This Is Pop Review: Netflix Documentary Unboxes Pop Music

Most of the stories are funny and unexpected. Who knew that a demo recorded well on a crappy tape could become an international sensation? The strangest things happen when a song gets stuck in your

Most of the stories are funny and unexpected. Who knew that a demo recorded well on a crappy tape could become an international sensation? The strangest things happen when a song gets stuck in your head or a tape gets stuck in a car stereo. Recording contracts are concluded this way. Each episode opens with an innocent tale of an origin story. A kid who wants to be an athlete finds himself stuck in a gifted school and learns to score harmonies instead of scoring goals. A gang of bikers and hippies set off in search of a place to listen to music without a ceiling. A catchy song is perfected on the dance floor of a nightclub. Someone turns a knob fully on a program that was not designed for this. Hey, if Spinal Tap can set their amps to 11, why can’t Cher turn the auto melody correction down to zero? It’s not rock and roll, but it’s pop.

the 1971 documentary adhered to Homer’s Simpson sentiment “rock stars, is there nothing they don’t know?” Nobody expects this from pop stars. But it’s not like It’s pop replaces the Vietnam War with the Oasis vs. Blur battle. Each episode includes footage dealing with real issues and social injustice. Even if it’s just T-Pain getting shaved on a plane by Usher for destroying the art of singing. “What can a song do?” Shows how Anita Hill’s audiences in 1991 led to Bratmobile, and Bikini Kill created the first safe space when Riot Grrrls led “Girls Front” at shows. The suppression of gay rights in Russia results in a hit in America.

Racism, sexism, queer politics and classism pervade all aspects of pop music. The Shoegaze Lush legend is supposed to show up at a bikini photoshoot with a glass of champagne when outfitted for Britpop. Lil Nas X breaks the broken hearts of the country music industry when he has a hit with “Old Town Road”. Chuck D of Public Enemy vividly recounts how he returned to the Isley Brothers for “Fight the Power”. When he says he wanted to capture what that song made him feel, he makes you feel it. “You can scream all you want,” Chuck D says, “but until you start smashing windows that’s when they say“ oh you gotta do something about it. . It’s like American Pie.

When Noel Gallagher pierces George Harrison’s “Wonderwall”, it’s only because he needs the right word to end a line. A song cannot change the world. “Music has no agency, only people have an agency,” we are told as archival footage presents conflicting conclusions. In the late 1940s, when Woody Guthrie was a traveling troubadour from California to New York Island, Americans were finding strength in their proud use of Mexican labor. People wanted to do things together, his son Arlo Guthrie tells the camera. This flashback cuts to more recent images of calls to build a wall between the two countries and the weakness at its center. For every step forward, there is a spin back, except in line country dancing.

“When Country Goes Pop” sums up the basic premise of each genre highlighted. Country music is meant to be about authenticity. Willie Nelson and Dolly Parton are labeled authentic, even though they are consciously heading into the mainstream. Shania Twain has made country music more popular than ever, but Nashville’s old school cats are too mesmerized by her navel to recognize her true singing artistry. Steve Earle ushered in the fear of integrity, until Garth Brooks began to fly over audiences at concerts as if he was the Thin White Duke. The deepest visual representation of the genre’s authenticity can be found in black and white photographs of members of Nirvana and Alice in Chains looking at Johnny Cash as if he were god when he recorded with Rick Rubin.

But is Ace of Base’s Ulf Ekberg any less authentic when he remembers playing the backing track for “All That She Wants” on a dance floor every night to make sure he got them moving. people before putting votes on it? Blur arrives in America the day Nirvana arrives. They decide to re-break. What could be more authentically British than three chords and a Union Jack? Arlo Guthrie sums it up succinctly when he remembers his father saying that “the job of the songwriter is to disturb the comfort and comfort the deranged.”