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Brophy Roundup

The Student News Site of Brophy College Preparatory

Brophy Roundup

The Student News Site of Brophy College Preparatory

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October provides predictable stream of club music

By Julian De Ocampo ’13


Some people cannot understand why I even bother to listen to popular Top 40 music even though my other musical tastes are far more eclectic, unique and critically acceptable.

I stand by the theory I posited last month in the very first edition of this column where I explained that pop music was a science, a way to devise a perfect formula using tried and true methods.

It can be a tumultuous relationship at times–some songs are so abhorrent and valueless that I question why I even bother turning on the radio.

But occasionally the country, sometimes even the world, unites behind a truly great song that achieves anthemic popularity and ascends into the status of an instant classic.

The only way to spot them is to listen.

And so this month I continue my column, examining three new songs to reach the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

Note: Because certain songs are repeated from last month’s column, I will simply name them but move on to songs I have not yet discussed.

6. “Red” – Taylor Swift
7.0 out of 10

It appears that I will never be able to escape the task of writing about Taylor Swift due to the considerable momentum surrounding her latest album “Red.”

The title track is far more in line with the expected sweet, adolescent palatable-ness that originally made her famous with the slightly-pandering hit “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” that she released last month.

Rather than going for the corporate ripe-for-Kidz Bop cheer that marked her previous single, Swift returned to her forte—making confessional country-tinged music that belongs on Top 40 radio.

“Red” is a torch song, the type of classic country-ballad to an ex-lover that is to be expected of Swift. Ripe with similes regarding an ex-lover, Swift’s lyrics resemble poetry written by teenagers–predictable, a little embarrassing, but emotionally resonant.

And while it never quite reaches meteoric heights, it sits politely, performs expectedly and leaves the listener satisfied.

5. “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” – Taylor Swift
6.5 out of 10

Covered in September’s column.

4. “Some Nights” – fun.
6 out of 10

Covered in September’s column.

3. “Live While We’re Young” – One Direction
8 out of 10

It’s a little late for another summer jam, but don’t tell that to One Direction.

“Live While We’re Young” is the latest wild but mild hit from the boy-band hit factory, and it hits all the spots you’d expect it to: it’s boisterous, it’s silly, it’s undeniably catchy.

The largest problem facing this single is that the group cannot quite balance the inconsequential diversion with tact or meaning; it always seems to be one or the other with them.

The ballads are no fun, the party anthems are too shallow–it almost feels as if there’s a quota of songs of various tempos and moods that they’re mechanically filling.

But looking back at this single: Hedonism is in vogue, so why not join in, especially when it sounds so fun in the hands of your favorite shamelessly well-marketed boy band?

2. “Gangnam Style” – Psy
3 out of 10

Do you ever look at novelty songs from previous decades and think, sure, it’s kind of funny, but I simply cannot believe that the entirety of America chose to rally around this song?

And do you ever listen to songs like “Macarena” and “The Electric Slide” and think, “Yeah, I think we need a new silly dance so we can embarrass our children?”

Korean or not, this the first big novelty jam of the decade.

Musically, it embodies the no holds barred cacophony of overproduction that has unfortunately become all too common in music. Culturally it’s just another brick in the wall of sad novelty songs that will live on to annoy people for all of time.

Oppa Gangnam Style, indeed.

1. One More Night – Maroon 5
3 out of 10

Covered in September’s column. (Note: Seriously? Why is this song so popular?)

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