So it’s 2013. It’s the future. I wonder what I thought music would be like in 2013 when I was 15, however many years ago that was. Dance music was an obvious direction to move in, it always FELT futuristic, perhaps because it was created on ever-more advanced computers. Computers would continue to develop, and so the sound of dance music would to.
To some extent this has happened. Pop, dance and more recently RnB artists have embraced technology and never looked back. One of the side-effects of this is that there’s almost a class divide. Your lower-rent acts making do with whatever technology their labels can afford, and the A-list acts having access to the more advanced systems, and maintaining that veneer of being the best at what they do.
At the root of it, you can do what you like with the production, but you really need a great song at the heart of it too. Production can’t create a great melody or write some amazing heartfelt lyrics. If you’re lucky you might get away without having these key elements, but it’s by no means an exact science.
will.i.am has carved a niche as one of the big producers of the day, more as the frontman of the Black Eyes Peas than for his solo work. But he seems to be making it his life’s goal to work out how exact to bypass the heartfelt lyrics or the melody, and create songs about nothing. The last clutch of Black Eyed Peas singles have been pretty derivative nonsense, and his previous solo work hasn’t really been anything to write home about.
So in 2013 (well, late 2012) we get “Scream and shout”, a song about nothing. It’s beyond the normal brainless LMFAO party anthem, it’s just about being in a club and erm… screaming and shouting, over a typically Black Eyed Peas backing track. That’s pretty much it. The other stuff doesn’t even make sense, why are we saying “Ohhh-we-ohhh-we-ohhhh”? It’s an even more primitive version of his already-iffy “T.H.E.”.
What about a car-crash to get people watching though. Enter Britney. After a great 2011 on the US download charts, Britney is still a potent commercial draw (I know, right?). So she puts her best robot vampire face on for the video, and an astonishing English accent – or at least I think that’s what it is.
Perhaps that’s what’s got me so interested in this, other than the fact that it’s conquered pretty much every iTunes countdown on the planet. I feel that one day I’ll listen to it and ‘get’ it, some hidden depth. But I suspect this is the bottom. A worrying feeling when something like this can sleepwalk its way to worldwide success just by attaching some big names and a glossy but nonsensical pop video. Is this the future? Or am I just getting old?