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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

"My People"

The Presets - "My People" (2007)

Oh joy, electro dance synth pop! It's like I won the musical lottery! Except of course the opposite.



As many popular Australian songs turn out to be, it is a message song dressed up as a pop song so that it is more palatable to the radio censors and becomes more of a ear worm for people so they think of it all the time. This song is about the Australian phenomenon of Boat People. Thousands of people leave lives of poverty and oppression every year in South East Asia by small boat, and travel to Australia looking for a better life. Most are caught and put into mandatory detention centers. The song brings to lights their plight.

The Presets is just about the best name I have ever heard for this type of group. So perfectly on the nose. The Presets is two guys, one on vocals and keyboards, and the other on drums and keyboards. It is all electronically produced noise, and a drum set, though many of the drums sounds are electronic as well. I find the obviously electronic sounds annoying and oddly out of time. Much of the high pitched sounds could have been made by a keyboard in an 80s British synthpop band. The worst offender is the sound that segues from the chorus into the verse. It's so dated I'm pretty sure I had a toy as a child that could make that sound. The lower pitched sounds that are replicating the sound of a heavily feedback looped guitar is less annoying. It's still not great, but it does give the song an angry edge that lets people know that the song might be for more than just dancing.  The lyrics are good, evocative and really putting you in the feeling of the people that he is singing about; but the vocals are so processed and monotonous that aside from the repeated chorus I had to pull up a lyrics sheet just to get an idea of what he was saying.  This is far from the worst dance influenced synthesizer driven song I've heard, it does some creative things with some of the sounds, and the message is clear if more that a little covered up; but it's just so not my genre, I don't know how I'm supposed to feel about it. And if that wasn't enough, Will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas has stated that their 2009 album The E.N.D., which gave us the musically null "Boom Boom Pow" and the truly horrible and musically stupefying track (yes, I'm implying that just by listening to the song you become musically dumber - that's why I'm not linking you to it) "I Gotta Feeling"; sounded the way it did because he spent three months in Australia while "My People" was big on the radio.

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