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For her newest song, London singer Charli has shared writing duties with the brilliant SOPHIE, proponent of new genre PC Music.
But what the fuck is PC Music? It’s tough to say, in part because as a genre it’s pretty early doors for it. All it’s really possible to say (about the music, at least) is that it sounds as if your PC made music. That’s to say, not a person making music using a PC but a PC actually making music. That’s because the backing to the tracks like a PC singing, as it squeals and pops from one bar to the next, sometimes whipping out a sample from a ninties PC game. What’s produced is like a House DJ in a club where the nearest corner shop only sells chewing gum mixing in Britney Spears.
That’s because the vocals on a typical PC music track are nearly always bubblegum-pop, but taken to a level where the sweetness is as sweet as Lemonade. This seems to be ironic, on some level, when combined with the overwhelming irony of the lyrics – i.e. despite it sounding like bubblegum pop, this isn’t pop.
In fact, some people have wondered whether the entire genre is meant to be either a joke or a high end art piece – a look at what pop would look like if taken to its natural end, a sort of apocalypse of music. If that is the case – and it must be, if only because of the background of AA Gill (owner of the label PC Music and a main mover in the genre), who was a Goldsmiths art school student – it may well be impossible to enjoy the music. If the the ‘true’ interpretation of the music is drenched in irony and meaning, is it not wrong to enjoy the music based on simply how it sounds rather than what it means?
I hope not, because frankly art students’ ‘jokes’ and art pieces tend to be pretty shit. I think it is possible to separate meaning (if there is one) and the music, and just take the music. Leave the performance art of the entire thing to those who care. Allow them to dwell on the meaning and possible irony. They’ll still be there in 10 years time, watching SOPHIE headlining the pyramid stage on the Saturday. They’ll smirk at the thousands of ‘idiots’ who have brought about the endpoint of pop music, and have done it off the back of music which was intended to point how stupid they were. Whatever. Good music is good music, and if it means that pop snobs are locked in a room for the next ten years, then all the better.
But is this music, this genre, really good? Listening to it, after all, is often like listening to a Star Wars gun battle. I think that it is; it combines wicked melodies with driving beats, a combination which usually indicates promising dance music. But I think it goes further than that. The most interesting part about this music, after all, is that it’s music that your parents will likely fucking hate (just try it). And finding music like that has become increasingly hard. Wolf Alice? Your parents grew up on mid tempo guitar music. Royal Blood? Your parents probably invented grunge, and your fucking grandparents invented punk. House music? What, do you think ecstasy really did stop people having kids?
This, though, is so abrasive and unlike anything before that your parents will hate it. And that makes it so much more exciting, because it’s rock n roll.