What Sells Pop Music: The Music or the Sex?

Pop music baffles me. It’s overly simplistic, it requires little to no talent, most pop singers don’t truly do a thing, and it all sounds the same. These are the artists selling out arena’s and topping the charts. I realize that not everyone is capable of multiple talentsi.e. writing the music, playing an instrument, having a band, constructing decent songs and I realize it’s really hard to do choreographed songs if you possess any of the aforementioned talent. All of this I understand. Hell, if I had the chance to do essentially nothing and get rich and famous off of it, I would. Wouldn’t you?

None of this is what bothers me. The world needs simplistic music to keep the equilibrium going. All of this I understand. My problem, however, lies with the fact that “music” doesn’t sell the music. Pop music is a product conceived and controlled by some man in an office. The only way he sees music selling is by selling the female body.

Sex sells. So, why not glamorize it, throw on some lip syncing, a dance or two, and call it music. Watching music videos is very similar to watching soft core porn. It’s not men who are objectifying these women, it’s the women objectifying themselves. For example, in Leighton Meester’s video for, “Somebody To Love Me.” She is wearing a sparkly cut out top with her boobs falling out, dancing around a limo touching herself. In the next scene, she’s grinding and thrusting as if she’s having sex with a man in an invisibility cloak. This relates to music how?

Sex is awesome and embracing your sexuality is even better, but the new generation of music is a far cry from embracing ones sexuality. Real girls don’t look, dress, and (hopefully) don’t act like these celebrities. But how are young impressionable girls supposed to know the difference? How are young boys supposed to understand that women aren’t objects, when women are the objectifiers?

Singers these days are new wave porn stars and no one seems to mind. If the music doesn’t sell itself and requires a gimmick or naked body, than what’s the point? Skip the music, the dancing, and just sell the goddamn sex. At least then no one is being misled and the target audience is “regulated”.

If pop stars don’t respect themselves or their craft than why should the audience? When did music turn into an overly sexual joke and when and who will save it? Somebody’s got to, right?

Paper Tongues Interview – June 14th 2010

Paper Tongues

I recently had the opportunity to ask the band Paper Tongues a few questions about their sound, album and dream collaborations…

Please introduce yourself and your role in the band…
Joey Signa, I play electric guitar and merch guy.

How would you describe your sound to someone who had never heard you before?
We are very much a fusion of several different styles. I think U2 meets Mutemath meets Journey. It is different. The only way of really knowing is hearing Aswans voice, then you’ve heard us.

What kind of emotions or stories went into recording your debut album?
So much. It was quite a collaboration. We all threw as much of ourselves as we could into one computer then sorted threw the mess and picked out what made sense. There was a lot of back and forth and it took lots of ears to complete it but that is what made it what it is! We’re not selfish with our music.

What’s your favorite song on the album?
I love Everybody and Get Higher. Both are emotional and have so much meaning.

If you could collaborate with any artist, past or present, who would it be
and why?

I personally would love to work with Death Cab For Cutie. I love what they have created and what the guitarist, Chris, pulls out of each song.

If you had to cover any one hit wonder in music history (ex. Who Let The
Dogs Out) what song would you choose?

I love playing Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Won’t Back Down is such a soulful song that is simple but feels so good.

If you could go back in time and talk to a younger version of yourself, what
would you tell them?

Don’t be afraid of conflict. Often times on the other side of it is freedom and a path that wasn’t previously open.

How would define ‘success’?
Success is growth. It’s coming from one place to another in the midst of change. Success is never a destination, it’s simply a mindset.

Thanks to the band and Kaytea from XO Publicity for helping set this up!

Sky Sailing Release Date, Pre-Order

Sky Sailing

Before Owl City, Adam Young recorded a 11 song record in his parents basement and called himself Sky Sailing. These recordings have never before been released but now is the time. An Airplane Carried Me To Bed is available for pre-order on iTunes and is set for release on June 13th. More about Sky Sailing can be read below with a full note from Young on the bands website.

Three and a half years ago, I recorded a collection of songs in my parent’s basement during the bleary-eyed hours of night when sleep and I could not bring ourselves to meet. I was a metalworker, working 6 AM to 4 PM at a warehouse in my little southern Minnesota town. I was writing, creating, thinking, imagining and breathing music with every second I had to spare. Music has always been my dream, but at that point in time, it was merely a feather tossed to the wind. Regardless, my spirits were far from dampened and I created music as fast and as furiously as I could. In my little basement bedroom, I had an old Dell computer, Reason 2.5, a friend’s borrowed Behringer C-1 condenser, a Behringer 8 channel analog mixer and my uncle’s old Alvarez. I didn’t have a clue what I was doing but I was a dreamer and music was my escape so I gave it everything I had. Never expecting my music to be heard anywhere but by my parents through the floorboards above, I wrote for my own ears. I was both artist and audience and I called myself Sky Sailing.

I’ve kept these recordings secret for a long time and they’ve never seen the light of day until now. Long before Owl City was ever a spark of a flame, a lot of blue-collared working days were spent absentmindedly daydreaming about what would ultimately become this collection of songs. From the perfectionist musician’s perspective, a song is never truly “finished” but rather “abandoned” and thus, after a lot of inspiration and reckless experimentation, I emerged from the basement with a 11 song record which I affectionately entitled, An Airplane Carried Me To Bed.

Anberlin Preview New Song

Anberlin are streaming a video for a new song titled “We Owe This To Ourselves” which you can check out here. Click login on the top right of the page and login with your twitter info to see the video. Anberlin’s new album is set for release on September 21st.

