Back when I was writing more regularly, I made an effort to listen to hit music if only so I could expound on why the popularity of, say, Michael Bolton was a sign of the coming apocalypse. In my current job as a music librarian, I don't actually have to know what the Top 40 songs sound like. I just need to know how to spell Fabolous or that the library should buy the new Mudvayne CD before anyone asks us for it. Maybe it's my creeping age or the increasing fractionalization of marketing that I manage to avoid many of the big pop hits.
Until I start hanging out among the youths. (As you are reading this,
please pronounce it to yourself My Cousin Vinny-style, "yutes.")
I recently attended my cousin's bar mitzvah, the first one I've been to since
he was born 13 years ago. At the party, they played lots of music that
13-year-olds like. This meant that I finally heard Nelly's "Hot In
Herre;" the closest I'd come was the Vines' semi-mocking live cover. Two
months after deciding I needed it for the library, I finally heard "The Ketchup
Song." As expected, it was fun but inconsequential, likely to grow
irritating if overplayed, which it no doubt will.
Then I shopped at a store that sells very tight, super low-rise pants (I
look okay with the adjectives of such attire, but I don't have the figure
for the adverbs.) They were playing pop videos. I heard Avril
Lavigne for the first time. I was in the dressing room so I didn't
recognize her by sight (I'm guessing she was wearing that tank top and wide
tie, apparently the only outfit she paid a stylist to assemble for her),
but I knew the title "Sk8er Boi." This is allegedly punk? Why,
because the guitar is slightly more prominent in the mix than the Backstreet
Boys? With all those gobs of production, she's about as punk as Foreigner.
The next day I went to a bar with Fugazi and the Stooges on the jukebox. I was back in my own element. They serve brunch, so you don't have to be 21 to go there. Maybe Avril the underage aspiring punkette go there and find out what punk really is.