How Indie Betrayed Me (And Pop Saved Me)

By melissa

Many of you on the list heard my yelps of joy last week when I found out I had been picked to be in a Bluetones video. They're probably my favourite band - I've been a member of the Blue Army for five years, seen them live eleven times (nine of those in one year), met the band so many times I have nothing left that *isn't* signed, and even been to a few fanclub-only and secret gigs.

I had originally planned to write this month's column on the video shoot. I'd made it through three rounds of nonsensical (possibly nonexistent) inspection by a woman at Roxy Productions (the company in charge of assembling the 20-odd fan extras), and eventually was graced by a phone call from her saying I was definitely in the video now and that she'd call back the night before the shoot with the details and location.
Only she didn't. I waited by the phone like a preteen waiting for a cute boy to call, and nothing. Even the next morning, nothing. At no point did she give her contact details - never answering emails, making sure her number appeared "Withheld" on our mobiles, and zero listings for "Roxy Productions" in any trade listing or online sources. It took a call to the band's PR who contacted the label who in turn contacted the production company before I was told that I was not in the video after all. After taking the day off work, spending money on the required "60s dress", and telling over a hundred people I was going to be in the video, I was rather upset, as you can imagine. Swearing letters to the record label and management detailing the woman's professional incompetence(there's far too much to go into detail here), I went out to let off steam my own way...

...Slashing tires! Oh, wait, that wasn't it at all...

Ok, so I went out and walked (not very exciting, sorry). I grabbed some music, donned a hat, and went out in the miserable drizzling rain to avoid looking at anything to do with the shoot or The Bluetones. As you can probably tell, I wasn't in the mood to listen to Expecting to Fly, or anything else in their flawless back catalogue, and I likewise passed over my towering "Incoming" pile of new cds. No, my music of choice was pop.

Pop? But I'm not meant to like pop!

That's the beauty of it - it starts off as a guilty pleasure and builds weight in your mind until one day you find yourself telling an indier-than-thou type "I'm secure enough in my music tastes to like Justin Timberlake - are you?". Pop music can be part of your healthy music lifestyle, too, and here's why --

Pop will never betray you.

Pop can never disappoint, because it promises nothing. Pop music doesn't ask for you to judge its sophomore album - in most cases it doesn't even demand you listen to the followup single. Pop is purely for the moment, to make you happy. Like a hopped-up Mister Burns, it exists only to bring you LOVE ("Let's kill it! It brings us love!"). What other music can make you as consistently happy and demand nothing in return. No gig tickets to fully appreciate the live material, no nights spent reading the lyrics along with the album (sorry, Pulp!) to figure out what the hell is meant, and -best of all- it doesn't mind when you discard it in a month's time for another piece of fluff. Nay, it demands you move on.

So when I found myself betrayed by my favorite band (ok, by people working as an extension of the band, but it feels like the same thing), I turned to the only shoulder I could cry on that would guarantee a balm. I've never been a fan of the slow, heartfelt ballads in terms of emotional healing. I remember watching Shannen Doherty listening to "Losing My Religion" over and over when she broke up with Luke Perry and wondering why the hell she'd want to make herself even more depressed. As a doctor, I'd prescribe her a bit of (hmmm, what was big at that time...?), ohhh, Color Me Badd and tell her to move on.

Likewise, I prescribed myself a drug cocktail of Kylie, Allstars, Justin Timberlake, and Sugababes, and you know what? After an hour's dose, I felt much better. Well enough to start the first draft of that letter, in fact...