When a was younger, I’d amuse myself by looking at a list of the top 10 singles and mentally singing the song title the way it was sung in the song. Occasionally there’d be a tune I didn’t know, but usually by the next week I’d know it.
I was looking for some self-amusement tonight and decided to have a go doing that with the top 40. I didn’t get very far. Out of the 40 songs, I knew only four of them. Two of them (Sugababes’ “Push the Button” and Arctic Monkeys’ “I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor”) I know because I’ve discovered them online, and the other two (Kanye West’s “Golddigger” and James Blunt’s “You’re Beautiful”) I know because they’re everywhere (and frankly, I’d rather that “You’re Beautiful” wasn’t, but apparently The People heart vile sentimentality).
Of the remaining 36 songs, 25 are by artists I’ve heard of before, and 11 are completely unknown to me.
I don’t know who Mt Raskil, Chris Brown, KT Tunstall, Corinne Bailey Rae, The Veronicas (twice), Hollie Smith, Bernard Fanning, Thirsty Merc, T-Pain, or Daniel Powter are.
How has this come about? Lack of exposure to places where top-40 music is played.
When I had a car, I used to listen to Mai FM a lot, which kept me in touch with most popular songs, and at home I’d watch C4 quite a lot. But I sold me car, and ever since I started working in television, I feel less inclined to randomly watch it at home.
The interweb also factors into it. Instead of just going with the flow of the status quo, I can seek out music that I know I’m going to like. I can listen to stuff on Myspace, preview (*ahem*) music that friends recommend, and seek out older music that I might have missed the first time around.
I’m also acutely aware of the ol’ windows of receptivity. I’m 31 now. The part of my brain that’s into new music is becoming less effective. Sooner or later I’m going to hear some contemporary pop music and declare it to be tuneless crap.
Thinking about this, it doesn’t really bother me. Pop music is for the young. Seeing Madonna turn into an elderly contortionist power-mother has not really been pleasant. I’m quite happy for pop to go on without me. While Thirsty Merc and Daniel Powter do… whatever it is they do, I shall be in my bedroom listening to Bauhaus.