Friday, 19 December 2014

I like Popular Music (ssshh!)

Cast your mind back to a time long, long ago. An analogue time. A time when indie was still short for independent, and alternative music was actually an alternative to something. That was me, in my youth, rebelling in that particular way that only white girls from middle class suburbs can: listening to alternative music, wearing weird clothes and generally trying to be different to everyone else.

Which is why this former indie kid is now coming out of the closet to share a dark secret: I like popular music. I like listening to number one hits! (But old ones). I’m not alternative, I’m actually (spoiler!!) just like everyone else.

Now, I’m not talking about the kind of popular music that is the demon spawn of reality TV shows, I’m just talking about good old-fashioned bands, writing their own songs and playing their own instruments. And then selling a billion records.

There are some records that were, and still are, insanely popular and I am a-ok with being part of a large and homogenous population who loves these records:

Fleetwood Mac ‘Rumours’

Released in 1977, it was number one in New Zealand, it won the Grammy Award for Album of the Year in 1978 and it sold over 45 million copies worldwide. It was made while the band members were breaking up with each other, having affairs with each other, partying like rock stars, and writing songs about it all. It’s so hard to choose just one song from ‘Rumours’ because I love the whole album, so here’s a live version of ‘Rhiannon’ from a different album with the gorgeous Stevie Nicks and her amazing voice, looking both intoxicating and intoxicated.

Paul Simon ‘Graceland’

Released in 1986, it was number one in New Zealand, it won the Grammy for Album of the year in 1987, and sold more than 10 million copies worldwide. Paul Simon collaborated with South African musicians during the apartheid regime to make this incredible record. It was critically acclaimed and hugely popular and I can’t get enough of it.

The Rolling Stones – pretty much everything they’ve ever done

The Rolling Stones are a band from England, you may have heard of them. They have been doing rock and roll for a while now, for oh, just about FIFTY YEARS, PEOPLE! They have sold an estimated 200 million records worldwide. I couldn’t find an exact number for record sales because the number is simply so big that it will break the internet. There is no situation where a little bit (or a lot) of Rolling Stones won’t improve things. They have so many great albums and so many great songs. Here’s one of my fave songs from their five decades of awesomeness, from 1966, with Brian Jones rocking the marimba.

Bruce Springsteen ‘Born in the USA’

Released in 1984, Born in the USA is an album full of hits, selling 30 million copies worldwide. I saw Bruce this year in concert in Auckland and he played the WHOLE ALBUM FROM TOP TO BOTTOM and it was amazing. Here’s the Boss, a regular working-class millionaire, Dancing in the Dark with Monica from Friends.

Patea Maori Club ‘Poi-e'

A one-hit wonder, released in 1984, Poi-e was sung in Maori and celebrated Maori culture. Number one in New Zealand for four weeks, and revived in Taika Waititi’s movie ‘Boy’ in 2010. This song represents everything that is good with the world. It gives me chills, it's so good. Here is the original music video (check out the break dancing and roller skating at 2:15!)

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