It was one of those moments when you realise you’re old – or at least no longer young. I am working on editing the draft of my next novel, and decided to go to a cafe – somewhere I hadn’t been before, a fresh location for a fresh perspective on the manuscript.
All was going well as I got an enormous fry-up and mug of tea for £4. But then as I settled down to work, the music in the place just started driving me crazy. They had the radio on, and it was all the latest pop music, and it just drove me crazy. It was impossible to form good sentences while listening to Rihanna singing “Come here rude boy, boy, is you big enough?” or 50 Cent saying “Have a baby by me, be a millionaire”.
So I took out my iPod, put on Andrea Bocelli and felt like an old man sitting in a cafe listening to Andrea Bocelli. The worst of it was that in the quiet moments, some of the jangly pop music came through, and so I had to turn up the iPod louder and louder, and in no time I got the dreaded “Low battery” message which, in the case of my iPod, means basically no battery at all – a couple of minutes later it switched itself off, and I was left with the radio.
Here’s the thing, though – I stayed, and in the end it wasn’t so bad. Most of the stuff didn’t really grab me, but it wasn’t unpleasant either. I managed to turn it into just background noise, and focus on my work, and in the end I got quite a lot done. Maybe I’m just old and set in my ways and impatient when it comes to hearing new stuff. Pop music was never high art, but I could always listen to it before.
Is it just me, though, or is some of the latest stuff a new level of nastiness? According to MetroLyrics, the parts I couldn’t hear were even nastier than the parts I could. For example, in 50 Cent: “I bet I’ll get you open, I’ll leave your headboard broken”. Or in Rihanna, “Tonight I’mma let you be a rider, Giddy up, baby, giddy up, giddy up babe.”
Let me clarify: it’s not that they’re singing about sex, I have no problem with that. It’s the violent imagery, the emotionless, loveless, animalistic nature of it, that just makes me sad. Broken headboards and horse-riders and breaking you off and getting you open and pull my hair and touch me there and give it to me baby like boom boom boom. God I feel old right now.