Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Morning Musings (Having Nothing To Do with Gratitude).

Out shopping for groceries yesterday, J and I had a free-wheeling conversation -- sparked by the recent AMA Awards show. I was remarking how I used to keep up with current music -- I read Billboard every week and even if I didn't like a lot of the songs on the pop charts, I knew the names, knew what was popular -- but I stopped paying much attention a few years ago, and now there are huge stars who have had hit after hit for years and I have no idea what they look like or sound like. Lady Gaga? I know what Kanye West looks like (sort of, if he wears the glasses) but I can't distinguish his songs from any other pop hip-hop song on the radio. I'm not saying they all sound alike, I'm saying they all sound alike to me.

Because I follow politics more closely than popular music, I did catch the Adam Lambert/Out Magazine brouhaha -- which was nearly as mind-numbingly boring as Lady Gaga's burning piano -- but I felt a certain obligation.

I was surprised and I have to say somewhat relieved to learn this morning that we can blame Adam Lambert for the failure of the gay civil rights movement. Just when we were successfully sneaking into the mainstream with weddings and babies, etc., here comes an ignorant, selfish pop star to remind everyone that we're actually, um, gay. (Ignore that man getting a fake blowjob, America! He's not one of us. Marriage is what we want, not sex. We promise we'll be less gay if you let us get married. No more blowjobs and buttfucking -- everyone knows married people don't have sex.)

Anyway, eventually the conversation between J and me got around to where it always seems to get around to lately: men. My major insight was that if you're going to date a younger man, it's better to date a man 20 years younger than say 10 years younger, because the 20-somethings are all obsessed with the 80s right now. The pop culture of that decade is, in some twisted way, formative for you both, so you're more likely to have cultural touchstones in common. I can talk about Keith Haring, ACT UP, early Madonna, and they eat it up, whereas guys who came of age in the 90s ... I don't have much to say about 'N Sync and TLC. I just have to be careful about saying things like (in a whiny, pedantic monotone): "Lady Gaga is not doing anything Madonna didn't do better in 1985." I'm pretty sure that's unattractive.


ep said...

Actually Lady Gaga Is more like Grace Jones, and you'd probably get a completely blank stare with that reference.

I still find Madonna difficult to listen to - she was primarily a visual performer for me. I think Adam Lambert is more akin to Madonna. Provocative, unapologetic. She mixed religion with sex, with her whole catholic school guilt trip. Lambert is lucky that so far he just has to be gay to be controversial, which actually doesn't seem to be freaking America out as much as some might want us to believe. I'm sure he'll sell records (or downloads.) He's a better singer than Madonna, when he doesn't do the 70s rockstar shrieking.

Steven said...

Liz, I need you around to help me with this stuff! Can I text you next time I'm on a date and want to sound like I know what I'm talking about?

Have you heard any of the new Grace Jones record?

Yeah, I'm not a fan of Madonna's music either, except for maybe Ray of Light which I thought was pretty cool, but I love her as a phenomenon, I love her attitude and the buttons she pushes. And I loved her in Evita.

I'm still struggling to get my mind around the outrage at Adam Lambert's AMA performance. It just seems like a big stunt, a fake controversy to promote a record. But a lot of people seem genuinely affronted.

The sexuality in his performance was so tame compared to most of what the kids are watching and listening to these days in cartoons, commercials, sitcoms, and pop music. I mean, speaking of Madonna, seriously, didn't Erotica and the Sex book come out in like 1992?

ep said...

I guess I decided a long time ago that I love pop culture. I've tuned in and out through the years, but it keeps calling me back, a la Pacino in the Godfather...

I listen to a "mix" station on the radio to and from work and that keeps me pretty plugged in to what's happening, at least in pop music. What's strange about DC is that the mix station is dominated by mostly white music and maybe new music done by black women. Black men are only to be found on a hip hop station. I can't bring myself to listen to that, it's just not my life, but I do like Jay-Z's new song with Alicia Keyes - she is probably the reason that reached me. Kanye, I couldn't tell you, either. What I think is ironic is that in the 80s Prince and Michael Jackson, RunDMC, etc. were played everywhere. This is the only case in DC where black and white does seem separate.

I'm suure I have some offbeat tastes in music, too, but I've never been the type in search of the esoteric or unusual. I'm unusual enough, I don't need my musical tastes to identify me.

I don't know an awful lot about some of the more C&W songs that you post from time to time, but they are always interesting to listen to. I like that some of your music seems to directly relate to places you've lived. You can teach me too, you know!

p.s. I remember when the SEX book came out. It was way more shocking before we actually saw it. What seems to have bothered most folks was that it contained nudity. That's America. I watched a fuzzy youtube of Adam Lambert and didn't think it was very shocking. He seemed to be grinding as many female as male dancers. It seemed pretty par for the course music award show stuff to me. Maybe because it wasn't cable? I still remember Madonna doing Like a Virgin and writhing around at the MTV awards. or Michael Jackson smooching Lisa Marie. Now that made us gasp!