I love parodies but has it all gone too far? Just before New Year, I managed to negotiate with my kids half an hour of music television. Ah, a classic straight away: Sum 41’s ‘Fat Lip’, which features a random Iron Maiden tribute at the end. Afterwards, it was Bowling for Soup’s ‘1985’:
‘Cause she’s still preoccupied
With 19, 19, 1985…’
To be fair, having read the lyrics, there is a genuine and sad narrative that is quite surprising for what sounds like a standard ‘pop punk’ song. I had thought that it was a brazenly nostalgic song written to justify a silly video with references to 1985, though ‘Addicted to Love’ was released in 1986 and ‘Faith’ was released in 1987!
So is a fondness for parodies based on nostalgia or is it simply laziness? ‘It’s easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism.’* I’d add that it’s easier to imagine the end of capitalism than the beginning of a music style that is truly new. There’s a van parked outside a nightclub in town that has ‘80s’ and ‘90s’ on the back and various photos and images associated with those decades. Can you imagine a van parked outside a nightclub with ‘2000s’ and ‘2010s’ on it? All the images would surely inherently be parodies…So do I love them or not? Yes, but wouldn’t it be great if, instead of the weary widespread acceptance of ‘nudge nudge wink wink’ postmodernism, we were part of something original?
‘Postmodern thought is broadly characterized by tendencies to…irreverence, and self-referentiality…’** Indeed, have you seen the video for ‘Finesse’ by Bruno Mars? Honestly, why don’t we just put our brains in jars and watch Fresh Prince on repeat?
‘Punk continues to fascinate because it was the twentieth century’s last avant-garde.’***
‘Avant-garde in music can refer to any form of music working within traditional structures while seeking to breach boundaries in some manner.’****
Come on Bruno, sort it out!