Wednesday, November 25, 2009

British pop

Here's a name for Americans: Katie Melua - the British pop-singer's answer to Britney Spears, except without any of the dumb baggage, and about 10 times as good a singer.

I first heard Melua in a video in which she and her band ventured below hundres of feet of salt water to perform a concert at the bottom of the North Sea. They were in a Norwegian oil rig, where the folks spoke a Scandinavian tongue that sounded a lot like German, except worse.

Later, in a clultural turn-around that pro-golfer Ai Miazato or all those Korean golfer gals might smile about, I watched a Melua video subtitled in ... Japanese, Chinese, or whatever it was ... and was pleased that I could enjoy the music, despite all those Asian ideograms at the bottom of the screen.

What's cool is that foreign pop singers like Melua do just fine without having to have kiddie lunch boxes with their faces on them, or Disney promoting them until they grow arm-pit hair. I'm not saying American pop singers are bad ... just that they don't sing:

If a black man is racist,
Is it okay?
If it's a white man's racism, that made him that way?

"Cos the bully is the victim they say,
By some sense,
They're all the same.

"Cos the line between
Wrong and right,
is the width of a thread
From a spider's web ...

This was a little part of "Spider Web," a Melua song I rather liked. But the point is: Americans don't know beans about pop music around the world. Maybe they should open their ears.

As to their minds, well ...

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