One of the things I love most about pop music is its versatility. It’s a medium with room for everything: the political and the personal, the avant-garde and the lowbrow, orchestral finesse and two-chord anthems, stupidity and intelligence, beauty and brutality. Additionally, these elements can be arranged any which way, swapped out and mutated into something unpredictable and groundbreaking. And there are hundreds of millions of these things. There are pop songs about everything from the slave trade to lactating men, from stoned professions of lust to the sincere love felt for a desk, from street level survival to dying alone in space. If something exists in space and time, you can bet your ass there’s a song about it.
Being the popaholic waste of space that I am, I’ll listen to pretty much anything, but I do have a soft spot for songs about my favorite subject: pop music. What’s rad about songs about songs is that they have just as much range as pop at large. There’s self-reflexive navel-gazing, revolutionary manifestoes, nostalgia-drenched love letters, and condemnations of the mainstream. Pop songs about pop songs embrace the medium’s limitless potential and celebrate it. You can listen to a few of my favorites here or by pressing play on the embedded playlist below.
- Losing My Edge – LCD Soundsystem
- Heard About Your Band – Brakes
- Top of the Pops – The Rezillos
- This is Pop – XTC
- Hitsville UK – The Clash
- R.A.P. Music – Killer Mike
- Heavy Metal Drummer – Wilco
- Slap Dash for No Cash – Art Brut
- The Medium Was Tedium – The Desperate Bicycles
- The Song is the Single – BARR
- Pop Songs Your New Boyfriend’s Too Stupid to Know About – Tullycraft
- Let’s Kiss and Listen to Bis – Mikrofisch
- Part Time Punks – Television Personalities
- Rebellious Jukebox – The Fall
- Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll – Ian Dury and the Blockheads
- Radio Song – Danny Brown
- Triumph of the Swill – Dead Kennedys
- Meet the Beatle – Tall Dwarfs
- The One on the Right is on the Left – Johnny Cash
- Bad Cover Version – Pulp
- We’re the Replacements – They Might Be Giants
- Alex Chilton – The Replacements
- Thirteen – Big Star
If anybody else has some favorite songs about songs, we would love to see them in the comments.
Simon Lazarus Vasta dives into a huge vault of records at the end like Scrooge McDuck at the end of every day and swears he won’t get out ‘til the third My Bloody Valentine album finally comes out. Well, that’s what he says, anyway; he’s always at the breakfast table the next morning. If you’d like, you can follow him on Twitter @Hunter_S_Narc.
Trackback from your site.