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I like creepy. The slow-tilt "Someone take these dreams away / that point me to another day" and the Skinny Puppy and most songs that are disturbing, they remind me that the obnoxious negative peace that gets generated by the false placidity of most pop songs is shallow and worthless to me. I don't hate love, I just think that it's easier to perpetuate myths about fluffy bunnies than it is to dig up deep truths about the odder nooks of the human psyche. Even harder is to get all the way out. I hate that pop and almost all radio have lost sight of the "persona" song where someone plays a character. I don't understand why so many pop songs are people pretending to pour out their innermost selves. But I'm occasionally stuck listening to the radio and pop culture keeps on calling me, so I listen. I could deconstruct paint drying, I really could.

Once again, I've stopped paying attention to my own subject line. Dr. MLK Jr., in the Letter from the Birmingham Jail wrote about how letting things slide, letting civil rights get trampled because you want everything to be fluffy bunnies, is "obnoxious negative peace" which does nothing but foster resentment in the long run. However you look at it, I'd rather hear "Red Right Hand" ten times a day for the rest of my life than Whitney Houston always loving you-ooh-ooh because it's a lot harder to sell the great undoing.

Dismantling reality or even going all the way out to cosmicism is a technically trickier move if you're into sweating the technique. It's harder to do. Petting the commonplace and making sure it's still there is a lot easier, from my perspective, than ripping a hole in the sky. It's like how people use the word "universal" to mean something that, from the eyes of the universe, is actually a teensy inconsequential blip of an occurrence on this teensy inconsequential blip of a planet. The universe is big. It doesn't care about the lyrics to "Disturbia."

Sometimes I hear a pop song and I dig it because it's creepy. Now, mind you, I can convince myself that "Pocketful of Sunshine" is a song about the joys of heroin, but "Disturbia" impressed me. I figured it had been written for Manson or something. Like "Coming in the Air Tonight" or "Possession" it was the kind of pop hit that I figured would have a creepy urban legend attached someday, but it's not a legend now...

What's wrong with me?
Why do I feel like this?
I'm going crazy now

No more gas, in the rig, can't even get it started
Nothing heard, nothing said, can't even speak about it
On my life, on my head, don't wanna think about it
Feels like I'm going insane, yeah

It's a thief in the night to come and grab you
It can creep up inside you and consume you
A disease of the mind, it can control you
It's too close for comfort


Put on your pretty lies, you're in the city of wonder
Ain't gon' play nice, watch out you might just go under
Better think twice, your train of thought will be altered
So if you must falter be wise

Your mind's in disturbia, it's like the darkness is light
Disturbia, am I scaring you tonight?
Disturbia, ain't used to what you like
Disturbia, disturbia

Faded pictures on the wall, it's like they talking to me
Disconnecting on calls, the phone don't even ring
I gotta get out or figure this sh** out
It's too close for comfort, oh

It's a thief in the night to come and grab you
It can creep up inside you and consume you
A disease of the mind it can control you
I feel like a monster, oh


Put on your pretty lies, you're in the city of wonder
Ain't gon' play nice, watch out you might just go under
Better think twice, your train of thought will be altered
So if you must falter be wise

Your mind's in disturbia, it's like the darkness is light
Disturbia, am I scaring you tonight?

Disturbia, ain't used to what you like
Disturbia, disturbia, disturbia

Release me from this curse I'm in
Trying to maintain but I'm struggling
If you can't go-o-o
I think I'm gonna ah, ah, ah, ah


Put on your pretty lies, you're in the city of wonder
Ain't gon' play nice, watch out you might just go under
Better think twice, your train of thought will be altered
So if you must falter be wise

Disturbia, it's like the darkness is light
Disturbia, am I scaring you tonight?

Disturbia, ain't used to what you like
Disturbia, disturbia

I liked it because it was darker than pop usually gets to be. It lacked the aghast self-distancing that even most dark acts have.

To find out that Chris Brown wrote it about himself and then decided the version with his vocals was too disturbing so he gave it to Rihanna makes it far more disturbed.

I liked it more when I thought it was a "persona."

Date: 2009-02-26 02:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] vee-ecks.livejournal.com
Yeah, Rihanna's cool. My GF listens to pretty much nothing but Florida's constant soundtrack in the car when the radio's on: currently popular dance music. I tend to tune most of it out as it all sounds about the same, but Rihanna hooked me a few years ago when "Pon de Replay" came out and I heard her do that line about "Shake it 'til the moon becomes the sun" the first time.

Date: 2009-02-26 03:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nihilistic-kid.livejournal.com
I like Rhianna reclaiming the Numa Numa song for cool people.

Date: 2009-02-26 04:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] vee-ecks.livejournal.com
That and the song based on the "Tainted Love" sample, which is such an amazing hall of mirrors reference-within-references.

If I didn't like black girls who sing like fucking angels, I'd have to start hating music.

Date: 2009-02-26 04:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nihilistic-kid.livejournal.com
Ah yes!

