70's Pick of the Week
“Pop Muzic”, M (1979)
Somehow Brit Robin Scott thought this song bridged rock and roll and disco. He said he was deliberately trying to make a fusion of the sound of the previous 25 years. He was saying that rock and roll had created a generation gap, and he felt that disco was bringing people together. Somehow he ended up creating a very pure pop song – sort of imploding on itself.
Scott had tried to create a persona for himself in 1978, “M”, when he released a song called “Moderne Man” which failed to chart. So he retrenched and tried again...
"Pop Muzic" itself seems to speak to the mass media bombardment, the blatantly commercial aspect of music and the impact on our everyday lives. It implies that it can be perceived as ‘fluff’, so if you want to be taken seriously with your message, music is not the format to do it in: “If you wanna be a gun slinger, don't be a rock singer”, he advises. At this point of New Wave music, that statement seems to hold some merit as the era of protest songs, and singer-songwriters was over and disco was not meant to be too serious it was a bit of nonsense -‘Knick knack paddy whack”, “Eenie meenie mynie moe, Which way you wanna go” – almost like “Lincoln, Lincoln bo Bincoln, Banana fanna fo Fincoln, Fee fi mo Mincoln, Lincoln. 1”, which permeated early pop.
The point of all this was surely missed by the majority of listeners. The robotic singing, the assembly-line syntheziser drone of the driving beat and the glossy MTV video had most of us thinking that it was another catchy pop tune. Sure it was about pop music....whatever.
In May of 1979 it got released in the U.K., but failed to knock Art Garfunkel’s, “Bright Eyes” from the number 6 spot on the chart. When it was released in the summer of ’79 in North America it went to number one in Canada and number three in the U.S.
A subsequent album titled “New York, London, Paris, Munich”, fell quickly into oblivion, which does make this almost as perfect a “one hit wonder” as you can get.
1. From the song the “Name Game” by Shirley Ellis. 1964.