The Pretty Reckless – Self-Titled EP

MMWDsingle

Artist: The Pretty Reckless
Album: Self-Titled EP
Label: Interscope Records
Release Date: June 21, 2010
Purchase: iTunes

Overall: 8.5
Music: 8
Lyrics: 7.5
Production: 9

The Pretty Reckless is fronted by sixteen-year-old actress Taylor Momsen. Momsen has gained her fame portraying bad girl, Jenny Humphrey on Gossip Girl.

When the show started, she was fourteen, innocent and natural. By the second season she was in the process of turning into a bad ass. In interviews, she’s rude, short, and proclaims, “I’m not trying to be a role model!”

She’s given shit for the way she dresses, chain smokes, and her all around persona. She’s an easy target for all of these reasons and because she’s a young actress turned singer and who isn’t sick of that? But the truth is, Momsen has a wonderfully gritty voice. She sounds like someone who has smoked way too many cigarettes or maybe a little like Courtney Love. The actual music isn’t bad either. Her songs sound like b-sides to music recorded before she was born and that’s not a bad thing.

The lyrics are a bit weak, but she’s young. It would be surprising if the music was complex. That’s not to say the lyrics are bad. “I’m just sixteen if you know what I mean? Do you mind if I take off my dress?” They’re fun and a little like a kid trying on her older sisters grown-up clothing. But it works.

Momsen conquers what few actresses turned singer have. She’s doing what Miley Cyrus has failed to do, be young, edgy, and talented with out selling underage sex. She is breaking out of the teeny bopper mold. Yes, she’s young. Yes, she’s singing about things she shouldn’t know yet. And yes, she looks significantly older than she is, but who cares?

Like it or not, Taylor Momsen is talented. The EP isn’t perfect, but she has the rest of her life to create a number one record. And who says she can’t?

Free Download Pack From The Cool Tour

The Cool Tour, featuring As I Lay Dying, Underoath, Between The Buried And Me, The Acacia Strain and others, has released a download pack filled with coupons, videos, and mp3s. View the entire list below and head over to the COOL TOUR Facebook page to grab the free pack!

The download pack includes:

“¢ As I Lay Dying merch coupon for $3 off a purchase over $30 at asilaydyingstore.com
“¢ Underoath merch coupon for 15% off a purchase over $20 at underoathmerch.com
“¢ Cancer Bats MP3 “Sabotage”
“¢ Invisible Children Video
“¢ Atticus Coupon for 25% off anything in the Atticus Black Webstore
“¢ Alt Press Coupon for a 1 year digital subscription for only $5
“¢ The Acacia Strain: “Dr. Doom (live),” taken from their recently released 2DVD “The Most Known Unknown.”
“¢ War Of Ages MP3 “Collapse”
“¢ Ding! Coupon for 20% off anything at dinglife.com
“¢ Facedown Records coupon for 10% off merch and music at facedownrecords.com
“¢ Blessthefall MP3 “To Hell And Back”
“¢ Fearless coupon for 10% off http://fearless.merchnow.com/
“¢ Free Fearless Records Summer 2010 sampler
“¢ 2010 Cool Tour New Artist Sampler (provided by Metal Blade Records & Good Fight Records).

Tracklisting:

1. The Absence- “Enemy Unbound”
2. Aeon- “Kill Them All”
3. Allegaeon- “The God Particle”
4. Barn Burner- “Holy Smokes”
5. Bison b.c.- “Two-Day Booze”
6. Brain Drill- “Monumental Failure”
7. Charred Walls Of The Damned- “Ghost Town”
8. Dawn of Ashes- “Seething the Flesh in the River of Phlegethon”
9. Fatal Embrace- “Wake the Dead”
10. Fleshwrought- “Mental Illness”
11. Istapp- “Vinterrket”
12. Kings Of Asgaard- “Vamods Tale”
13. Lightning Swords Of Death- “Nihilistic Stench”
14. The Ocean- “Swallowed By The Earth”
15. Return To Earth- “Back Of My Hand”
16. Skyforger- “In The Underworld”
17. System Divide- “Vagaries of Perception”
18. Valkyrja- “Oceans to Dust”
19. Woe Of Tyrants- “Creatures of the Mire”
20. Cancer Bats- “Dead Wrong”
21. Son of Aurelius- “Mercy For Today”
22. I Am Abomination- “Since 1776″
23. This Or The Apocalypse- “Charmer”
24. Rosaline- “London Lost Its Fog”

Mae Announce Reunion Tour With Original Members

Mae

Mae has announced a reunion tour with their original members to happen this fall.  The “Goodbye, Goodnight Tour” will kick off in early October and run through the end of November. The band’s first performance together in over 3 years took place in Singapore on June 19th and while the long term future of the band beyond this tour is unclear, the “Goodbye, Goodnight Tour” will mark the band’s indefinite farewell. The band plans to announce openers and tour dates in the weeks to come.

Says SWEITZER “I am looking forward to playing music live with Zach, Jacob, Mark and Dave again. It did not take long during rehearsals to see that we have chemistry as a band even after being apart for 3 years. It is already apparent that there is a renewed energy and enjoyment in playing live together again.” GEHRING adds, “Despite all the change that we’ve been through, both personally, and as MAE, the underlying creative current is still refreshingly strong.

And for the future? Says ELKINS, “The future is as unpredictable as it has always been. We will take advantage of this tour to express our gratitude to our fans and enjoy the bond that we’ve grown and are growing again among the five of us.