Monday, April 23, 2012

Annals of Pop Culture Illiteracy

So the other day I was luxuriating, as is my wont from time to time, in the great comforting warm bath that is the New York Times Arts and Leisure section, when I chanced upon the following, by World's Most Irksome Rock Critic™ Jon Caramanica:
Pick your poison: the simp or the cad. Being held through the night or getting a high five on the way out the door. Warm and fuzzy or cold and brusque. Pretty lies or ugly truth.
Jason Mraz, well, he would never hurt you. That’s been clear for years, but never more so than on his 2008 hit “I’m Yours,” a live show trifle that ended up becoming one of the most indelible pop songs of the last decade [emphasis mine]...[a song that] indicated the continuing vitality — if not originality — of soft rock, a genre maligned to the bones but stubborn.

Here's the song in question, BTW.

In any case, I bring this up for a couple of reasons. Number One: I was sort of vaguely aware that Jason Mraz is some kind of a pop star, but I was of course deeply relieved to learn that he's also the kind of sensitive Alan Alda-ish guy who would never hurt you. Kudos, Jason; obviously you're a credit to your generation, especially compared to that cad John Mayer.

Number Two: Swear to god, I had never heard that particular song before just now. Thus proving that not only am I completely out of it in terms of current popular music, but that I'm completely out of it in terms of current popular music that isn't even remotely cutting edge. Heh.

19 comments:

FD13NYC said...

Seriously, I don't know how anyone listens to this snoozy crap by Mraz or Mayer for that matter. I'd rather listen to Christopher Cross.

We all are not out of it in terms of current popular bland soft music. We just have better taste.

Sal Nunziato said...

"We all are not out of it in terms of current popular bland soft music. We just have better taste"

FD13NYC--Ha! That's great!

I am usually open to pop music. But my least favorite thing in the world is light-weight, white boy reggae. This is the musical equivalent of Halvah.

And that putz with the Eraserhead tee and the schmatta on his head, is doing the opposite of what he thinks his get up is doing.

buzzbabyjesus said...

I'm going to pass on even hearing this. It's just more evidence that what we once thought of as music, and why we're all here, is no longer relevant. It's over. The music has died.

Shriner said...

Leaving American Idol on in the background while I do other things exposes me to stuff like this.

I would have never heard "Hallelujah" otherwise, as an example.

I don't know if that's good or bad, actually.

steve simels said...

I heard "Hallelujah" for the first time in SHREK. Make of that what you will.
:-)

buzzbabyjesus said...

Smart, talented people make movies like Shrek.

Billy B said...

Crap - I listened to the tune and now I can't get it out of my head.

Arrrgh!!!

Jerry Lee said...

Oh God no, he's scat singing. Does he make those stupid faces in concert too? Not that I want to go to find out...

Peter said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Peter said...

Hey, buzzbabyjesus: You don't need to hear the Jason Mraz song. It's yet another one of the hundreds of modern pop songs that employ the same four chords. And once you've heard any one of those songs, you've heard the others.

Sal Nunziato said...

Steve,

Never even heard John Cale's "Hallelujah," which was 15 years before "Shrek?" That's when I first heard it.

steve simels said...

Sal --

Nope. I wasn't a Leonard Cohen fan at all ever, and hadn't listened to Cale after the early 80s.

What can I tell you.

Anonymous said...

Just the natural evolution of things like "Baby I'm-a Want You" and "Summer Breeze"...

Anonymous said...

Don't you get it, he's young and sensitive.

We're old and bitter. Can I admit I took an instant disliking to him and could only bear 54 seconds of this.

ROTP(lumber)

Anonymous said...

Hello all...please, remain seated.

Well, ok, I guess I'll man-up and confess the following...
As the dad of a 17 year old high-schooler, I've heard Mr. Mraz's song. Often. Tell you the truth, I liked it even though it got played out. But then again, I liked "Baby I'm-a-want-You" and "Summer Breeze". Sorry anonymous. While I'm at it, I think the Plain White T's have had a couple of killer singles.

Finally...the first I heard of Hallelujah was a couple of years ago - Jeff Buckley's version. It was, and is, amazing. If you play the guitar, his intro sounds REALLY cool and it's not so hard to play. Then I heard KD Lang's version...also amazing. I refuse to listen to Leaonard Cohen's version. Not my cuppa.

So...my question. Having confessed above, have I proven myself a total music wuss? Just put it on my long list of "things I need to atone for" :)

regards,

RichD

Sal Nunziato said...

I will defend Bread to my death.

Sal Nunziato said...

I will.

Peter said...

Hey, RichD: I don't think there's anything you need to atone for. You're a person who likes the music you like. Other people like what they like. Simple.

Gardner said...

I'm with you, RichD, and I'm seeking no atonement here.

My daughter loves Jason Mraz. I've seen him in concert twice. He puts on a terrific show, full of inventive surprises, playfulness, and great music. He doesn't have much darkness in his art, that's true, but for melody and energy and ingenuity he's got some great chops. And he doesn't mug with hipster indie cred, which is ok by me.

We like the Barenaked Ladies at our house, too. (Though I won't follow them post-Steven-Page, sorry.)

For the record, Mraz does a killer version of "Summer Breeze."