News and notes from Fredericksburg's entertainment scene
Equalizer: Summer Soda Pop
BY JONAS BEALS
THE FREE LANCE-STAR
Soda is getting all the attention these days, but government officials interested in curbing the obesity epidemic might want to take a look at the current Billboard Hot 100 chart. The top ten is littered with an excessive amount of candy.
Tween confection Justin Bieber is there. So is the hand-pulled taffy of Simon Cowell’s One Direction and similarly British boy band The Wanted. Carly Rae Jepsen couldn’t get more saccharine. Repeat sweet offenders Maroon 5 are also there, as are Nicki Minaj and Flo Rida.
The pop chart has always been the repository of “bubble gum” tunes, but this is shaping up to be a particularly sugary summer.
Perhaps New York City Governor Michael Bloomberg can step in.
Social commentators popped their last good blood vessel after Bloomberg floated a law limiting the size of soft drinks in the city to 16 ounces. Clearly, this was an example of government overreach—of the “nanny state” meddling in the freedom of consumption guaranteed by the Constitution.
Soda tastes good. Carly Rae Jepson sounds good. Why shouldn’t we have as much as we want?
Then again, we do need help. Look at us! We’re fat as fried chickens! The greatest engineering minds of our generation are designing stronger elevator cables instead of inventing cold fusion. This needs to end. Someone has to steer us in the right direction.
We wander powerless among the corporate taste-makers, bingeing on whatever irresistible treat their science has concocted. Government is too lumbering to do the job effectively. As has been pointed out, the brilliant calorie cowboys among us can simply buy two 16-ounce sodas. Take away my iPod and I’ll just get my One Direction fix from YouTube.
Not even death and disease—two pretty powerful motivators—have kept people from mainlining Mr. Pibb. How can anyone ever hope to get kids to turn off the Bieber?
The consequences of gulping down too much Katy Perry are not well understood, but anecdotal evidence suggests it can lead to increased sexual activity in lab rats.
Which begs the question: This stuff is for kids? Well, yes. Like soda, pop music is made to appeal to a demographic that lacks either the understanding or willpower to restrain themselves from consuming it. It just so happens that most adults show a similar inability to restrain themselves in the face of overwhelming sweetness.
This is where I am supposed to recommend the vegetables of the music world: Bix Beiderbecke, a Bach concerto, perhaps some Fela Kuti.
Forget it. You only live once, so grab two cold Fantas and turn up the radio. Revel in the insistent disco beats, the overt sexual themes, the skillfully airbrushed vulgarities and swear words. This is kid’s stuff, and we could all use a little of that.
When pop stars make art for mass consumption, we all get treated like children. Let them. Give in to the sweet sensation and exercise your freedom before the man takes it away.
Enjoy the summer. I’ve gotta go. This Big Gulp isn’t going to refill itself.
JONAS’ IN-TOWN PICK: Chapman stick night at the 909 Saloon downtown. You definitely want to check out this “futuristic” electric instrument that is part guitar, part bass and part hammered dulcimer. And Fredericksburg has become sort of a hotbed for it. Saturday at 8 p.m.
OUT-OF-TOWN PICK: SuperCLAW at The Jefferson Theater in Charlottesville. OK, this is technically a ladies’ arm wrestling event, but there will also be music. But seriously. Ladies’ arm wrestling! Saturday at 8 p.m.
LISTENING TO: “The Nights of Wine and Roses” by Japandroids. A track from their killer new album, “Celebration Rock.” Rock music should always be this aggressive, forlorn and unhinged.
Jonas Beals: 540/368-5036