Stuff I don’t mind no. 16: Thriftshop and the state of modern music.

I’ll start by apologising for being a little behind the times. I sometimes have opinions about stuff and then forget to write about them for months at a stretch on account of being busy with my growing Benedict Cumberbatch obsession amongst other things. Anyway.

My penchant for a bit of pop music here and there is not news. Actually, nothing I have to say here is actually news, except perhaps if I self published a newspaper titled Stuff That Has Happened or Perhaps Been Thought About By and To Carlynne in which case my listening to LMFAO’s Party Rock Anthem on the way to work would be stopping the presses.

I do love a hit here and there. The masses make songs popular because they are fun or catchy or enjoyable in some way (and also obviously because they celebrate grinding against some bird on the d-floor and make us all feel a little bit more dirty). Every now and then, we all need a dance, and a tune to dance to. It’s helpful if the song we dance to doesn’t make its living off kicking women in the face, or rely too heavily on the repetition of key phrases such as “life, oh life, oh life-doo doo doo doo doo”, but mainly we just want a beat that keeps us moving and a fun chorus to wail while doing the dishes.

Thriftshop by Macklemore was first introduced to me by a friend at work. I dug the shit out of it immediately on account of it being just problematic amounts of fun and, delightfully, a hip hop song that scorned the usual brand and status whoring that the genre is known for and openly praised op-shopping. I then proceeded to ‘introduce’ it to all of my friends, completely unaware that everyone already knew this song as it had been thrashed by all stations for months.

I kept enjoying it right up until voting time came for JJJ’s Hottest 100, the yearly countdown of Australia’s (and by Australia’s, I mean Triple J listeners who can be bothered to vote and the few of us who continue to vote despite being hopelessly outmanned in a sea of music we have never heard) favourite songs.

Thriftshop came in at number 1, as voted by… those that voted (including me! Come at me bro). This, though, was apparently NOT OK according to lots of people who thought that this spelt various disastrous things like:

People enjoying songs that they themselves don’t enjoy

Music these days being nothing but awful dub-step and awful hip hop

Folks not knowing that they should only enjoy the lyric heavy, heady-theme laiden alt music and not the poppy fun stuff involving hooks and swears

Presumably folks relishing the idea of op-shopping, which is a gateway shopping and will lead to the purchase of both infants and ivory on the black market

There was such aversion to this song arriving at number 1, despite the fact that it getting there meant that a lot of people must actually have dug it. It seemed a portent of an apocalypse of Bad Music, that would sneak into our homes and give our children terrible haircuts and lower our IQs by repeating lines like “This is fucking awesome” in our ears as we sleep. Heaven knows most things I utter on a daily basis are Shakespearian as compared to that gutter-esque filth. I will not be debased, Macklemore! Take your gleeful and entirely dance-able espousing of the benefits of thrift elsewhere!!

I think perhaps that what Thriftshop’s success actually spells is that a lot of people liked the song, for the very plausible reason that they liked it. I think perhaps also a lot of these people could have been people like me who enjoy a variety of different musics, some of it theme laiden alt business with the dramatic synths or the seventeen part harmonies and some of it the fun stuff with the catchy hooks that make us want to flap and twirl by the sink.

I feel OK about the state of modern music because I know (just like most other people do) that when I want to find new and exciting artists I need only ask my friends and there they will be, waiting to be laid bare inside my ears. There is a crap-tonne of wonderful, beautiful, heartbreaking and ear blistering music floating around, and if some of it is dub-steppy or hip-hoppy or not your bag in other ways, common sense would suggest you steer clear of that stuff and look for what makes you sing.

And furthermore if as many people are dissatisfied with the state of modern music around the globe as claimed to be on Facebook post Hottest 100, then odds are some of them are musicians who can put their accordions where their mouths are and make some music that they, and maybe even the masses, will like.

In the mean time, I’ma keep dancing in my kitchen, because music is fun and I feel like that’s sort of the point.

Stuff I don’t mind no.78: Summer pissing off!

Despite what anyone who has heard me complain incessantly and unoriginally over the past two months might think, I am actually a fan of all of the seasons.

This might be considered a bit wishy washy, a bit PC, a little too people pleasing perhaps for the hip, just-pick-one crowd, but to them I say: I’ll calmly enjoy whatever I like thanks, you best believe that.

I love Spring’s over the top sprays of colour, shimmying wildly out of winter with a “look! You can come out again! It smells good!”, hurling flowers and scents in everyone’s faces with reckless abandon. I love the thoughtfulness of Autumn, when the leaves turn and dance to the ground, when the air is crisper on one’s face. I adore the rugging up and settling in of Winter, skies in tumult, greys layered on greys, a sort of poise and gentle solemnity in the air. And I even enjoy Summer, despite the title of this ode to its buggering off. The long evenings, and the feeling of possibility that comes with the end of a year and the start of another, the calm certainty that adventure is a real thing that might happen at any moment, the yawning blue skies that, clichéd or not, are pretty much guaranteed to make me smile; I do get why people dig it. Generally I prefer the colder months, as I tend to run at a higher temp than other folks and also look bitchin’ in scarves, but I do get the appeal.

But not this year. This year’s Summer, the seasonal equivalent of Marty McFly’s guitar solo in Back To The Future- dragging on much too long and leaving everyone very uncomfortable- can fuck right off and keep going.

This year’s Summer was an impolite, overbearing jerk. It had this wonderful mild beginning, where the it cushioned the really hot days between two much cooler ones to make sure we were OK, you know? Just a little dibby dabble in some heat- and then, when it’s supposed to be on its way out, it bumps it up to 5, 7, 12 days straight of Oh-my-god-I-think-that-puddle-was-my-skin hot, leaving Autumn just standing to the side, awkwardly tapping its fist against its leg, waiting for the dickhead to get off the stage. “OH I’M HOT! I’M HOT NOW!! YEAH! I’M NEVER LEAVING AND YOU’LL ALL DIIIIE!!!”.


I genuinely don’t understand people that bemoan the end of such a time. I, for one, do not wish to remain swathed in my own bodily excretions for weeks on end, or to flee like vermin from any glimpse of cheery sunlight for fear of bursting into flame. I do not enjoy the pervasive apathy and exhaustion that seems to cover everyone and everything like there’s a big fat sweaty dude that has died and fallen on top of us all and is rotting slowly along with our will to live or even move our limbs and movement of any kind becomes impossible and cause for stupid irritability at everything and leads to irrational hatred of parties one suburb over and becoming convinced in the space of a Tuesday afternoon that the only future you can know involves moving to Alaska tomorrow.

I know people dig it, I know we are supposed to be a sunburnt country, I know we’re like, beach folk that thrive and bloom in the summer sun BUT WE BURN TOO, YOU KNOW, AND THERE IS NO COVER NEXT TO THE OCEAN- JUST BLINDING WHITE HOT SAND YO.

In summation: Hooray for Autumn!

Hooray for having worn actual pants for like, days in a row now; hooray for a cool breeze on my skin; hooray for sleepy time being something to look forward to instead of a nightmare world of too much shit touching me at once.