26 Sep 11 | Re: Wiry singer
Mick Jagger seems to be catching on with a new generation of pop fans just lately:
- It all started when the artfully dishevelled Ke$ha mentioned him in her undeniable classic pop hit Tik Tok in 2009. “The dudes are lining up because they hear we’ve got swagger, but we kick them to the kerb unless they look like Mick Jagger,” she rambled, in the song’s sixth-best line (no shame, as that song is full of GREAT lines).
- Then, earlier this year, Jagger’s sinewy essence permeated Cher Lloyd’s songwriting team’s brain cells and they came up with her successful din Swagger Jagger. You could say that this song isn’t actually about Mick Jagger, but then again it isn’t about anything much and I’m arguing that the indirect association with Mick did add to its enigmatic appeal.
- Then, and this is happening right now, usually-awful pop-disco band Maroon 5 came out with Moves Like Jagger, which definitely does reference Jagger, meaning Mick Jagger, all the way through. Result: one of the surprise hits of the summer, which has been in the top three for several weeks. Even more bizarrely, despite being by Maroon 5, the song isn’t actually terrible. I’m not going to buy it myself or anything, but its unashamed good-time cheesiness makes it this year’s answer to the Scissor Sisters’ I Don’t Feel Like Dancing. Not a bad thing.
Three Jagger-related megahits in less than three years - and the rate is increasing. Why?
- Reason 1 is that Jagger rhymes with the current buzzword “swagger”. Similarly, I expect Bic Runga wishes she had been around in 1990 when everyone was saying cowabunga. Note, though, that this can’t be the full story because the Maroon 5 track doesn’t rhyme Jagger with swagger - it just rhymes it with Jagger, over and over again.
- Reason 2 may be the continuing ascent of Keith Richards in the popular consciousness, culminating in his association with the character of Jack Sparrow from the Pirates movies. It seems likely that either some of Richards’ icon-power has rubbed off on Mick, or (less likely) that Mick has upped his game in reaction to Keith’s success and pulled some strings to product-place himself in the music of today.
- Reason 3, crucially, is that none of the people buying these songs really know much about Mick Jagger. They haven’t seen the Dancing In The Street video he did with Bowie. They haven’t heard the recent Stones material. They don’t know about the tax-exile business or the dubious punctuation of Paint It, Black. That means that they can imagine a kind of Platonic Jagger, who is a genuine icon, uncompromised by the faintly embarassing reality of the actual Mick Jagger.
Now, I note that Mick himself has a new album out with his group Superheavy. The concept of Superheavy is that a bemused Damien Marley stands powerlessly amid a tornado of all the most taste-free people in all genres of music - namely Mick, Joss Stone, DAVE STEWART FOR GOODNESS SAKE, and newcomer AR Rahman. So, will Jagger’s new-found status as a hip pop reference point bring this group the baffling success it doesn’t deserve? Or will the profile boost caused by this new endeavour remind everyone of what Mick is actually like and cause a collapse in the population of pop Jagger-nods? I will monitor the situation and keep you updated.
Posted by PADMI PATIL at 13:04
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