Friday, July 6, 2007

Sir Paul: Saviour of Pop

So who really gives a shit about bands like Maroon 5 or Britney's so-called "highly-anticipated" comeback? Honestly? Okay, so Maroon 5 isn't the WORST boy band to hit the airwaves, but they're still pretty damn annoying in my opinion. As for Britney.. further detail is probably unnecessary.

If there's any musician left in the world who could still be the saving grace of the once-noble "pop" genre, I think Sir Paul is KIIS FM's last hope. Remember... with all the Ryan Seacrest bullshit set aside... the concept of "pop" music used to be a positive one. A good friend of mine once reminded me that The Beatles themselves were considered "pop" back in the day and they almost had more power than any goverment on the face of the planet.

Lucky for us, the super bohemian, day-trippin', love lovin', yellow submarine livin', guitar weepin' GREATEST BAND OF ALL TIME chose to keep their musical endeavors categorized under creative expression only. Though now that I think about it, living in a country run by The Beatles might have been the closest to a utopian dream as we could have ever gotten. But still, given that two of the members are dead (God bless John and George) and that the band has been broken up for decades (F* YOU YOKO), this is not about The Beatles as a collective. This is about A Beatle - Paul McCartney.

Here's my personal, IDEAL definition of "pop" music. Tried and true pop music appeals to just about everybody (for all you indie kids out there, why is that such a bad thing? isn't the point of making music to share your message with as many people as possible?) and is ACTUALLY GOOD. The latter part pretty much eliminates about 98% of the shit that's played on the radio today anyway. It's catchy, it's honest and it helps connect the world together under a common theme - whether it's about love, heartbreak or plain old good times. It usually doesn't have to include words like "bitch" and "boo," or address things like milkshakes bringin' all the boys to the yard. Like I said, it's popular and it's GOOD.

Under my definition, McCartney's new album 'Memory Almost Full' is the perfect pop album. And the first song, "Dance Tonight" is the perfect pop song, despite some pretty mean criticism that the song received from KROQ's Kevin and Bean a few weeks back. I'm normally not one to disagree with Kevin and Bean but I think their interpretation of the song was totally off. Nobody talks shit about Sir Paul and gets away with it on my watch. But anyway, this is why I think "Dance Tonight" is so great:

Yesterday was Independence Day. While I may look pretty ethnic on the outside and I may celebrate holidays in an uber-Filipino manner, I can still be somewhat patriotic. No, I do not like most country music and I do NOT know what rednecks do in their spare time. I do not fly an American flag in front of my house nor do I enjoy being active with all the soccer moms in my son's PTA. I'm not that kind of American. However, I AM the kind of American with immigrant parents and who appreciates the diversity of the nation's coastal areas. I'm the kind of American who admits that I would be nowhere near as privileged as I am now if I had been born in a third-world country like the Philippines. I am the kind of American who's pretty egotistical and (maybe stupidly) believes that you can do whatever you put your mind to. Okay, sorry for the rant... back to Independence Day.

I was enjoying myself yesterday at a typical family gathering at my aunt's house. Leave it to us to celebrate the 4th of July by eating roast pig, skewered BBQ, pancit (that's filipino for "noodles"), and RICE of course (what's a filipino party without RICE?), while drinking the occassional mojito - the latter being the newest addition to our family parties. Let me add that we spent the entire day (well into the night) hanging out and swimming in the backyard, virtually ignoring all signs of any fireworks or other typical American patriotic practices.

This may sound extremely UNpatriotic to you - but it makes perfect sense to me. My family (and most filipinos by nature) are party animals and will make just about any excuse you can think of to have a gathering. This most definitely includes American holidays like the 4th of July - even though over half of my family are Philippine-born. I have a gi-normous family (those close to me can easily vouch for that) and we just enjoy having a GOOD TIME.

Here is my family's unspoken motto (as "coincidentally" sung by Paul McCartney):

Well you can come on to my place if you want to
You can do anything you want to

And as if Paul, himself was actually at last night's party:

Everybody gonna' dance tonight
Everybody gonna' feel alright
Everybody gonna' dance around tonight

Okay, so we don't actually DANCE at all of our parties. We mostly sing karaoke. And if we don't have a karaoke machine close by, we pull out our guitars and jam. But the point is.. if you substitute the word "dance" for "sing" when appropriate, you have a pretty accurate generalization of the typical filipino party. OH MY GOD, HOW DID HE KNOW?

DUH! It's the perfect pop song, like I said! If you already forgot, please reference what I wrote earlier about "connecting under a common theme." So what if it's as simple as a Dr. Seuss book? A good pop song is simple and understood by anyone. RADIOHEAD IS NOT POP MUSIC.

And is this song actually good? Fuck yeah, it is. It's catchy as hell and nobody (except for maybe Jack White and that one dude in Arcade Fire) can make a mandolin sound so cool without it turning into full-blown mountain music. Plus, you have that quintessential McCartney instrumental bridge that sounds like a staircase looks ... when the notes just climb up one at a time and take you to a new level in the song. It's just beautiful.

So.. even on an American holiday like the 4th of July, 1st generation filipino-americans like myself and my cousins, immigrants like the rest of my family who think aborted duck eggs are a delicacy, all those cute little white people watching fireworks at the local high school AND everybody else in this crazy country can unite under one theme - thanks to Paul McCartney.

Everybody gonna feel alright because after all, it's only human to want to have a good time.