This week, the music industry looks something like Christmas. It's not that the new music releases are gifts, per se (quite the contrary), but there are so damn many high-profile albums after a relatively dormant summer. This kind of flurry is usually reserved for the holidays. And what's more, together they give as full of a picture of the state of label-based pop music in 2012 as any recent concurrent set of albums. Really, all this week is missing is a neo-boy band. Let's explore:
Picture this: Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope of Insane Clown Posse sitting in a theater lecherously reviewing Carly Rae Jepsen's music video for "Call Me Maybe" MST3K-meets-Beavis-and-Butt-head-style while Pop-Up Video bubbles let them know Carly is old enough to legally lust over.
Margarita Pracatan is at least 60, extremely Cuban and quasi-known for her wacky covers of pop songs. They are irreverent not just to their source material, but to the ideas of melody and rhythm. On Friday, she performed her one-woman show, Stranger in the Night, at New York's Laurie Beechman Theater under the direction of Zach Udko. It was one of the wildest entertainment concepts I've ever witnessed. For over an hour, Pracatan stood in front of a pidgin-English PowerPoint presentation and discussed her love of money, her hatred of marriage and her frequenting of hotel bathrooms with her riffs on pop songs like Lionel Richie's "Hello," Katy Perry's "Teenage Dream," Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe" and Maroon 5/Christina Aguilera's "Moves Like Jagger" interspersed. Before singing "Jagger," she told the crowd, "You can sing with me, 'cause I don't know this song." Every time she stepped up to the keyboard, she regarded it warily, as if it were her first time ever setting eyes on it. I believe that her "Teenage Dream" rendition linked to above uses the wrong preset beat. Oh well, incoherence is her aesthetic.
"Corgi Rae Jepsen" stars in what must surely be the very last "Call Me Maybe" parody because the Internet has officially reached its nadir and will subsequently be disconnected.
On next week's Billboard Hot 100, dated June 23, Carly Rae Jepsen's diabolical ear candy "Call Me Maybe" at last assumes the No. 1 position. The song was practically preordained as the song of the summer, and wouldn't you know, it happens hit No. 1 on the first chart of summer proper. Everything is going according to the universe's plan.