Monday, September 06, 2010

The great divide

At some point just after Britpop breathed its acrid dying breaths, there was a church-and-state wall of separation schism between the shiny new Saturday morning fare in Boyzone's wake chasing a young audience and the grizzled, often post-Liam guitar holders. 'Pop' and 'Indie', of course, and it's never closed. Now that in singles sales terms the latter has retreated to nurse its own agenda, it's fascinating these days to watch which way certain new acts jump, because increasingly never the twain shall meet.

Taio Cruz, for instance. What do you know about Taio Cruz? Exactly. His last two singles have been number one, they went to 1 and 2 in America, yet unlike N-Dubz and Tinchy Stryder as contemporaries he's nowhere near a break into mainstream acceptance outside his core following. He's the least established genuinely consistently selling pop star in Britain, perhaps ever. On the other hand, you watch MTV Rocks (gnnh) or NME TV and wonder exactly how parts of their playlist qualify as 'the alternative' that the channels' MO represents. Hurts, for example. What in their influences or perceived soundalikes makes them away from commerciality? Answer: that's what they are. Men dressed as Belouis Some who take heed from Johnny Hates Jazz and have David Sneddon writing for them are part of the alternative because they aren't groomed (well, not in the career development sense of the word) for POP!!! as the modern audience knows it, and that's a peculiar situation. See also La Roux.

Maybe we've got so far and put so much into this divide that the pop kids of today don't understand any other method than to divide and conquer. Sure, we can appreciate Kanye or Janelle Morae, but they're American and thus of an alien, inclusive culture. Nobody seems interested in managing it in UK hipsterdom.

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