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Dear Londonist

By london_ken Last edited 147 months ago
Dear Londonist

In the first (and quite possibly last) Dear Londonist, we have an interesting music poser from one of our readers. If you have a question, about any subject, send us an e-mail at londonist@gmail.com with the subject Ask Londonist. (Clicking this link should save some tedious typing business for you.) If you're lucky, we might even have an answer for you.

Dear Londonist,

I like to think I have good taste in music, I make an effort to seek out new music and go to see bands live but as I get older with more

responsibilities I find it more and more difficult.

I couldn't help but see the video for the new Fightstar single (Charlie, the posh one from Busted's new band) and against my better judgement appreciated its rock styling, though found the video a bit formulaic.

My question is, does this mean any credibility I may have had as a music fan is now officially gone, or have I just matured and now appreciate the music irrespective of the artist's baggage?

Yours anxiously,

Confused music fan.

clockworkorange.jpg

A good question, CMF, which requires a considered answer. Londonist hasn't seen or heard the Fightstar song yet which means the first thing is to throw a question back at you: why were you watching the Fightstar video in the first place? You say you couldn't help but see it, yet unless you were forced, Clockwork Orange-style, to watch the video, we're betting you could have helped it. So you fall at the first hurdle, you have no musical credibility.

Let's assume, however, that you were stuck somewhere where there was no escape from the video. The question is, then, is there anything inherently wrong in liking pop?

There's a weird reciprocal snobbery between the pop and indie camps. Indie snobs think anything that isn't difficult to like in some way is somehow inferior to pop. Pop kids think that indie bands should learn how to sing and dance properly and just cheer up, and they might sell some records.

Of course, the days when indie was somehow outside of the mainstream are long gone, and the argument is more about 'is it good'? And, CMF, you're not the only confused one. Londonist find ourselves appreciating some of the Girls Aloud pop stylings whilst decrying the likes of Coldplay and New Improved Anthemic Athlete for being boring. Yet would we argue that the song-writing of the latter two to be weaker? For us, it's like comparing sherbet dabs (mmmm, sherbet) with a fillet steak. We love both, but we take different types of enjoyment from each of them.

Just because we find something enjoyable, doesn't mean we have to think it's brilliant. Music ticks different boxes and they don't always have to tick all of them at once.

So, to answer your question directly, you have matured and you deserve credit for allowing yourself to enjoy music irrespective of the credibility that goes with it.

Also, it's quite trendy to like pop nowadays. It shows how broadminded you are.

Last Updated 11 February 2005

Scott

Good points, but I feel you are leaving out a major portion of the French anti-London sentiment, the ads. Their feeling, like my own, is London is over-branded and nothing is sacred from advertising. Aside the obvious like taxicabs and tube stations, take a look at how shamelessly advertisers will purchase space on footballers' chests and even on the podeum at the Brit awards.

In Paris, adverts are restricted and regulated, they are all the same size and on the Metro they are actually placed in frames in a very organised and logical manner. I think Paris is trying to protect is visual cityscape more than its local economy.

In my opinion, London is a great city in many regards, but it is the worst for shameless advertising, beating out New York, Philadelphia, New Orleans, San Juan and Paris by light years.

Phil

Whilst you've been exploring the dichotomy that exisits between pop and indie, you've missed the fundemental point here.

It's the fact that song's shite that blows CFM's credibility out of the water, not that it's "pop"

Ken

Thanks for that contribution, Phil. Anyone else think the same?

In my defence, as I pointed out, I haven't heard the song and, whilst I assume it's a steaming pile of turd, I was trying to be fair to both Fightstar and CMF.