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State of the Top Music Charts: Who? What? Why? Fuck.

Written by Nick Leitzke

The last time I looked at an up-to-date music chart out of sincere curiosity was in the late 90’s when I still subscribed to Rolling Stone. I was still in high school when I decided I had better things to listen to than the boy band b.s. handed down to us by MTV. The face of Twenty-first century pop remains very similar to Justin Timberlake’s and Christina Aguilera’s, so I see no need to examine another music chart when I still don’t care. However, I will study a music chart if it happens by accident, and if it leads me down a nice train of thought. Today I stumbled across a story about the latest UK singles chart http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/8603208.stm .

It seems that Lady Gaga has been toppled from the Number-1 spot by Scouting For Girls. I’ve never heard of Scouting For Girls, so this led me to wonder what a band called Scouting For Girls might sound like. Here they are
with the official video for their chart-topping song “This Ain’t A Love Song.”

A phrase that comes in handy for me X-number of times a day is  “Are you kidding me?” I think that says it best. This is not a defense of Lady Gaga or having her back in a bar fight. As the video for her former chart-topper “Telephone” shows us, Lady Gaga could probably stand fast and swing her own pool cue if need be. I’m just surprised that over a decade has passed since I cared about what was topping the charts, and nothing has changed. Scouting For Girls bare more resemblance to Vanessa Carlton than they do to Justin Timberlake, but sentimental gruel will never cease to dominate the airwaves. I had some hope. I must admit. I saw a song titled “This Ain’t A Love Song” topping a singles chart and thought for a second that maybe, just maybe, it might be worthwhile. Perhaps I just saw a song called “This Ain’t A Love Song” and immediately had visions of Public Image Limited.

Oh, but these visions and hopes are so misguided and futile. I tell myself I don’t look down on others for the music they claim to love. For the most part I follow this rule. In this case I can’t. It would be crass and hypocritical of me to say that PIL has more substance and merit than something as ridiculous as Scouting For Girls, but it’s true. That Scouting For Girls track is just so harmless. Music doesn’t have to be loud or abrasive or even offensive for me to call it edgy. Even if my ears aren’t bleeding I’ll still like it. I just like my power raw. I want my music to grit its teeth with a fresh tattoo still bleeding on its arm.

Music needs to take an honest chance. A flavorless Scouting For Girls and Lady Gaga’s blurred cooch just aren’t going to give me that honesty. I can’t define that honesty because it’s different in every case. All I know is that sometime in high school I realized honesty had no place at the top of a singles chart. I don’t think I want my honesty to top the charts. Honesty is by definition unfettered. Whatever tops the charts has gone through any number of processors on the way. Give me danger any day, as long as it’s bipolar and has teeth. Give me music minus the safeguards of public decency. It’s a lot more interesting out on the fringes. I might come back with an endearing scar or two.

Posted by admin   @   15 April 2010

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