grl lookit that body / by mrm

For reasons too complex and irrelevant to detail here, I've spent a fair amount of time this fall driving around the suburbs of the south bay listening to contemporary pop music. There only seem to be four or five songs in contemporary pop music right now. At least, that's the conclusion I've been forced to draw, since the radio plays the same four or five songs every hour over a six hour period. This is enough to make me lose my mind.*

But it got me thinking about pop music again (which doesn't happen all that often) and it seems to me that with the rise of the internet, culture is experiencing a simultaneous unification and fracturing. We seem to me to be moving towards an increasingly graphic, increasingly bland, hyper-mass culture, while simultaneously creating countless increasingly specialized micro-cultures. And perhaps we are losing (or eroding? or destroying?) our middle ground. I'm not sure what I think that means, quite frankly. Except that it does seem to only deepen issues of access and diversity when the "dominant" culture is only becoming more dominant and more narrow in its message and representation.

What is that message? As far as I can tell (and as the above links more than suggest), it's party like there's no tomorrow. And it doesn't even feel like editorializing to say that this sounds like the music of a civilization in decline.

*Hey kids! Want to do something really surreal? Watch those music videos with the sound off.