Thursday, July 20, 2006


It seems that pop success nowadays is only valid if you've built up a following through the Internet, or more specifically through MySpace. No number one is valid without a story of a starving muso in a basement flat using more than adequate recording equipment and broadband to get their sounds out to the world. It's an edgy, DIY approach screaming 'fuck you' to the music industry. It also hides the fact that most of the music is actually inoffensive MOR-lite acoustic pop. Mmm, underground.

The Arctic Monkeys, widely fabled to have built their fanbase through the Internet, have dismissed the idea as 'a load of bollocks'. Gnarls Barkley, who were the first to achieve number one status through downloads alone, were hardly unknowns. The musical mastermind of the duo, Dangermouse, produced the last Gorrillaz album. Now, Lilly Allen, described as "the queen of MySpace" sits at number one because of the fan base she's built up through her 'ickle space on the web. Of course, her success has nothing to do with the fact that Allen is the daughter of well connected media whore Keith.

Or, in fact, that MySpace is owned by Rupert Murdoch.

Sandi Thom, another one, perhaps gives it away with her debut number 1. She wishes she "was a punk rocker with flowers in her hair". She yearns for "69 and 77 when revolution was in the air". She then, laments, however, that she "was born too late to a world that doesn't care".

Didn't punk and the hippy movement happen because the world didn't care? It wasn't sanctioned by the establishment, created through focus groups and market research. If she's in a world that doesn't care then she was born at the perfect time to be a punk rocker with flowers in her hair. What does she want the world to do? Give her a favourable mortgage rate and secure job before she starts wearing stuff her mum might frown at. Of course, it would make her a deluded retro-phile, but it shouldn't discourage her from fulfilling her dream.


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