Pop is not trivial, frivolous, or fleeting. While it may or may not be popular -- for surely, not all pop music enjoys a wide audience -- Smarty Arty pop never panders. Born, or at least clearly enunciated, with the Beatles'... [more]
Pop is not trivial, frivolous, or fleeting. While it may or may not be popular -- for surely, not all pop music enjoys a wide audience -- Smarty Arty pop never panders. Born, or at least clearly enunciated, with the Beatles' studio work with George Martin, Smarty Arty pop presents discrete nuggets of friendly sounds, a swirling, whirling three-to-five minutes of pleasure. Today we see the Beatles' legacy continuing on in such bands as Ween and R.E.M. In Japan, there's been a recent uprising of Smarty Arty pop with the likes of Cornelius, Kahimie Karie, and Cibo Matto.
These bands produce eddies of delight, bubbly permutations of the surface -- like a spill of oil poised on the glimmering surface of a pavement's puddle. Which is to say, Smarty Arty pop is never moralistic; it's never concerned with the environment or with the tragedies of this or that country (even if bands which make Smarty Arty pop sometimes veer into that territory). Smarty Arty pop shamelessly enjoys the surface of things, the pleat and fold of the fabric of experience.
And pleat and fold it does: within the span of a mere several minutes, the listener is taken here and there and back. Guitars spiral, rhythms change, refrains refuse to return and then resurface at another juncture, in another guise. Smarty Arty pop actually has more in common with the complex compositions of classical music than it does with, say, folk or jazz. Smarty Arty pop is an exercise in contrived delight. [show less]