Remember, the name of the blog is Just Plain Stupid. I say this to lower your expectations because if there are two subjects nearly every non-brain-dead adult knows more about than me, those two things are, physical fitness and Pop music.
I was raised in the 60s and 70s. All the way through High School, radios, record players, and garage bands were playing the greatest selection of popular tunes in history.
And when that incredible music came on my boxy clock radio (boxy because back then clock radios had moving clock arms… LED lights weren’t around yet,) I rolled my eyes and turned my radio dial in search of Larry Glick.
A few years later, the shock of musical meadow muffin that was disco had little effect on me. I was listening to Celtics play-by-play with Johnny Most.
But even I could tell that disco was crap. How many freaking songs can you do with the same drum beat?
Fast-forward forty years, and I’m on a treadmill at the gym, and feeling about as steady as John Travolta riding the mechanical bull on Urban Cowboy. I’m wearing ear-plugs because none of the TVs suspended from the ceiling have reruns of The Tick. I’m promising myself that if I can just stay on the treadmill one more mile; I can ignore exercise for the rest of the month.
I’m also cursing the makers of Dollar Tree ear plugs because in spite of jamming orange polypropylene down into my cochlea, the Pop music is just as loud as it was before.
“What is this crap we’re hearing?” I ask the wobbly runner next to me.
“That’s Taylor Swift,” she answers.
Though I’ve heard the name before, the blonde on the flat screen was unfamiliar, except as yet another Scarlett Johansson wanna-be.
“So they’re playing a collection of music they made for gyms?” I ask.
She looks at me to see if I’m serious. “That’s the number one Pop song right now.”
“Really? It has the same beat as the last six songs.”
“They all sound like that now – if you want something different you have to go to rap, country, or hip-hop.”
“So all Pop music has the same beat?”
“So how’s this different than disco?”
“This is cardio!” she said looking at me like I’d asked her if Barry Manilow was white.
But what is cardio but a beat – now a ubiquitous beat much like disco was in 1979. Disco shamed us for decades and now we’re doing the same stupid thing again? Are we condemned to pass this corkscrew point repeatedly as Pop music descends into hell.
Descends into hell, you ask? Isn’t that a bit over the top? Well, it’s certainly not ascending.
Aside from an occasional tune from Elvis Costello, Phil Collins, Whitney Houston, or Disney’s Little Mermaid, (Le Poisson rocked!) the landscape of Pop music has been bleak for the last 40 years. Do we need to do this again? Are we trying to reopen Studio 54, but this time in workout clothes? Should I expect Justin Bieber to remake Richard Simmon’s Sweating to the Oldies?
Why can’t we just leave our past inanities in the past?
And can someone get me off this freaking treadmill?
I might be in better shape if they had Weird Al vids at the gym.