I must be cautious when I approach politics in pop. I have the tendency to dismiss the concept outright, as if the expression of a musician's social consciousness is disquieting. It's a generalisation that tends to undermine the legitimacy of songs that may well contain great depth and insight. There are some genuinely great political songs, of course: U2's Sunday Bloody Sunday, The Cranberries' Zombie and The Style Council's Money Go Round. Despite everything, I still admire the power and potency of these songs and I know that their appeal is directly attributable to their political quality.
It's difficult to identify this weird sense of unease that comes with political pop. Perhaps it has something to do with the assumption that an entertainer has some specialist insight into social reform. Maybe it has something to do with the honest concerns of the the rich, touring pop musician. More to the point, I am wary of the extraordinary capacity of these songs to influence change. It's like the Depeche Mode song, New Dress: You can't change the world but you can change the facts, and when you change the facts, you change points of view. If you change points of view, you may change a vote and when you change a vote, you may change the world.
I knew that creating a Soviet Pop podcast would invariably lead to this notion of politics in pop. However, its presence wasn't as irksome as you'd expect. It was fascinating to explore how pop music was perceived as this evil thing by the Soviet authorities, its existence was deemed to be emblematic of the "decadent West". The lyrics, presentation and subtext of every song of every group was subject to the ideological scrutiny of the Ministry of Culture, the KGB and the state-run record company, Melodiya. It's extraordinary to retrospectively consider the existence of punk bands, creating in dissent, trading tapes in secret, living in Soviet underground. I'm not quite sure how, but it somehow made politics seem so inexplicably alluring...
Cassettes & Chocolate Milk: Soviet Pop Podcast #46
Форум - Что сравнится с юностью
София Ротару - Ночь
Магик Студио - Волшебное Диско
Маленький принц - Снежный человек
Летний сад - Постой
Звёзды - Солнце горит
Форум - Компьютер
Кино - Звезда
Forum - What Compares With Youth?
Sofia Rotaru - The Night
Magick Studio - Magic Disco
The Little Prince - Snow Man
Summer Garden - Hold on
Stars - The sun is burning
Forum - Computer
Kino - Star
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