Planned obsolescence in music?
Does anyone else find that if you listen to Maroon 5’s won’t go home with out you, the lead singer’s semi-Peter Gabriel warble begins to feel like a chemical fire headache burning in the back of your head? Anyone else think this might be intentional because they want you to buy more tracks? As mush as that the carbonation and salt in soft drinks make us slurp all the more, building over tired pop songs with a slightly twist brings the familar before we’re reminded of the exhaustation that lead us to give up on those dead ends long ago (no offense to Mr. Gabriel who made some fine pop albums in his time).
Anyway, I’ve been teaching my students songs lately and they’ve voted in a bevy of crunk-hop (Low by Flo-rida), Linkin Park, and of course Maroon 5. It’s amazing how hardcore these market research teams are these days, I mean Linkin Park’s Numb about nails the rebellious teenager thing as much as that Britney’s Oops.. I did it again was all about ya know, turning guys on accidentally, unintentionally, etc. I have a friend in L.A. whose roommate apparently sits around writing these things all day.
Park’s Numb at the very least seems to be a kinda paeon to Lacan’s idea of moving from the Imaginary to the Symbolic where ya know we decide our parents suck and move on to grossly over simply and reference an idea I’m not really the familar with. It’s promoting an agenda of psychological development that previous generations declared in form, but putting the ideas down lyrically. While ya know, glam rock separated itself from the hippies giving kids new identities to run around in, Linkin Park sticks with the tired and true hardcore-alterna sound while merely singing about the type of difference that used to be inherent.
I’m glad to see that the major labels have at least valued generational difference enough to conduct some market research into the average angry teenager and then proceed to co-opt them with rehashed teenage existentialism. It is perhaps telling that while a few plays of Police like Maroon 5 pop tire me, I have never really cut that bond of identification with my parents and hence Numb continues to have that subtle thrill and the glory of ya knowing breaking off from the mothership. Regardless, I am impressed as always with how well these people know their customers, as they track my every pirated mp3 play of these songs video windows media player, profiling my students’ basic personality types, and then making eerily accurate predictions of what next year’s generation will enjoy, although I get feeling they’ll be strangely like the last one, after all new bands cost money and copyright extension created classic radio so why not jerk off another generation for another year or so?