Wednesday, November 21, 2012

that's entertainment

Two little connected things i liked this week, both about pop music though contextually about 30 years apart.

On BBC Radio 4's Mastertapes, Paul Weller reflected on a couple of his most well-known songs from the Jam period, 'A Town Called Malice' and 'That's Entertainment'.

PW said that when he performs those songs today he does not feel any ownership of the songs anymore.

Though of course he wrote both songs back in 81/82 and continues to perform them both today in 2012. He explained that these kind of songs have become so much part of a modern strand of a kind of ancient folk tradition that they are now almost the property of the people.

Presumably from whom he occasionally borrows them back.

In framing them this way PW can choose to play them or not without having to deal with any nostalgia interference.

Then over to K-Pop chap PSY talking about Gangnam Style (what else?) which I caught on the Jonathan Ross TV show.

JR quizzed PSY about how he viewed the success of 'Gangnam Style' and did he feel under pressure to follow it up with something else of a comparable scale?

Almost wistfully PSY rebuked JR by stating he was fine with success, and was 6 big albums into a very successful pop career in his native Korea.

But, he added, Gangnam Style was not success.

It was actually a phenomenon.

And that that this phenomenon actually had very little to do with PSY and everything to do with its adoption by everyone else.

So as well as contributing his piece to this folk tradition, or publicly 'owned' culture, even if no-one outside of Korea hears of PSY again after this year he has also nicely framed 'Gangnam Style' as a special case rather than one-hit wonder, and can then go back to simply being a success.

Or something.

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