Am I Deaf Yet? #2 and In Praise of Pop

January 18, 2010 § Leave a comment

Many a music nerd has written with gusto and enthusiasm of their love for pop. Perhaps it’s a statement of reaffirmation one has to make in order to remember why and to justify all the time spent listening, writing, enjoying, seeking out, talking about. I don’t plan on being an exception, unless you’re Dorothy Parker, people love to discuss the things they love and I love pop music. The exuberance of a good song, the immediacy or the delicate introspective nature, or the connection even when you’re alone, or the rawness, the purity. These are the things that make pop music relevant. It brings people together, and creates communities–a conversation. When Morrissey or Ian Curtis are singing about being alone, I am alone with them. A good pop song can be distantly close–the sort of reserved intimacy of a fragile song by Felt or the jolting, celebratory, thrashing nature of a song by The Buzzcocks. There is a transcendent quality that Modernist painters could only have ever dreamed of in pop music. It’s colours exploding or the droning in your head, on the street, in your lovelife. In failures of others we see in ourselves; we see the world, but goddamn, those failures can make amazing and honest songs. I don’t mean honesty in the sense of autobiographical or historical, but honesty in the sense of some subjective truth or truth in our collective memories. Pop music is true.

So now that I’ve confessed my love for pop, it seems only appropriate to present today’s selection for my diet towards going deaf, which is “Far Away” by Cut Copy. First off, I would like to address the issue of writing about a song that is no longer brand new, but also not old or retro–it’s a bit of a faux pas to do so. That said, I’m doing it anyway, because after listening to this song for nearly 2 years, it is still robust and fresh and not in the least exhausted or passé. The song is perfect pop, if I dare say so. It rides the border between pop and electronica deftly, allowing polished elements from the latter genre to cohere with the joy of the former. Layers of sound dynamically erupt in bleeps, pulsing basslines, swift drumming, synth stabs and clean guitar, culminating with vocals that encourage one to sing along. The album, In Ghost Colours, is a half accurate title, while colour is all I can think about when listening to this song and the rest on the album, ghosts are far and away from me, indeed this song and the album too, are very much alive. Simply put, “Far Away” combines conventions of the pop song structure, the same earnestness and soul, with the complex elements of electronica without the sometimes sterile results. For these reasons, I think the song will remain a favourite of mine for years.

…and for interested parties, one of my favourite remixes of the song.

-Stay Gold

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