Metaphors in popular music?

It's summer in the northern hemisphere but not here in wet Wagga Wagga.

The season heralds the most ambitious attempts at the consumer market in the blockbusters of the cinema and there's a similar phenomenon that used to be heard on commercial radio.

This song had me hooked from the opening line about putting your sneakers on. It's fun but formulaic, perfect pop. The aural equivalent of a fountain of youth to my ears but part of the appeal is the exact opposite of what's so obvious in...

Of course, both tunes are excellent pop contrivances in very different ways. The first is a call to the dance floor and the second shows how groundbreaking Tatu really were! Hell, maybe I've been reading this wrong. Maybe the Spice Girls are feminist icons and Tatu will be recognised for advancing gay rights in Russia.

Good pop usually delivers a simple repetition musically of an equally simple and repeated concept. Katy Perry delivers a concept that seems unsensational to me and muscially it's unsensational too. Lipstick lesbian is so 90s! Are we back there already?

At least the new single from Estelle (Substitute Love) is still in the 80s. Anyone who listened to popular music during that decade will recognise the debt it owes to George Michael. It ain't a bad substitution :)

But seriously, I think the best thing about pop is the way it can give a voice to kids. The desire to kiss a girl is something I can relate to at one level but imagine the importance such an act can hold for a teen audience and you can see why pop works.

Look through the charts, look at the titles and you're practically reading a list of hopes and fears and desires. That's why pop music works because like poetry or storytelling it's a metaphor for someone.

Andrew Pippos once told me that in Greek the word metaphor means to carry. Like a cart carries wood to the fire sorta thing. It goes a long way to explaining the power of art.

In pop music metaphors aren't usually very sophisticated but they are effective and I think part of their power is the way they often articulate something vulnerable that either the listener wants to hear or may want to say.

Admittedly, having singled out these two clips, Vanessa Hudgens doesn't need a metaphor to invite people to dance and Katy Perry doesn't suggest she's going to do more than kiss someone of the same sex. There are comments attached to Hudgens' clip on YouTube which argue the track is a commercial for her sneakers.

lol they are wearing mark red ecko shoes and she is a model for this was obviously a advertisement music video....

I guess the thing I liked was the call to put on sneakers and go dancing because that's sensible advice. Maybe I'm reading too much into pop?

Maybe I want there to be something more clever about pop music than just trying to sell kids stuff because they've got a disposable income. That seems so cynical and somehow so at odds with the simplicity of what they say.