Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Pop Music.

These days I cannot abide pop music. What passes for hits these days grate on my every nerve whenever I am stuck in a place where I cannot avoid having my ears and my mind assaulted by this rubbish.

Of course I do have positive feelings for much of the pop music that was around in my youth and during those years when I was disposed to not only listening to it, but celebrating it. There is always room for hypocrisy and chauvinism when it comes to one's own nostalgia. So I will admit to that up front.

Thus, I do whatever I can to avoid modern pop music. I don't intentionally listen to radio at any point, and I don't allow it to be played in any car that I am driving. If I'm behind the wheel, then by Jove I will dictate the state of the radio and the speakers assaulting my ears. If you have your own device with earphones...go at it. Just as long as I don't have to hear it.

But sometimes I do enjoy listening to the pop music of my youth--which covers a lot of ground. I did listen and follow pop trends from about the time I was six or seven--when the Beatles were leading the British Invasion of the US pop scene--up until about 1990 when I completely stopped listening to pop. Typically, if anyone brings up a group or so-called "artist" who appeared after 1990 I have no idea who, or what, they are talking about.

One of the pop groups from my youth that I would only grudgingly listen to was the Bee Gees. Today most people dismiss them as some kind of twisted aberration of the US and British music scene, discounting that they were almost constantly charting hits from the '60s and for the next four decades. But those same people were glued to the radio and buying Bee Gees records for all that time. I never bought a Bee Gees record, but I did sometimes listen to them.

The reason I even mention them now is because of Robin Gibb who was the sometimes lead singer, but often stuck in a supporting role as vocalist. For decades I had supposed that his voice was electronically enhanced in some way, and that most of his vocals were, in fact, the trio singing in tandem as harmony while he led.

But this was a misconception. That really was Robin Gibb singing solo. And, no, his voice was not being artificially enhanced, nor was it some kind of spliced-in harmony with his two brothers. It really was his voice.

Yeah. I was surprised. I've heard his voice referred to as an acquired taste, and I admit that it can be annoying. But there is something unreal about it--almost, I would say--supernatural. When I finally read that his voice was not being twisted in some electronic way I wondered how this was so. For a while I refused to believe that it was one person singing and that it was not, at least, being looped with multiple tracks.

Since then, I've heard it described as a kind of unique vibrato, or a strange kind of tremulous warbling. Whatever it was, it was singular, and now and again I'll find myself intentionally listening to tunes where he was the lead vocalist, or singing without the benefit of his brothers.

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