Acoustic versions of highly produced pop songs are the new easiest irony, as evinced by yesterday's most watched Youtube video, an acoustic version of Four Minutes to Save the World. This is just-add-water cultural criticism that bespeaks no thought or compelling effort, but which is publicly lauded for adhering to the structure of an actual parody. Ironic T-shirts, I'm talking to you. The acoustic cover amusements began with Alanis Morisette's version of My Humps. That actually was funny, My Humps has stupid lyrics, and underscoring them with legitimate sentiment was something like a commentary. Then there were the thousands of Umbrella covers. At the beginning of hers, Mandy Moore talks about how she doesn't like pop music. This is precisely what's wrong with this trend: Mandy Moore is not allowed to condescend to pop music, she is pop music. After the jump, the Four Minutes video.
The common implication of these covers is that highly produced pop has no real emotion or thought behind it. By slowing them down and focusing on the lyrics, you're pointing out that the lyrics make no sense. That's totally valid for My Humps, but Umbrella and Four Minutes to Save The World are fine pop songs. I'm annoyed with the sentiment that the musician is somehow doing or saying something by stripping down production value. Take a look at this Ben Gibbard cover of Thriller.
It's the self-satisfied smirk and the laughter of the audience that bother me. They're so proud of themselves for being better than pop music.
And also, in de-pop-ifying these pop numbers, what are they removing? The R&B influence, the Rap influence, and pointing out the fact that a lot of pop lyrics fail to comport with standard spoken English but instead reflect African American vernacular. I'm just sayin'.
Also, I totally think the acoustic Four Minutes and Umbrella are pretty, but they still annoy me.