, for another well-written article by your musical monkey men with their inability to admit how much they listen to "I Kissed A Girl" in their cage at the zoo.
I'm pretty sure I just wore myself out. Janet Jackson, Salt-N-Pepa ("Push It" may be the sexiest song ever produced), old Kylie Minogue, Boston, and even Smashmouth are beginning to tighten to gap in the race for my taste. Sadly, though, I still choose The New over The Good more often than not, simply because I'm addicted to the former--yes, I really am that shallow. But for now I'll enjoy "Vogue" and "La Isla Bonita" and "Smokin'" and the rest of my pre-pubic tracks while radio continues to devolve into a static blob of Timbaland beats and Akon hooks.