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Britney, Pulsar and Dan

The Pulsar Triyo is going to save the world. Don’t ask me about the specifics. I just know it’s going to happen. But first, let me introduce you to Dan.

Dan and I argue a lot about music. For example, I’m a Ramones fan while Dan is a Clash enthusiast. Dan is an accomplished musician and songwriter; I merely rock the poor man’s iPod (e.g. hum to myself). But the argument I would like to present here is a very simple one. Dan says I’m an elitist, and I say I’m not.

Let me first note that music is inherently divisive. It helps delineate us into groups and will always involve some exclusivity. For example—punks listen to punk, country boys listen to country, and the lobotomized listen to smooth jazz. Everyone else listens to pop while chewing cud.

Right now, someone is thinking, “But all music is beautiful and unifies humanity. Don’t label me just because I like ______. You’re such an elitist!” You then agree with my friend Dan. He believes that if anything sounds good to you, you’re entitled to listen to it, guilt free. Bake your brains out on Ashlee Simpson and American Idol. Otherwise, if you limit what you can and can’t listen to, you’re a corrupt music snob.

I, the aforementioned snob, agree on the universality of music. If anyone utterly rejects country music, they’ll never know how great Johnny Cash is. If someone refuses to listen to hip-hop, they are missing out on lyrical genius. Good music should transcend petty self-imposed borders. When melodies and lyrics address something basic to the human condition, it can bring us together. Many can sympathize with the tortured young man in “Gangsta’s Paradise.” Many more of us can find common ground in making fun of a religious minority in “Amish Paradise.” (Thus, Weird Al outsold Coolio).

Even if it is the lowest common denominator, pop still brings humans together. And I’m all for the reconciliation of our species. So, if pop has now been universalized to include all genres and styles, why am I still an elitist for hating it?

I just can’t handle it when people tell me what to like. When a corporation takes someone without any talent, gives them songs written by somebody else, and then inflates them into icons and movie stars, I want to vomit. Here I make the distinction where “Toxic” is a good song, Britney Spears is evil. “Toxic” has an intriguing beat and an interesting rhythm. It is a credit to whoever wrote it. But that person was not Britney. Ms. Spears, known for her advancement of women’s equality with songs like “I’m a Slave 4 U” is at best, a decent vocalist whom we are compelled to celebrate. This breed of processed entertainment is antithetical to art, music and everything decent in the world.

The Pulsar Triyo is our way out. Not just because of their genius experimental jazz, but because they can turn Pop into music. If I listen to Britney’s “Toxic,” I feel guilty. I know she’s making millions that she doesn’t deserve. A generation exposed to her will confuse a “performer/entertainer” with a real musician.

When I listen to the Pulsar Triyo’s version of “Toxic” (a free download from their website) it’s a completely different experience. They’re just three talented guys making music. The Triyo’s creativity and impromptu stylings add nuances that make the song brilliant. Better still, they don’t demand a cult of personality. They’re a struggling student band. You might have even had class with them. Heck, I’ve even eaten lunch with Pulsar back when he was still underground.

I don’t blame you if you like “Toxic.” It’s a good song and music is made to be enjoyed. But if you really like the music instead of Britney’s body parts, check out The Pulsar Triyo. If independent bands like them continue to emerge, we can still have innovation and honesty in music. And if Dan (who also hates Britney) doesn’t like that, he can write his own column.

Gideon Weinerth is a Pratt Sophomore. His column appears every other Tuesday.


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