Thursday, 8 July 2010

Cos we are living in a material world and I am a material girl

It’s not often that I hear a song that is so excruciatingly unbearable that I have to switch off the radio. Admittedly, I could probably still write a polemic on the dire current state of popular music, but I shall refrain from doing so on this occasion. Instead, I desperately need to have a rant about the ridiculous content of a song I heard the other day.

It started off with all the trappings of every other song you hear nowadays – a gratingly nasal voice combined with barely discernable pronunciation and contrived rhymes, plus a bit of rap thrown in for good measure.

But it got worse. Once I had got past the mandatory whines and groans accompanying the start of every line and had actually made out the lyrics, I could not help but exasperate at how dreadfully money-obsessed my generation is. Take the chorus for example:
I wanna be a billionaire so fricking bad
Buy all of the things I never had
Uh, I wanna be on the cover of Forbes magazine
Smiling next to Oprah and the Queen

It’s not even like the artist (whose name, Travie McCoy, doesn’t exactly invoke connotations of grandeur) aspires to wealth for estimable reasons. Later in the song, he boasts about all the girls he could “pull” and the “Mercedes” he would drive if he had pots of money. Where have charity and community gone? The youth of today – myself included – seems to be getting swallowed up by this egocentric materialism endorsed by pop culture.

I’m not just blaming money-savvy Travie for this attitude towards wealth either. There’s recent pop sensation Ke$ha, whose money fixation appears to be so pronounced that a dollar sign has managed to find its way into her name. Add to that Kanye West, who rapped about the ‘Gold Digger’ women in his life some years ago, or Destiny’s Child, whose celebration of the ‘Independent Woman’ focused almost exclusively on financial freedom, championing the individual who can “pay (her) own bills” and “buy (her) own diamonds”. Even ABBA had something to say about the “rich man’s world” they lived in.

So perhaps times haven’t really changed at all, and Travie’s effusions were merely a crude awakening for me. Nonetheless, I still have faith that money isn’t everything. There are still plenty of songs that celebrate love and friendship besides those that concentrate on money. The hoards of tents that descend on mud-ridden Glastonbury every year prove that many people are prepared to sacrifice luxury in favour of good music. And Sir Paul McCartney’s “money can’t buy me love” attitude seems to have rung true, if his divorce settlement is anything to go by.

But do you know what’s worst of all? The song is horribly, deploringly catchy. That doesn’t mean I’ll be buying it though – no no, I certainly couldn’t afford the download fee…

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