Saturday, June 21, 2008

Prince of Darkness, meet King of Pop

Oh my word.

I don't know what's happening to me.

I think it started when I cut my hair. Like a musical Samson, my shredding superpowers were locked in my locks. Severed from my head, they went into the garbage, along with any skill I might have.

Oh, it's a bad, bad business. My Dream Theater CD's sit idle, and what's on my playlist? Well, there's respected rock fare such as Ozzy, Hendrix, SRV....And then there's Michael Jackson.

One of my clients wanted to learn "Billie Jean," and doggone it, that is a catchy tune. I guess there's a reason why Thriller did relatively well..! I can see all my super heavy metal readers shaking their heads in disgust, and burning the effigy of Pop. I would have a few years ago, too.
One thing I've been noticing about Pop, however. There's a reason why it sells more records than the latest Petrucci solo album. And man, I hate most pop. I usually equate it with twelve year old airheads snapping gum and listening to the ferret like canuck singing about "sk8er bois,"
or worse yet, The Brit. (I had this weird dream the other night that I was the new owner of Ms. Spears' pet tropical fish, and that nobody was going to believe me, but that's another story...)

Now, finally getting to the point. Pop teaches a powerful lesson. Music that people like sells records. Ha ha! And we can be a bit more specific - catchy stuff is good once in a while.
One of my recurring themes is how each style of music has a particular quality, or energy. Metal's got the "rip your face off" thing happening, Jazz is the Infinite Cool...And Pop is singable. Even the instrumental parts. Am I saying cut your hair, trade your axe-dripping-dragon-blood guitar for a conservative one, give up arpeggios, and start writing love songs? NOOO. But, we can all learn something from the stuff that people generally like. I guess that's why it's called "popular" music.

Hey, I think the successful guys in rock and metal do this. Just check out "Iron Man" for a singable riff! How about the intro to "Crazy Train?" The Prince of Darkness and the King of Pop aren't on completely different pages. And everybody scrunches up their face and rocks out to the air guitar anthem of "Smoke on the Water."

So check it out - perhaps in the quest for musical excellence, world domination, and superhuman technique...We could add "singable" to just one or two riffs....It won't mean you've gotta moonwalk. (But I plan on learning!)

Walk On!

PS. I wonder if you could headbang and moonwalk at the same time..?


Anonymous said...

"I wonder if you could headbang and moonwalk at the same time..?"

Don't even try it, Urban.

Monster Paperbag said...

I think the current bass player of Metallica did exactly that in an MTV show.