May 6, 2011

"There is a way in which 9-year old girls will always decide the pop charts."

"'What do you mean [Bob Dylan/Nirvana/Led Zeppelin/Modest Mouse] never had a #1 but [Bobby Vinton/Barry Manilow/Mariah Carey/Britney Spears] had multiple ones?'  Yeah, yeah.  The radio is important hipster dudes and kids who cannot afford to stock their whole iPod yet have to hear their favorite songs somehow.  Yup.  Whitney Houston's 80s #1s are the definers of this genre.  And How Will I Know is the best of those songs.  Upbeat and dancey, How Will I Know, which asks essentially the same questions and the Shoop Shoop Song, doesn't really care much about the first blush of love or the deeper meaning of woman's inability to read male signals.  It care about Whitney's voice, which is sweet and flowing like Karo syrup across flapjacks, and that synth line.  And the little girls sang along and rightly so."

List-a-Beefy reaches #143 in the top 200 #1 songs since 1955 and analyzes it in the pop style that only List-a-Beefy can muster. Mmmm... flapjacks.

Here are the lyrics to "How Will I Know?" and here's "Shoop Shoop Song" in case you want to compare questions asked and possibly answered.
How will I know?...
Does he love me? I want to know...
Don't trust your feelings...
It's in his kiss...

15 comments:

Scott M said...

This is why we've had multiple "top 40" charts for some time now.

Nirvana was atop the alt-rock charts a couple of times. I'm not sure Alice in Chains was ever in the AT40 lineup, but they were/are heavy hitters in the Active Rock category.

If you're only zeroing in on the "America's Top 40" zone, well, yeah, but that's always been an incomplete and pigeon-holed list.

ex-madtown girl said...

This post has inspired me to add a "How Do I Know?" channel to my Pandora lineup. Thanks Ann!


wv: ematela everyone Whitney's got pipes!

MadisonMan said...

That album has a whole slew of hits on it. I prefer Saving all my love for you to the others.

You can cry that it's overly lush, or whatever, but it's a nice listen.

Nels said...

I have a hard time believing there was ever a time when 9-year-old girls called in to request Barry Manilow.

Shanna said...

Well now that boppy Whitney song is going to be in my head all day!

Stephen A. Meigs said...

I think girls decide the charts because they copy each other so much they tend to vote as a bloc. But girls greatly prefer to copy the few girls who don't copy but use their own tastes to judge. And they mostly don't feel comfortable liking stuff that adults think is gross. So it is important to girls what adults think is good taste, but mostly only when it comes to deciding what might be dangerous; anyway, it's important to remember adults decide what is permissible to be played on the radio and TV.

Ideally, on average, girls would decide more from their parents what is dangerous than from general (mostly adult) attitudes, but they aren't that way as much as parents should like because the part of a girl that is different from a parent is displeased by the weirdness of the part of a parent that is different from her, whereas the part of a parent that is different from a daughter has no genetic stake in the daughter, and so does not lose enjoyment by encoding for the tendency to be true to its own tastes in parenting (as opposed to being excessively conformist in parenting).

The Crack Emcee said...

I've made this point on almost every music post you've done:

There's a difference between popular and good.

I'm comfortable as long as the two don't get confused.

Nels,

I have a hard time believing there was ever a time when 9-year-old girls called in to request Barry Manilow.

Phil 3:14 said...

Whitney Houston,great talent wasted.

Pardon me but the song and video were:

too white and too gay

Phil 3:14 said...

This is a bit more to my liking And I think it still well demonstrates her extraordinary talent

(in singing that is, not dancing)

A hey, who doesn't like a

chick anthem

Phil 3:14 said...

And when Whitney channels Streisand she demonstrates amazing pipes but a bit over the top.

Rich B said...

I remember that my local Philly radio station (WIBG - 99) published a top 99 list every week, and you could get it for free at the record store. I loved to scour that listing to see how the songs I liked were doing.

Supposedly, Bruce Channel (and Delbert McClinton) influenced John Lennon to play the harmonica and Hey Baby was on Lennon's portable jukebox.

Milwaukee said...

Stephens' got it! I think girls decide the charts because they copy each other so much they tend to vote as a bloc. Those delightful creatures (meaning the older ones, not the 9-year-olds) who knows what they are thinking! I finally decided, here on a a major university campus, perhaps why so many women out with a friend are dressed similarly. Perhaps it is validation. If they are both wearing black pants and gray sweatshirt, then that outfit is ok. Next, if they are dressed at the same level of "cuteness" then the lesser one doesn't have to feel less. So, if both have short shorts, great. If both have short skirts, great. But if one has short shorts, and the other has a skirt, then there is a mismatch. Can't have dissonance. I truly believe most guys just put on clothes, women get dressed.

A few years ago I was discussing things of popular culture with my students and I said I really didn't follow popular culture. One of my students said "Well, it isn't called popular culture. We call it 'pop culture.'" Dang, don't even know what it is.

Rialby said...

The cast of Glee has had more hits than the Beatles. 'Nuff said.

phx said...

Thanks for reminding me of this project.

el polacko said...

i dunno.. we're always hearing that it's the pre-teen girls who are the engine behind popular music and are the voting bloc on shows like 'idol'...but every time the local news does a story about 'idol' fans gathered around the tube, it's a bunch of heavy-set, middle-aged women cooing over their faves...and it's the guys, of all ages, who are into the guitar-based rock... and it's, mostly, the gay guys who support dance music... so, where does this pre-teen girl theory come from??