© 2019 by Omer Eilam

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On Pop Culture

In a recent Email from a good friend he wrote that “the world of high art seems to be linked to pop culture in a really enriching synthesis.” He then compelled me to check out Jesus Christ Superstar as part of my quest for Jesus. Mid way through the first song of the film I was horrified and had to switch it off. Still, I think there is some truth to what he said about pop culture and high art. It's certainly the case with such figures as Moebius or The Beatles. My relationship to Pop is a bit 'broken' by now. As a teenager I was very much into Heavy Metal music. It actually continued for many years, well into my 20s. Then, I started developing a more political consciousness and became very critical of the music industry. One by one I noticed that all my favorite metal bands, the ones I thought were revolutionary, were actually quite commercial. Perhaps the pioneers, the Led Zeppelins, Metallicas and Panteras started genuinely, but as time moved on and the industry grew, as MTV started ruling supreme, it all became more and more artificial, full of clichés, an imitation of an imitation of an imitation. By now I believe that most of the new metal bands are not even aware of this big picture, and think, like most of the rest of the Western world that "There Is No Alternative" (to Capitalism). So gradually I stopped listening to anything ‘pop', seeing it contaminated by the big bad Music Industry. But sometimes I feel like I threw the baby out with the bathwater. I remember the enthusiasm that came when listening to a metal record; there was a young & fresh sensation to it, like a child who gets to play with a new toy! And it was so easy, no effort was needed, no brainy stuff like complex polyphony or rhythmic subdivisions. I still try, every now and then, to find new bands which retain those impulses while giving a f*ck over the music industry, but mostly to no avail. Is it me? Is it them? Is there a hero to save the day?




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