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Who killed Smash Hits?

The publisher blames the Internet, but the Guardian’s Alexis Petridis unmasks the real villain:

in the past decade, rounded, interesting, flawed human beings have vanished entirely from teen pop. Record companies, cleaving to the American model of perfection, began media-training their stars – “media-training” being a technical term for surgically depriving someone of their personality. Pop music in 2006 is no better or worse than it was 25 years ago – the tracks on Girls Aloud’s recent Chemistry album are every bit as thrilling as Adam And The Ants’ Stand and Deliver – but the people who make it have been focus-grouped out of existence. They are witless automatons, smiley conduits for the groundbreaking work of pop production teams.

6 replies on “Who killed Smash Hits?”

Blame it on MTV

MTV is certainly the network which put an *image* on the music. Hence, from a communications point of view, it’s not hard to imagine how imagery would take over content, as videos began to sell not just a voice but, more often than a concept, a person. It’s all a popularity contest, and the dumbest person usually has the best skills at playing it.

That’s nonsense, Diego. MTV is successful. If Smash Hits‘s problem were that it was too much like MTV, it would also be successful. Pop always sold a person, not just a mere voice. The problem is the exact opposite of what you just said: they’re losing the popularity contest, because they’re trying to sell dull people that no-one wants to buy.

I’m so old, I remember when MTV showed music videos.

I do think that Petridis identified the main reason – writing about pop isn’t particularly interesting if the people aren’t particularly interesting – but it’s also due to saturation music coverage. It’s exactly the same thing that’s stuffed Top of the Pops: too much music, available all the time from a million different sources.

Hey, you’ve got it easy.
You’re in Britan, but I live in America. I’m pretty sure most of what’s on our top ten is actualy made by a machine.

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