We live today in a society of haters. Haters, if you didn’t know, are those cretins who see it as their duty to take to the internet in a state of frenzied dissatisfaction when anybody expresses an opinion. They are able to structure sentences only in a negative form, fighting vehemently in opposition to popular opinion - and God forbid you like anything remotely mainstream. Music, and YouTube in particular, is the largest breeding ground for this behaviour. These keyboard warriors tend to drift in and out of dissing different fads and trends, whether that be Bieber Fever or the just the progression of soulless, heartless music… But you know what? They have a point. With music this bad dominating the charts, it’s hard not to at least whimper in exasperation.
Let’s take a brief look at the top 5 best-selling singles of 2011 to get a nice feel for the most purchased musical creations in our culture today.
Starting at #5, we have Rihanna and We Found Love ft. Calvin Harris, a repetitive mess of a house track with Rihanna repeating the uplifting mantra, “We found love in a hopeless place” sixteen times (seriously). Well done dear, how incredibly imaginative. A dull rhythm of kicks and claps meets an even duller collection of synthesisers in an ultimate disappointment of noise. There are no interesting vocal melodies, just mindless repetition.
Continuing onto #4, we have Jessie J with Price Tag ft. B.O.B. Upon first listen, I thought this deceptively upbeat tune could have been worked into a somewhat bearable track, but then I heard the lyrics; Miss J sings, “It’s not about the money, money, money, we don’t need your money, money, money” but oddly enough I don’t recall her donating any part of her $1.2 million in sales to charity… But stripped of its mindless ramblings from a naive child plagued by moral hypocrisy, Price Tag is a fairly acceptable instrumental; a simple drum beat accented with guitar, accompanied by a held organ and sparkly synthesiser. The input of B.O.B. adds very little though, and is really rather unnecessary. But hey, all they want to do is make the world dance.
The third most purchased single of 2011 is Party Rock Anthem ft. Lauren Bennett & Goonrock by LMFAO. If you’re a happy-clappy human being who thinks of themself as the life and soul of the party, then I suggest you stop reading now - I couldn’t bear to think I was going to hurt your feelings. This is because even with the power of the internet and the wonderful Thesaurus.com, this brief review cannot even begin to express the rage felt by so many, including myself, when listening to mockery of a ‘song’. If you want a nice opinion about this, you asked the wrong gentleman.
At #2 we have Maroon 5′s Moves Like Jagger ft Christina Aguilera. In short, I used to like Maroon 5 until this song. While the tune is aggravatingly catchy, after ‘enjoying’ the lyrics I have decided it is just the drunken antics of an egotistical cave-dweller born. He may have “moves like Jagger”, but this just conjures to mind the jolting the image of embarrassingly deluded parents at wedding parties. This song accomplishes nothing else other than reminding us that Christine Aguilera still exists somewhere in the world and that “electro-pop” still has the ability to dishonor old kings. On behalf of everyone Mr. Jagger, I’m sorry.
Lastly, having weaved in and out of the excellence that is todays’ music, we find ourself finishing with Adele’s Someone Like You. I find myself in a terrible quandary here. I wanted to end this, my debut on A New Take, on a hard-hitting controversial point. I wanted to slam Justin Bieber, denounce the music industry as a whole. But Someone Like You is a genuinely astonishing piece of music. The touching simplicity of a natural piano movement and a powerful voice expresses such true, heartfelt emotion, and the artful mastering of multi-tracked harmonies towards the end of the song amount to a truly beautiful creation. XL Recordings have a real gem in Adele, and it is such a delight to see her top the chart of 2011 single sales. And she deserves every Grammy she won.
My whole outlook on music is normally swarmed with cynicism – I think I have demonstrated that quite adequately – but it’s the little pockets of excellence that will always continue to astound me, and will also continue to shine through.