Have we no minds or imaginations anymore?!? I’m not one to talk — I’ve been suffering from a major lack of ideas of what to write about lately. I find it a little ironic that this is what I came up with.
But if anyone can respect a good movie or song reference, it’s me. A ton of my type of humor relies on pop culture references. But there’s a fine line between a witty reference or an inventive use of “sampling,” and becoming a mindless pop culture spewing drone.
Summer has long been known as the season of the sequel at the movie theater. And with the list of sequels getting longer each season, the lack of original movies becomes pretty apparent. If you’ve clamored to 12 a.m. sneak preview showings to see Transformers 3, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, The Hangover 2, and already are the proud owner of tickets to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II, you’re not alone. (I haven’t seen the first two, but I admit, I enjoyed The Hangover 2 … Even more than the original, which stressed me out a lot. Yeah, that’s how neurotic I am.)
But at least movie sequels make it obvious what the original is they’re referencing. Sampling is a practice that’s becoming increasingly popular in mainstream music. I’m not knocking it — It can be a real art. I think it’s usually a great way for an artist to repurpose a song that inspired them and make it their own. The thing I have beef with is when songs I liked months or years ago are sampled and the resulting song becomes more popular. Top 40 lovers know every word to the new song, but in my experience, an alarming amount have no idea that there was an original song behind it.
If you like any of the songs on the left, you may want to have a listen to the songs on the right. Click the links to hear the songs.
“The Show Goes On” by Lupe Fiasco ——- “Float On” by Modest Mouse (I recently heard a local DJ try to credit the original song, but mis-identified the band as Muse. It took all I had not to call in to the radio station and start screeching.)
“Paper Planes” by M.I.A. ——- “Straight to Hell” by The Clash – My dad is a fan of The Clash and would play them a lot when I was younger, which is probably the reason I like “Paper Planes” so much. “It ain’t Coca-Cola, it’s rice.”
Is the practice of sampling and referencing burrowing its way into everyday life? I can almost never get through a conversation without making or hearing a reference to something. I know I do it all the time. Is that okay?
Well, Houston, we may have a problem. It seems what we have here is a failure to communicate. Then again, perhaps frankly, my dears, we shouldn’t give a damn. After all, if all we do is make sequels, sample songs, and quote movies in conversations, our brains will have so much more room for activities. Maybe we can’t handle the truth that we’re just running out of original thoughts. Maybe the sun will come out tomorrow, and we’ll think up some stuff on our own for a change. Until then, hasta la vista, baby.