Sky Ferreira’s 2013 album Night Time, My Time is one of the few pop records I have returned to consistently since it came out. Major props for referencing David Lynch’s Fire Walk With Me
About a year and a half I was in Kyoto, Japan. I was walking back to the hotel solo and I started to take a shortcut through a mall. Ferreira has a song called Omanko in which she sings about a Japanese Christmas. I will never forget coming up an elevator and seeing a giant Japanese Christmas display while that song played. It was one of those times when the music you happen to be listening to and your surroundings find complete synchronicity. The snow and costumes were the same as ours. However, most of the characters in those costumes looked like they were from The Legend of Zelda. I often wonder if other countries are as befuddled with our Holiday characters, as I was with theirs? Who knows such things…
Yeah, I’m totally going to queer my own hustle, but I love Cyndi Lauper. My girlfriend just went to see her and called me in what sounded like an ecstatic sing along of Girls Just Want to Have Fun. I always wanted my band, No Show Ponies, to take the stage to that for some good homoerotic fun, just before we would tear into one of our more venomous numbers like Make Businessmen Cry. That’s just the kind of guy I am. It still may happen someday.
Even though many the of artists that I hold most dear to my heart take the roads least traveled, there is a large part of me that loves pop music. Good pop music is alchemy when the right singer is paired with the right song and melody. The singer might not have anything particularly brilliant to say on their own, and the song itself might be average in the hands of mere mortals, but when the two are paired together there is a magic that happens. Listen to Cyndi Lauper sing Money Changes Everything or Drove All Night. Her voice is like a jet plane taking off. With a bottle of brandy I could spin in a circle to such numbers. I imagine many boys looking cross-eyed as such exclamations, but many boys who claim to be tough are those that are most afraid.
Lately I feel like there has been a resurgence of great girl pop music. Chvrches, Haim, and Sky Ferreira, amongst many others, have been singing candy gloss melodies over 80’s style pop merged with various kinds of indie noise. Each of those artists is slightly different, and may have different amounts of credibility that allows them to hold up to the scrutiny of time, but they are all enjoyable in the moment for much of the same reason: They have the right singer with the right melodies.
I’m sure there are roots music purists that will hold their nose at such artists. Let them. I can’t think of anything less authentic than a suburban kid that claims to be the heir to Johnny Cash. Johnny Cash grew up picking cotton. Wearing a cotton shirt to Starbucks just doesn’t cut it. That’s not to say that you can’t make great roots music and grow up in the suburbs. Just don’t claim any moral superiority while doing so.
I remember one time my brother and I were drinking and dancing around the living room to Erasure, which has a male singer that for all intensive purposes might as well be female, and my dad walked in. He just gave us a strange look and kept walking. We never grew up with any kind of shame. So tonight I have zero shame in expressing my love for just the right kind of glossy female pop music. I just want to; I just want to have fun.