i finally watched the vma awards with jane last night. right. miley. but i want to acknowledge that we are actually in a really good and interesting phase of even maximally-commercial pop music right now: various, creative, and sometimes non-meaningless. it was awfully hard even for me not to be impressed by the like 20-minute justin timberlake extravaganza; if nothing else the dancing was brilliant, but actually it was pretty damn impressive in every respect. lady gaga is actually a serious and wild and highly sophisticated pomo performance artist, though the music has its ups and downs. but it's usually got an interesting bend. i suspect if you hung out with her a bit, you'd realize she's studying russian futurism and hannah wilke. bruno mars just killed on vocals, and obviously the soul revival continues apace. i'm not huge on katy perry, and one more self-esteem anthem is excruciatingly redundant. but her culminating performance under the brooklyn bridge shows exactly what i was saying about her in relation to miley: that was an extremely well-crafted object.
and i think macklemore has brought something absolutely necessary to hip hop at this moment, and also that he is good and interesting in every dimension. 'same love' is quite an inspiration, and the performance of it killed. honestly, i am pretty tired of jay-z and kanye, talented though they are. they're also kind of empty, and the songs make good sprite commercials and they are too beautifully produced, which to me gives them a glossy-bullshit quality. but mack brings that underground thing back again, which is where this music is alive. also, he has really thought about race, sexuality, and so on, and he expresses that directly and well. i do sort of excuse black overground mc's for crazed egomania, total devotion to brand-name consumer products, obsession with $$. oh you know it has to do with history of racism, origins in poverty, and so on. that doesn't mean it is ultimately a very admirable set of values, however, and there's room for whitey in the thrift shop too, obviously. also he has good flow; maybe not mad insane eminem/talib kweli/immortal technique flow, but good flow. they should have put him on the steps of the lincoln memorial on august 28 instead of, you know, boring hacks such as oprah winfrey and barack obama, because believe it or not i think something like that is as close as we get now to 'i have a dream.' so i think that song and several other moments actually meant something, which is never a given at such an event.
bands like fun or even mumford and sons, etc: look i have some reservations about actualy listening, but they do have something going besides computerized beeps and auto-tune. on the other hand a good dubstep or techno-type dance/drink song is fine, as long as there is some other stuff happening too.