So is repurposing synthpop her gimmick or something?

Date: 2009-02-26 04:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] vee-ecks.livejournal.com
No, not really. She did that and the Numa Numa thing around the same time. But, you know, reworking eighties shit and dance club classics always carries a certain cachet and has for a while in several related genres. So people doing IDM do it and so do the chart-topping hip-hoppers and whatnot.

Rihanna's not a musician or somebody who writes her own material, AFAIK - all this stuff is written by various teams of hit makers, the same people who write Britney's and Christina's and Katy's songs. She just does them a lot better.

I just like dance music in general, when it doesn't suck. And because of Evonne's and my daughter's tastes in music, I hear a lot more of the poppier end of it these days than I would normally. Hell, there was actually a *Will Smith* song a few years back I liked a lot, like I thought that was ever going to happen.

Date: 2009-02-26 04:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] readingthedark.livejournal.com
I'm obviously less of a fan than Robert, but the "replay" one and the "tainted love" one are better than must pop rdio stuff, but "disturbia" is beautifully spooky. The eighties rip off phenomenon ended yesterday when a shoe ad (or whatever) used a cheesy cover of depeche's "just can't get enough."

Date: 2009-02-26 04:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] vee-ecks.livejournal.com
Well, hell, I mean: "Umbrella" is *amazing* and thank god Britney Spears passed on it. It's everything an awesome pop song should be, and really, is there any finer sentiment in the world, ever, than "You can stand under my umbrella?" This is like all anybody ever wants out of life, somebody to say that, right there in one catchy phrase. Songs like this are the whole reason for the musical subgenre of songs about "The radio totally saved my life," and boy did like half the bands I like best do *that* song.

Date: 2009-02-26 04:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] readingthedark.livejournal.com
Umbrella was one of those monster hits that defined an ear, certainly, and the ella-ella-ella bit was so cachy. I think fourteen thousand people covered it because of the simplicity of that bit, especially because I felt most of them butchered the "sun don't shine forever" part because Rihanna's range owned it.

Date: 2009-02-26 04:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] readingthedark.livejournal.com
I'm one of those people who finds Will Smith really likable. So he has a few that I tolerate. "Switch" is one of those higher bpm rap songs that veers into industrial squeals, clanking and such. It wasn't as cool as it would've been if bigod 20 had done it and it pales in comparison to this puff daddy, biggie and nin collabo:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1qEGyvkcFco
but I, too, like dance music as long as it's synthy, noisy and fast.

Date: 2009-02-26 04:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] vee-ecks.livejournal.com
That's totally the song I liked, "Switch."

I like Bigod 20, too. Supercute and some of the singles are always on my player.

Date: 2009-02-26 04:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] vee-ecks.livejournal.com
Oh yeah, BTW, I almost went and saw Smith when he was first the Fresh Prince, only because JJ Fad was supporting him and I *loved* them. I didn't end up going because I just didn't want to pay to go see Will Smith. I have regretted not seeing JJ Fad ever since.

Date: 2009-02-26 05:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] readingthedark.livejournal.com
That is so Dre. That moment at 31 secods in where the loop intentionally tramples the beatboxing, that ticking, the burble at a minute in, the swervy lurching bass noises that make things shimmer if it's loud enough, all trademarks at the time that weird giggle around 2:20...and stuff the Neptunes are still ripping off. That girl (I wonder if her name really is Nicky, she hasn't shown up on Facebook yet) would tremble and jitterbug at the fast parts. Wiki says that there's hope for a tour, so you may get yur chance, twenty years later.

Date: 2009-02-26 05:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] vee-ecks.livejournal.com
Eh, not really into that. Woulda rather seen them when.

Date: 2009-02-26 05:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] readingthedark.livejournal.com
But now they'll be so inexpensive to book that they can play a bbq at your house!

Date: 2009-02-26 05:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] vee-ecks.livejournal.com
Or I can just go to the county fair and watch them on a triple bill with Cheap Trick and Blue Oyster Cult.

Date: 2009-02-26 05:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] readingthedark.livejournal.com
Even better, I just dug around and that song wasn't actually Dre, though it was his posse and half of NWA were involved and he did half the album. Along the way, I saw even more reunion mentions.

Date: 2009-02-26 05:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] readingthedark.livejournal.com
I'm fascinated by how certain hits live on more fully in certain parts of the country. I live near Boston. Metallica are nowhere near as big among disaffected youth as they are in the redneck nooks of Upstate NY where I'm from. Metallica, Ozzy and Maiden are popular in western Mass, but in Upstate NY, some cults are worshipping those bands into their third generation by now. "Switch" was played three times in a row at my cousin's wedding in South Carolina because no one could imagine getting really drunk without playing "Switch." And "Supersonic" was a girl named Nicky at my high school's favorite song. So much so that when she left town, her friends still requested it...

Date: 2009-02-26 05:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] vee-ecks.livejournal.com
This is the wonder and majesty of music, which is a pretty good thing to obsess over if you've got to obsess over something.

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