Pop music, it’s dumb right?
Not all of it. A lot of it very intelligently made and well put together. There are those out there though that abuse it’s magic and only concoct the worst of the worst to make a cheap buck. Pop music is the house of the lazy songwriter. It has committed more crimes then I’d care to mention (I’m looking at you, ‘Boys of Summer’ by DJ Sammy).
I have recently been re-listening to ‘This Year’s Model’ by Elvis Costello and the Attractions, a lovely bouncy set of new wave poppy rocky songs from 1978. It features two stellar singles; (I Don’t Want to Go to) Chelsea’, a sentiment I think we all share, and the ludicrously good ‘Pump it Up’. Costello is reported to have written the song on a fire escape during a stop in Newcastle of all places. What if he wrote it on my fire escape? Wait, I don’t have a fire escape.
The song ‘Pump it Up’ was later sampled by a sack of arse called Rogue Traders. In classic lazy pop fashion they took some bint they could find (in this case the Australian actress Natalie Bassingthwaite – she used to be in Neighbours because of course she did, she’s from Australia), got her to knock out some half-based vocals and called it ‘Voodoo Child’.
It features lyrics so banal if you closed your eyes and pointed to random words in a dictionary you would come up with a better one. Would you like an example? Take a sweet glance at the chorus:
“Baby baby baby
You are my voodoo child, my voodoo child
Don’t say maybe maybe
It’s supernatural, I’m coming undone.”
Awful, yes. Catchy, yes. I do believe it has more to do with Elvis Costello and the Attractions more than anything else. If you took away the pounding organs and guitars you’d be left with an empty pickle of a song, a limp biscuit if you will. I only mention this because my brain, in its infinite wisdom, continues to remind me of things like this rather than remembering useful things. When the aliens come and take us all away I will be filed on a shelf of knowledge called ‘Why bother?’ and only called up when they need a particularly spicy pub quiz question.
Whenever I hear ‘Pump it Up’ there is the quiet unsightly ghost of Rogue Traders hiding in the background.