POPS on Pop

Three things shook my foundation a bit. I was reading an article in the October 14, 2013, issue of The New Yorker entitled, "The Doctor Is In" by John Seabrook.

Normally you would assume that a 60s-something guy being shaken a bit by an article about the doctor being in, it must have something to do with prostate cancer or the like. Not so.

 If you don't know who these people are this post is probably going to be off-putting to you. 

If you don't know who these people are this post is probably going to be off-putting to you. 

Foundation shaker #1: The New Yorker has been one of my main reads for years. Recently they rolled out a design tweak. Normally I'm all for an aesthetic reinvention, but this is The New Yorker! WTH? (what the heck). But here's what really worries me: this article seems to suggest the magazine has decided they need to attract a younger, hipper audience. Don't they know that young hipsters don't read anything longer than 140 characters, including hashtags and take pictures of themselves.

 Pops Picks

Pops Picks

[Oh BTW (by the way), if you'll follow About POPS on Twitter, Pops will send you a very cool, white pearl guitar pick with the About POPS brand on it. www.twitter.com/AboutPOPS.] How's that for shameless, hypocritical self-promotion? 

Here's the opening paragraph of The New Yorker story:

Unlike Dr. Dre, that other faux-medical badass beatmaker, Dr. Luke is a white guy. He lives in Los Angeles now, but he talks like the New York City hustler he once was. He “vibes” well, an invaluable skill in the song-making trade, where the writer needs to connect with the artist as soon as she walks in the room. Dr. Luke is slight of build and dresses in T-shirts and beltless jeans that hang low on his backside, exposing colorful briefs. His blue-green eyes droop at the outer corners, giving his face at rest a melancholy cast.


Is this really The New Yorker? Word for word.

Foundation shaker #2: Remember when "jeans that hang low on the backside" were so cartoonish that it made for a hilarious Saturday Night Live skit that still stands today as a classic. I did a little research to get the facts straight. It starred Gilda Radner as Lisa Loopner, Bill Murray as her boyfriend Todd DiLaMuca and Dan Aykroyd as the refrigerator repairman. The skit was called "Nerds & The Norge" and aired October 7, 1978.

The jist of the skit was Todd and Lisa having great laughs at the expense of the repairman kneeling into the old refrigerator exposing his crack. Back then it was funny, today it apparently "vibes well."

Yes I realize I'm sounding like an old geezer. But hang in there.

Oh, by the way, the musical guests on SNL on the night of this great skit: The Rolling Stones.

Here's the bridge:

"Dr. Luke" began his pro career as the lead guitarist in the SNL house band. Since then he has gone on to produce and co-write songs for Kelly Clarkson, Avril Lavigne, Pink, Britney Spears. Notice a theme?

Foundation Shaker #3: Again from The New Yorker article:

Lukasz Gottwald—his given name—has co-written or co-produced more than thirty Top Ten singles since 2004, a run to rank with the greatest hitmakers in pop-music history: Phil Spector, the Beatles, Michael Jackson. At forty, he’s still going strong: last week’s No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, Miley Cyrus’s “Wrecking Ball,” and the previous No. 1, Katy Perry’s “Roar,” are both Dr. Luke songs.


I'm sure Dr. Luke is creative and intensely talented. Not questioning that. But I wonder if even the good Dr. himself is comfortable with his tunes, sung by airy, auto-tuned, diva-ettes really ranks with the "greatest hitmakers in pop-music? After all it was the author of the piece that made that distinction and not the Dr. himself. And maybe all the author is saying is that simply by the numbers of Top Ten singles he compares.

Surely he is not comparing this discography to the final musical contribution of The Beatles and Michael Jackson!?

Yes, again I'm aware all of this makes me sound like an old geezer. Sometimes the truth hurts. Oh, and by the way, because I do so want to "vibe well", today's choice of drawers are not briefs, they're boxers; but they are very colorful, and the only way you're likely to see them is if you invite me over to work on your fridge.