Modern Pop Music

I seldom hear popular music these days, at least not since I tuned my alarm clock to a different radio station several months ago. I had been waking up to Radio 2, but could no longer be subjected to the music of Take That, which as it happens, is inexplicably popular amongst Radio 2’s core demographic of generic people. The final straw came when, one day, I was awoken by the offensive sounds of a Take That sound-alike band. Chris Evans, who had once entertained loutish men as the somewhat mean-spirited presenter of TFI Fridays, but is now masquerading as an inoffensive cheeky chappy on morning radio, introduced the song.

“That was Synergy,” Chris told listeners. “You’re listening to unsigned week here on Radio 2.” He then let slip that the band had just landed a no doubt lucrative record deal with Sony Music Entertainment, yet failed to realise how their placement on “unsigned week” might be deemed somewhat void.

My alarm clock radio really only had one purpose: to wake me up in the morning by playing, what I presumed would have been, easy on the ears ‘70s classics, along the lines of America and The Eagles. This is the kind of music I had come to associate with Radio 2, but alas, this was no longer the case. Instead, the songs played by Chris Evans’ breakfast show each morning were the same over-compressed chart toppers from the likes of Jessie J, and that fucking guy with the face. Given their almost clockwork appearance in the schedule, at the same time each morning, I can only presume that the BBC were taking song requests from major record companies. It was dreadful, as was Evans’ enthusiasm for the terrible music that he was playing. The only time that I heard him say something negative about one of the songs that he played was when he played a recent single from Ron Sexsmith, an incredibly talented songwriter, who boasts both Bob Dylan and Paul McCartney as fans.

Since the mid-1990s, Sexsmith has failed to reach mainstream audiences, but fuck him, right? He’s not as good as Take That, a group that once penned the lyrics: “We used to think we were the bomb; then someone left a real one,” words that with hindsight are arguably more horrific than any act of terrorism committed by the IRA.

Evans noted the frankly questionable similarity between the new Sexsmith single and Bruce Springsteen’s Girls In Their Summer Clothes (which itself is very similar to The Who’s The Kids Are Alright) and refused to play it ever again. It was laughably, considering that he regularly plays modern imitations, such as Noah and the Whale’s baffling L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N. and says absolutely nothing.

I gave another station a try, this time hoping that the 5 or so minutes of radio required to wake me up wouldn’t make me want to punch the fucking sun. I picked Smooth Fm, presuming it would exclusively wake me up to the sounds of The Bee Gees or, at worst, The Lighthouse Family, who these days seem almost credible in comparison to most of what Radio 2 plays. Well, I was right about both The Bee Gees and The Lighthouse Family, but there was one major problem: the Smooth Fm breakfast show is presented by Simon Bates, a veteran old-school DJ who is less self-aware than Alan Partridge. Bates comes across as rather angry for a man of his age, and for somebody who presents a radio show on Smooth Fm. He’s also bizarrely political, and prone to making disrespectful remarks about a young co-worker, Seb, who might possibly be one of them queers, like off the telly.

Perhaps my biggest gripe with Bates is his insistence on playing singer Marlon Roudette’s New Age, a relentlessly repetitive pop nightmare. Bates is particularly fond of the song (which he believes to be up and coming, despite it currently having 8,792,293 hits on YouTube) as he first heard it at corporate “Love Live Music” event designed to get stupid people to attend gigs. Despite the songs incredibly simple nature, Bates talks with such passion about the night that he witnessed it being performed that you’d be forgiven for thinking that Bates has confused Marlon Roudette with Miles Davis.

The song is nevertheless better than my new least favourite piece of music, which is easily the worst song ever conceived. It’s by the singer William (or “will.i.am”, in lowercase lettering, as he chooses to be known) from the Black Eyed Peas. It’s one of many erection-based songs in the charts at the moment, and it focuses primarily on William’s own erection, which he boasts as being “the hardest ever”. William, in fact, has christened the song T.H.E. (The Hardest Ever), having acutely observed that “The Hardest Ever” abbreviates to “the”.

A couple of years ago, William ruined Bob Dylan’s Forever Young, and now he’s back to stick his hard-on between the buttocks of another rock legend, this time Mick Jagger. William’s assault on Dylan was slightly different, however. With Dylan, he simply took his pre-existing track, and appeared halfway through hollering, “YO! YO! YO! YO,” like a child desperately seeking attention. It’s easy to picture William giving other creative works a similar treatment. Perhaps during a production of Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman he could run in halfway through, during a sensitive scene, to rap about his erect cock. Or maybe on page 254 of Joyce’s Ulysses, William could smear his own excrement on the page, just to remind readers of his unfortunately existence.

As I was saying, Jagger’s collaboration is somewhat different from Dylan’s. Jagger, perhaps because modern day idiots have learned that “swagger” rhymes with his surname, has become strangely popular with the youth of today, so much so that he is now attempting to cash-in on his success. The once respectable Mick embarrasses himself at the very end of T.H.E. by singing about William’s hard-on, describing it as being just “like rock ‘n’ roll”. But these aren’t even the worst lyrics of the song. The worst lyrics of the song would be: “I woke up like wood in the morning, hard like morning wood…in the morning.”

Yes, William is evidentially incapable of understanding similes. Behold a true wordsmith, describing something as being like itself, in the morning. Still, as William points out, creativity, wit and intelligence are redundant when singing about an erect penis. As Randy Newman once said in one of his self-penned, non-erection-based song: “It’s money that matters”. And William has plenty of that. “I get stacks of cash, you get cashews,” he sings, boasting about his undeserving riches during recession. “I go hard…statues. AHHHH!”

It’s almost as if he’s ridiculing the very people who buy his music. (“I’ve got loads of money; you’ve got nothing. Seriously, you buy this shit?”) And if the lyrics weren’t bad enough, the song impressively manages to sound like defecation, literally. This is four minutes and seven seconds of bowel movements. And that isn’t a joke; that’s genuinely what it sounds like. It’s a man with severe toilet issues crapping his brains out while singing about his stiff, no doubt embarrassingly-sized schlong.

T.H.E. and other modern pop songs have actually inspired me to write my own music. One, which I wrote in less than a minute, is called Willy Uppa (W.U.) and it accurately conveys what goes through my head when I get an unexpected erection on the bus. To help me sing my cock-based song, I’ve contacted one of my musical heroes, Iggy Pop, who would come in very briefly at the end to describe my erect phallus. He is yet to return any of my emails, but I’d naturally set his voice next to some awful default synth sounds in the final recording.

Willy Uppa (W.U.) by j.ack
On a bus with a sexual expression
On my face gonna give you the impression
That I’ve got a raging erection, grab my nuts…infection

Gotta gotta gotta (WOAH!)
Willy willy uppa (YO!)
Gonna gonna gonna (PO!)
Rub it rub it rub it rub it (GO!)

I’ve got a willy uppa and it’s the morning, y’all
It’s like a willy uppa and it’s in the morning, girl
My favourite actor is Val Kimmer, he’s
Like the greatest. Now I’ma rock some similes:

RUB A DUB DUB THANKS FOR THE CLUB!

[annoying fart-like noises]

Lemons are like lemons
Paper is like paper
Grass is like grass
Orange…door hinge

[sample of a woman having a orgasm]

Iggy Pop: That’s hard, that’s hard, that’s hard, etc.

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