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"Trying To Look Hip (The three stages of the Popular Arts)"

The three stages of the Popular Arts are: 
1. Cool, 
2. Corny; 
and 3. Retro. 

Popular art first goes through a Cool stage, 
when it’s new and “in”. 
People want to be associated with it 
If they don’t get it, they pretend they do. 
It makes them feel hip. 

As soon as it’s “out” it enters its “Corny” phase. 
People start to make fun of it. 

I heard Carson Daly on the late night show 
making fun of the group “Chicago”. 
“Chicago” is far better than any popular music out there today. 
They are accomplished musicians and singers. 

The bands Carson has on his show are pathetically amateur, 
and should be quarantined to protect public mental health. 
He wants to appeal to the young audience. 
He wants to look hip. 

I guess “Chicago” has entered the Corny phase... 
or I have. 

After a while things aren’t Corny anymore. 
They become “Retro” and are hip all over again. 
This is good 
except when the new kids try to imitate the old, 
they never get it quite right. 
You had to be there. 

There have been resurrections of clothing styles, 
in the fashion magazines and movies, 
but they always miss the mark. 

We can’t judge singers, writers, comedians, and actors out of their time. 
The good ones have been copied over and over 
until the original seems corny. 
Also, the material often relates to current events of the time. 

I like to follow a singing, writing, and musical performance 
back from influence to the influence before that, and so on. 
Sort of like genealogy only different. 

A lot of today’s country singers don’t realize 
they are second or third generation offshoots 
of Lefty Frizzell or George Jones. 

If there were such a course as Popular Art Appreciation, 
it would include trips back to the roots of what’s happening now. 
It would help the new guys stay on course. 

The Pop music of today is at an all time low, 
and that’s not easy to achieve 
considering “Sh-Boom Sh-Boom”. 

When the non-music of today passes from “in” to “out”, 
it will be the corniest ever. 

Many of the current Rock bands use only one chord, 
and everybody’s out of tune, 
especially the lead singer. 
They leap spastically around the stage 
with less sincerity than professional wrestling. 
It’s embarrassing, 
but I don’t think they know it. 

I can’t imagine a brain weak enough to fall for it. 
But, there they are, 
in large numbers. 

A scary thought: 
Soon they will vote. 

© May 1, 2003 Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved.

 

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