My post on Top of the Pops yesterday got me thinking about contemporary pop music. In my teens I knew pretty much everything in the top 40, and even up to a decade ago, I would have a pretty good idea of the most popular songs and have heard most of them. Now, pretty much nothing. On this list of the top 100 selling singles of 2014, there are only 4 I can state with confidence I’ve definitely heard. Most of the bands/artists I’m at least vaguely aware of, although by know means all of them. If anyone can enlighten me on who or what a Wankelnut is it would be much appreciated. And I’m assuming the Nico of Nico & Vinz is not the same Nico who collaborated with the Velvet Underground and dies in 1988 (although Michael Jackson also appears on the list, so hard to be sure).
It’s a shame, as there always used to be a handful of pop songs each year that I really loved, I can just no longer spare the time to sort through all the dross to get to them. Back in the late nineties when I did fall in love with pop records, they quite often turned out to be by Aaliyah, with ‘Try Again’ being a particular favourite.
Aaliyah died in a plane crash in 2001, and I happened to watching Eminem at the Reading Festival when the news was announced. He attempted to lead the crowd in a minute’s silence, and was supremely pissed off when there was still a lot of noise going on. Give the crowd were mainly made up of drunken teenagers, I very much doubt they had any idea what he was even saying. At a rock night back in Manchester a couple of weeks later I remember getting strangely annoyed when the DJ played a mash-up of ‘Try Again’ with a Nine Inch Nails songs. In my self righteous way I had decided it was not suitable respectful. Again, alcohol may have been involved.
The main reason this song has been on my mind though, is that I have been watching my daughter take her first faltering steps recently, and the lyric “if at first you don’t succeed, pick yourself up and try again” seems more literally apt than ever. This is one of the signs of a great pop song, from time to time, for the rest of time, it pops into your brain unexpectedly.