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Thursday, August 28, 2008

In Defense of Top 40

On her blog, "Writing in a Vortex," the talented L.A. Mitchell offered six interesting tidbits about herself this week and opened up the meme to the rest of us, should we be so inclined. L.A. expressed, shall we say, a rather harsh opinion of Top 40 music. (Yes, it's true! Read her 8/26/08 post and you'll see!) So I felt I must take it upon myself to defend the genre.

Six Things I LOVE About Top 40:

1. Creativity in group monikers. I mean, c'mon. The name The White Stripes has nothing on on Wang Chung. Nothing.

2. Priceless lyrics. Who could forget the immortal words of Michael Jackson's "We Are the World," eh? Not only are we the world, but we are the children, and we're the ones who make a brighter day, so... (Don't tell me you can't finish that chorus. I know you can.)

3. Something for "American Idol" hopefuls to use to distinguish themselves. What would those high-soprano females sing (or, more accurately, screech) if it weren't for Mariah Carey, Celine Dion and Whitney Houston?

4. Longevity (well, sometimes). Bon Jovi is STILL hot. It's been 20 years and that group STILL rocks. Will Busta Rhymes have that kind of staying power, huh? In two decades, will the lead singer of Incubus look as great in leather pants as my buddy Jon B.? (Then again, Howard Jones kind of faded away, didn't he?)

5. Cool accessories. Admit it--some of you out there are longing to own the Backstreet Boys Party Pack http://backstreetboys.shop.bravadousa.com/Product.aspx?cp=1010_4139&pc=BGBACOMBO02 or the N'Sync Light-Up Yo-Yo http://www.oldglory.com/lp/product/~category_id=MUS_1760/~product_id=007191NSMI;jsessionid=dh889zukz2rd . I dare even Kenny Chesney to produce such an interesting and useful product line. Or Yo-Yo Ma, for that matter.

6. Personal soundtrack. The Top 40 provides songs to fit almost any occasion. This week alone we could sing along with V.I.C. to "Get Silly," follow Metro Station's advice and "Shake It" or have "The Time of My Life" with David Cook. (Full disclosure: Coldplay's "Viva La Vida" and "It's Not My Time" by 3 Doors Down are really the only two songs on this week's list that I like. Miley Cyrus scares me too much, but I'm trying to be fair and give Kardinal Offishall's smash hit "Dangerous"--featuring Akon--a chance because, you know, I'm openminded that way... :-)

So, there. Valuable stuff to be found in our Top 40. Flip on your radio and enjoy--at least for a song or two.

12 comments:

L.A. Mitchell said...

haha...I'm so glad you took the meme and ran with it. In a moment of weakness, we can find common ground with my Mississippi boys, 3 Doors Down, but we shall always share the supreme adoration *wink*wink*

You are too funny, girl :)

Marilyn Brant said...

Glad you liked it, L.A. :) And, yes, a certain musician will always be our main man...

Hope you have a great Labor Day weekend!

Caryn Caldwell said...

I admit my radio ends up on stations that play top forty songs much of the time, although I like fewer and fewer of them as time goes on. I just can't listen to the vocal gymnastics that are so popular with some singers. Thank goodness for XM radio; there's almost always something.

Sandra Ferguson said...

I think my ears are old because it's the old Top 40 that so appealed to me. The new stuff . . . not so much. Take me back to the 70s and leave me happy. Of course, that era wouldn't appeal to LA. I have shoes older than she is. Laugh, LA, you know it's true. You also know that I probably still have them stuck in the back of a closet.

My favorite world now is soundtracks. Can't get enough when I'm writing.

L.A. Mitchell said...

Actually, people, my sister was a teenager in the 70's, so I grew up sitting on her bed amidst blacklight and Charlie's Angels posters and listening to Supertramp and the Bee Gees and so many others. I could TOTALLY win a karaoke contest from that era were it not for my singing ability :O

Marilyn Brant said...

Caryn~Isn't XM radio the greatest?! We had it in our rental car when we were in FL and fell in love with it... I want it in my real car now :).

Sandra and L.A.~LOL, you two!! I've gotta admit, it was MUCH harder trying to come up with good Top 40 examples from today than from the 70s and 80s. I miss those musical eras. And, yeah, I also miss the cool shoes! Here's hoping those retro, black, knee-high platform boots make a comeback. (Got any of those in your closet, Sandra? :-)

Caryn Caldwell said...

Marilyn, I'm listening to XM right now, in fact. It's nice because as long as you have at least one subscription you get online access to music for free. I use the online channels more often than the actual ones in my car, since I don't drive much unless I have to.

Robin said...

Oh my gosh! I just saw Howard Jones in a concert in the park a few weeks ago! He still sounded great! And I couldn't help but sing along. This was a great list, Marilyn. I loved it! I enjoy all sorts of music, and okay, I'll admit it. If I'm in the car on Sunday morning I'll tune in to Ryan Seacrest's Top 40 countdown.

Marilyn Brant said...

Caryn~I'm convinced I'll need to spring for an XM radio subscription, too--the more I learn about it, the more I wanna have it!

Robin~You saw Howard Jones??!! OMG! I had no idea he was still performing!! I'm glad to hear it, though, and also glad you had a great time at the show. Of course, there's no way I'm going to get "Life in One Day" out of my head now... :-)

Pam said...

Ah, the 80s. Big hair, ripped or ruffled clothes and music that meant nothing.

Damn, I miss those times.

Marilyn Brant said...

Me, too, Pam :).

Well, the music, anyway. My hair never left the '80s...

Pamala Knight said...

LOL, Marilyn my love!!!

Now that I can see once again, it was great to see this post. I think that you should add advocate/lawyer/something similar to your already impressive list of talents because you just defended Top 40 in a brilliant manner.

I'll miss seeing you tonight--hubby is on duty at the firehouse and it's a school night. Enjoy and I'll try to make the next meeting.