I knew I’d regret this. You see, when Hercules (or Heracles or whatever he wants to call himself) set about his (relatively straightforward, it has to be said) tasks, he didn’t have a full time to job to hold down at the same time. Or if he did, his boss (Zeus?) probably allowed him some sort of compassionate leave of absence. I have to admit that my memory of the story is a bit hazy here but I’m sure Abahachi will confirm that I’m on the right lines.
Anyway, my point is that I’m struggling to find the time to do this and I’m getting a bit behind – we’re already well into April and I’m only just posting the Third Task now. Of course I’ll keep going – I don’t want to disappoint my public – but please bear with me.
For those of you who haven’t been concentrating (and, shame on you), the idea of this supposedly-monthly feature is that I am attempting, by drawing your attention to a variety of musical artistes who fit the general description of Pop Music, to convince you (if you need convincing) that Pop Music can be great; it can be inspirational; it can be moving; it can change things and that the term should never be used disparagingly. There was much debate after the First Task about what exactly we understood by the term Pop Music which I attempted to summarise in the introductory text to the Second Task. I promised that in the Third Task I would look at some of the questions that had arisen so far but then, in response to a comment about Pop v. Popular, I was forced to jump the gun and turn the discussion to the following question:
Does pop music have to be popular? My initial answer to this was a big, fat, resounding ‘yes’ but I think I’ve changed my mind. The term ‘Pop Music’ is of course derived from ‘popular music’ but it gradually dawned on me (OK, ToffeeGirl pointed it out to me) that popular here doesn’t mean ‘lots of people like it’ but rather that it’s music that’s liked by ‘the people’ as opposed to ‘classical music’, which isn’t!
So, I really don’t think that popularity enters into the equation: it can be Pop Music even if I’m the only person on earth who knows, or indeed, likes it. Agreed?
Well? What do you think?
You’ll remember that the First Task featured Microdisney: I went right to the cool end of the pop spectrum with that particular choice but was then perhaps guilty of playing it safe with the Second Task and my selection of Everything But The Girl. I don’t think that the same accusation could be directed at me with this month’s (actually, last month’s) choice of Coldplay.
I’ve been an active member of the RR/Spill community for well over a year now and I’ve got an unbelievable amount of pleasure from listening to the diverse music recommended by the diverse bunch of regular posters both here and in the Other Place. Thanks to you lot I’ve discovered a new favourite band (The Decemberists): saneshane and frogprincess (to name but two) have regularly presented tasty new treats for me to check out (Over The Rhine and Midlake to name but two) and there’s frequently an unlooked-for gem waiting to get to know me each week. In fact, if anything, I find myself struggling to stay afloat in a sea of new music. I can’t say I’ve been won over by everything: I haven’t heard too much hip-hop/rap that’s convinced me I’m missing something, despite the concerted efforts of steenbeck and ejaydee (to name but two); I’ve heard some great jazz recommended by Abahachi and nilpferd (to name but two) but much of it has left me cold and as for DsD’s Drive By Truckers – well, let’s just say I’m not hitching a lift!
I realise that I’m getting dangerously close to the mortal sin of undonding here but I wanted to go down this path because I want to highlight an anomaly in our way of thinking and our collective behaviours. We wouldn’t all be here if it wasn’t for our love of music – and the beauty of the ‘Spill is the way that this love transcends our individual tastes so we can talk about the music that we love without fear of being attacked for doing so. The moral is, if you like it, say so, if you don’t, shut up. And as a rule, this works very well.
So why is it that this band are seen as fair game? Why do people hate Coldplay and, more importantly, why do they feel that it’s OK to hate them? And why do they inspire such open hostility in the first place? I seriously want to know. Surely there are more deserving targets than Chris Martin and Coldplay? Wouldn't we prefer people to be listening to Coldplay (or Keane, Aqualung, The Kooks etc.) than, to pick an example at random, sugar-coated Europop?
For the record, I wouldn’t describe myself as a big Coldplay fan. I really liked the first album (Parachutes) and I bought the second (A Rush Of Blood To The Head) as soon as it was released. After that, I went a little cold on them (I didn’t buy the third album (X&Y)) but my interest in their music has been rekindled recently with the release of Viva La Vida which I would rate as one of the best pop songs of the last few years.
So, here we have a small selection of Coldplay songs – I’m sure you know them all anyway so try to listen to them, if you listen to them at all, with an open mind. Try to hear them for the first time and detach yourself from any preconceptions you might have. Listen to the music, listen to the lyrics and if you still feel you hate them, please tell me why! If your first reaction on seeing this post was "Get this filth off my 'Spill", please let me know why you feel the way you do - I can take it!
Oh, and if you buy one Coldplay album, buy Parachutes.Links
Official myspace site