Ellen Loudon

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pop music

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The BBC has a series of programs running at the moment on pop music called Pop! What is it Good For? Obviously for pop fans and scholars it is a feast of loveliness which is the perfect antidote to the post-Christmas lull. Last night I watched Paul Morley speak to popticians about some pop songs of his choice. He looked st the way these songs reflect something of the concerns of the artists, the impact they had on culture and the way they draw on and develop a pop music cannon. The BBC website writes:

At 50 years of age, Morley is just about as old as pop music itself and in this film he argues that pop has played a central role in the culture of the nation over the past half century. In the post-empire era, pop music has helped give the world a sense of Britain and Britain a sense of itself.

I know I am a complete sucker for pop music and I love it so much it sometimes hurts but I got quite emotional about the way Morley drew out the lyrical content of The Smiths This Charming Man, the iconic shifts of the female image in Madonna’s Like a Prayer, and the simplistic complexity of Kylie’s Can’t get you out of my Head. I think pop music is important and to hear Morley interrogate the three minute pop song in such a loving and creative way was both moving and challenging.

With that in mind I will leave you with The Smiths seminal This Charming Man.

This Charming man

A punctured bicycle
On a hillside desolate
Can nature make a man of me yet?

And in this charming car
This charming man

Why pamper life’s complexity
When the leather runs smooth
On the passenger seat ?

I would go out tonight
But I haven’t got a stitch to wear
This man said “It’s gruesome that someone so handsome should care”

A jumped up pantry boy
Who never knew his place
He said “return the ring”
He knows so much about these things
He knows so much about these things

I would go out tonight
But I haven’t got a stitch to wear
This man said “It’s gruesome that someone so handsome should care”
Na, na-na, na-na, na-na, this charming man …
Na, na-na, na-na, na-na, this charming man …

A jumped up pantry boy
Who never knew his place
He said “return the ring”
He knows so much about these things
He knows so much about these things
He knows so much about these things

I would go out tonight
But I haven’t got a stitch to wear
Oh, la-la, la-la, la-la, this charming man …
Oh, la-la, la-la, la-la, this charming man …

A jumped up pantry boy
Who never knew his place
He said “return the ring”
He knows so much about these things
He knows so much about these things
He knows so much about these things

Morrissy is a Genius.

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Written by ellenloudon

January 9, 2008 at 9:37 am

Posted in music, stuff

One Response

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  1. Shoobie doobie do wopBop bop shoo wopEverybody talk aboutPop muzikPersonally, I’d rather say The Smiths were geniuses, since neither Morrissey nor Johnny Marr’s post-Smiths efforts have really grabbed me. On the other hand, that might be the ever lingering Smiths-breakup angst. I know, it was over 20 years ago, I should have got over it by now 😉

    John H

    January 10, 2008 at 2:31 pm


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