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Thursday, April 12, 2007

First post: Take the Ashlee Simpson test

So after months of imagining this in my head, I've finally gotten around to starting the music blog. Ultimately I want this blog to be incorporated into my all-encompassing Pittsburgh local music site. We'll see if that materializes...

I'll start off with the origin of the blog name. My litmus test for judging someone's musical open-mindedness is the "Ashlee Simpson test." See, I have some friends who are what I call indie snobs - they refuse to listen to anything mainstream and only like obscure Pitchfork shit. Of course I also like some of that stuff, but I'm willing to admit when top 40 stuff is good. I don't judge songs based on who's singing them.

Exhibit A is Ashlee Simpson's 2004 smash "Pieces of Me." The indie snobs dismissed the song before even hearing it, based simply on the name of the performer. But those who listened objectively found one of the catchiest hooks of this decade. The way she holds on to the that first note forever... the vocal nuances like her enunciation of the word "head"... this chorus is pure pop perfection.

Sure, the lyrics are trite, but so what? Good pop music is about catchy hooks that you can't get out of your head. "Pieces of Me" is a flat-out great pop song. Indie snobs, why must you be so cold-hearted as to deny the brilliance of this melody?

So, I'll still write about TV On the Radio, Xiu Xiu, Cat Power, and all the critical favorites, but when someone like Jesse McCartney or Hilary Duff puts out a good song, I will be the first to proclaim its greatness.

Just because a song gets played on the radio doesn't mean it sucks.


BeckEye said...

Well, I'm not sure how I'll fare on your test here...I have mixed opinions of this song.

Let me just say first that I am in no way an indie snob. I've spoken on my own blog of my distaste for those people. (Especially since they tend to hate Pearl Jam too!) I like a lot of pop music, but the genre has become kind of a trash heap for cookie-cutter stuff. I'm not an Ashlee Simpson fan because I don't think she's a very good singer and I think she blends in with all the other inoffensive pop girls that those perv-o rich, old men keep giving record deals to. However, I will admit that "Pieces of Me" is a very catchy song. But it always gets ruined by the way she sings the title...it always sounds like "pizz-uhs of me." Not quite pieces, not quite pizzas. It's really annoying.

When you do your Kelly Clarkson and Backstreet Boys posts, I'll be brimming with positivity. :)

By the way, welcome to Blogland! I thought I'd start you off with a long, rambling comment.

Tamah said...
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