Putting aside the matter of whether or not I like today’s Top 40 sound — which skews heavily in favor of the right side of my pairings: feminine, glam, synth, etc. … — my question is: will it go on forever? Is today’s studio-centric hegemony a build-up to a hairpin turn toward performance-driven, sweaty musicianship — a playing out of history’s many earlier revolutions in mainstream sound — or … with apologies to Fukuyama, [is this] the end of music?
The above is a meditation on pop culture that segues into the adolescent’s phenomenon of psyche that you felt once too and maybe forgot.
Pop culture never dies — at least not as long as there is a medium of mass transmission. Back in the day, a friend’s mom told us that as you get older, you lose touch with popular culture until your own kids start following it, which is when you once again become interested in it.
Now, though, popular culture is fragmented. Naturally so, as Anglophone countries are a mess of alien cultures, which necessitates that the industry’s mass-distribution products cater to a watered-down lowest common denominator of sophistication and authenticity. People naturally coalesce around their own and gravitate to purer expressions of their temperament. And now, a new development makes the centralized entertainment industry less relevant and helps with niche-formation: the internet-driven dispersal of talent. One word: YouTubers.
There are several who are popular with White kids. The big names on that scene have hundreds of thousands of subscribers, millions of daily views, upper-bracket incomes from their channels. Collins Key is one such act. It’s two young California brothers, Collins and his younger bro Devan. Cool looking dudes, excellent positive energy, astounding creativity.
Their show is profanity-free and makes absolutely zero references to politics or culture-war stuff. What their act is, is hyper-energy slapstick, very often involving insanity with food. Representative episodes:
Devan’s wisdom teeth. If you or your friends have biological brothers, then you understand the bond. Beat each other up in childhood, have each other’s back for life. The younger brother Devan is under the influence of narcotics, having just come down off dental surgery. Funny as always, but you also see the fraternal bond.
Collins, who is recording this episode, gets on camera after the 11-minute mark… that’s when the yodeling starts. Now you’ve seen everything.
The messy twins telepathy challenge. (See the video below). The Merrell Twins are regular guests on Collins’ show. Pretty girls, and here they are mercilessly abused by Collins good and proper, and loving every moment of it. If I hadn’t mentioned it yet, the young man is a natural alpha and likable.
In that episode, the twin girls blurt out the name of their favorite band: Five Seconds Of Summer. Never heard of them, so I looked them up; “She Looks So Perfect” is one of their older songs. It’s from five years ago. It’s not a new style for a new generation; it sounds to me like classic Taylor Swift with its youthful energy and soft verse / hard chorus pattern that comes from grunge, which in turn is borrowed from 1980s alternative Rock.
The song’s video shows people having fun and, you know, stripping down to their underwear. I’m sure that’s a metaphor for being honest with each other, like those dreams everyone has about being naked. The aesthetic is California (mostly) blond. What’s not to like in seeing nothing but kin faces? The video does show diversity: age, body type, socioeconomic status — a full social ecosystem. What you ask — what about the you-know-what-I-mean Diversity? I know not of what you speak. All the diversity that needs be shown is right there in that music video.
Back to “The Messy Twins Telepathy Challenge.” It’ll put a huge smile on your face: