I thought I’d share my views on what I’ve heard in London so far which will inevitable lead to a commentary about gay culture but I’ll get to that. My gracious hosts are pop addicts. A sound and style of music not heard or played out in my native NZ, there seems to be a wealth of euro-styled, trance -referencing, sing-along pure pop songs all over UK. Along with this is a desperate attempt to make these new singers (mostly female) into major celebrities – much like Gaga has. So we have Madame Gaga, Diana Vickers, Kelis, Kylie, Alphabeat, JLS, Heidi Montag, Kelly Rowland, Robyn and more. I bet you’ve not heard of half of these “artists”. Now, add in Gaydar radio (I wont provide a link because you don’t need it – trust me) which is a London web radio station which plays radio edits of said pop songs in dance floor remixed versions and it all becomes very, very annoying. Check out Pop Trash Addicts to get a flavour of what I’m talking about. I love though, their regular Pop Panel – bitchy, on-the-money review of the latest pop. Note: About here I’d put a link to a song – but given my views on this style of music – you’ll have to search it out yourself.
NZ bloggers Aaron & Andy wrote an opinion article claiming pop not being cool enough for the clubs. His quote “When I’m out drunk with friends, I like to hear music that is familiar. Music I can sing along to. And, dare I say it, music I can mince along to while pretending to be Lady Gaga or Britney” pretty much sums up what I saw and experienced on Saturday night. To my ears it sounds like music for 10 year old girls and 40 year old gay men – so I guess there is a market. Speaking of which, I went along to London’s XXL nightclub – which has a reputation as a bear club – only to hear the radio pop hits played for hours on end (yes I stayed that long). Seeing lots of bears and masculine men dancing to Kylie and Robyn seemed odd. I expected a tougher more masculine sound to match the look and attitude of the crowd.
Which leads me to wonder – how did the gay scene (once reknowned for being at the forefront of style and trends) end up here at radio-pop-remixes? Why are so many of my friends gushing over Glee, Gaga and Kylie, yet I run the other way? What are others hearing that I cannot?
Perhaps it’s due to the mainstreaming of gay culture and the need for many gay men to hang on to something that identifies them as different and special such as it was in the 70s and 80s. Does being integrated into society such as marriage being acceptable, mean gay men require the campness of pop to validate the supposed need to be “a bit girly” at times? I suspect its also a sympton of a high exposure to media – with people buying and listening to what it marketed at them and what their friends tell them is good. Maybe it’s not worth analysing. I think I’ll just assume that its the taste spectrum with me and the gays at opposite ends. What I do know is that I hear and buy a lot of fantastic music that inspires me and moves my heart, head and feet. I sometimes delight that most of it is my little secret and that those in that scene or with the same taste are united through our love of music not a sexuality.
Here is something that does make me smile – the new Lovebirds toon “Alright”