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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Pop Getting Intimate?

Editorial by Mark Mayhey reporting from London, UK
(Special Thanks to Lauren Zima)

Business has been getting personal lately as music industry stars are coming out with more and more revealing music. In her latest album, French first lady Carla Bruni has been criticised for getting personal with lyrics about past lovers and drug use. Even the Turkish public has been privy to private confessions from the generally closed-up Tarkan in his 2007 album Metamorfoz, but what's the reason for such intimacy?

When Pop is Schlop

As we wait with fearful apprehension whether Britney Spears (thanks to her stupendous breakdown) or Robbie Williams will follow suit with new songs that take us into their personal pouts, such musical revelations are nothing really new - love-sick (or just sick) musicians have been putting their revelations to paper for ages.

One of music history's most famous examples is also one of guitar legend Eric Clapton's most famous songs, "Layla", which was written about his unrequited love for Pattie Boyd, wife of Clapton's good friend George Harrison at the time. Clapton used Layla as a pseudonym for Pattie, but apparently she got the hint as she later left Harrison for Clapton.

Or how about young British singing legend Amy Winehouse, who achieved perhaps one of the most embarrassing personal song statements with her hit tune "Rehab"? Writing about her own addiction issues, Winehouse declared to the world that she'd never go to rehab, and then went to rehab.

Tarkan, too, in Metamorfoz has hit on a few issues close to his heart to make the 2007 album a more personal contribution than his past serving to the pop spread. With his "Dedikodu" track he complained about the gossips in the Turkish press that constantly hound him, while hitting on the socio-political scene with his somewhat idealistic "Hop Hop".

Searching for Understanding

Tarkan in the studio working on his 2007 albumPolitically, environmentally, more importantly globally, the world is in a strange place at the moment, and this has seemingly pushed artists to search inward, rather than outward at the general bag of muses that take precedence in pop music.

But is this a good thing? For all of Metamorfoz's successes, ultimately will the Turkish public be able to understand Tarkan's metamorphosis as the country - pulled by the poles of left and right-wing politics - is going through a transformation itself?

Moreover, has Tarkan realised this by seemingly staying away from the summer song blockbuster races, which is generally filled with the regular pop fodder that feeds the sun and beach fused, club-med masses in the domestic industry?

The Turkish pop artist is asking a public to think at a time when thinking is dangerous, and all some people want to do is just feel the music and forget.

Possibly in such times, pop shouldn't get intimate, it should just get down.

The views in this article are those of the author alone.
Read more Mark Mayhey articles on Tarkan >>

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