Theater of Cruelty

Tabloid pop

When pop music is tabloidized, we are left with medallions and ringtones.


[pop] When rock seriously hit LPs in the 1960s, many took a break with the three-minute pop song. Today, three minutes is too tedious for ever more DJs, artists and consumers. Songs are now boiling down to the essence, and the explosive market for mobile phone ringtones favors songs that will be said within a few seconds. The pop song is tabloidized down to a chorus from the chorus, an easily recognizable "oneliner" or a striking instrumental part.

"Just stop the music, you can hear this on your ringtone", sings R. Kelly in "Tryin 'to Get a Number". The big man crazy r & b king has, as always, the finger on the spirit of the times, and the album Double Up is full of songs that go straight to the throat of consumers. This is more of a collection of utility music for DJs, radio stations and mobile users than a traditional album, and Kelly is not alone. The irritation king Crazy Frog went from ringtones to the charts, while the Swedish trance artist Basshunter shamelessly flirts with mobile users with the song "Nån som ringer". The ringtone is heavily advertised on TV channels such as MTV and ZTV, along with music at the intersection of pop and r & b – with artists such as Amy Winehouse, Nelly Furtado, Gwen Stefani and Akon at the helm.

At the end of 2004, the industry bible Billboard introduced a separate sales list for ringtones in the United States, which was quickly conquered by an army of hip-hop and r & b artists. Texas rapper Chamillionaire, for whom the Hove and Quart Festival fought a hard bidding round earlier this year, became one of the first giant successes, with sales of over 3,2 million ringtones of the song "Ridin '". This year, New York rapper Mims has had success with "This Is Why I'm Hot", a message that fits like a glove on the forties' mobile phone.

This tabloidization is not limited to the mobile phone. After five cancellations, New York rapper Nas finally appeared on a Norwegian scene in late May, and on the Center scene, the veteran spit out one hit after another. But only exceptionally, Nas took the time to complete a song beyond one verse and refrained, for example, the highlights of the timeless classic Illmatic, for example, were ignored in an astonishing medley.

In Jamaica, the tradition of releasing all the artists on the same instrumental DJs provides a unique opportunity to cut all songs down to just under a minute. On the mixtape Mad Sick Head Nah Good, DJ veteran Bobby Konders sweeps past 65 hits from the dancehall stage in just over an hour, and you just have to get used to this musical extreme sport. As Roxette said, "Don't bore us, get to the chorus."

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