I read Lee Billingham's article 'Revolutions Per Minute' (October SR) with interest.
Unfortunately, Lee's idea of ticking off the ideological good and bad points of current pop acts didn't make for an inspirng read. Readers of Socialist Review already know that sexism and homophobia are bad and that anti-capitalism is good, so do we really need a survey to tell us which chart fodder we can buy that is politically okay? As I thought we'd been reminded by anti-capitalism, cultural commodification is part of our oppression.
After performing at the Anti Nazi League (ANL) carnival in Manchester, the politics of Ms Dynamite certainly deserve further examination. Unfortunately, Lee doesn't seem to have got the measure of what Ms Dynamite--ANL appearance aside--really signifies as a media phenomenon. The Independent on Sunday had a glossy supplement courtesy of Nokia phones and Orange recently. Ms Dynamite was one of ten celebrities telling us to buy their new photo messaging mobiles. No politics, no protest, no intelligence--just 'isn't success and the technology you can buy wonderful!'
I'm aware that pop music is contradictory under capitalism, but is the only option to be grateful when the Ms Dynamites and George Michaels have hiccups in their careers and throw a few ideological crumbs our way? The idea that music is only real when it's part of a global corporate sales pitch is an aspect of our alienation which Socialist Review should criticise, not endorse. Let's have some committed music writing in Socialist Review, writing that focuses on composers, musicians and bands whose work we can learn from (improvisation, I've heard, is the mother of dialectics). Who cares if they're famous? Subservience to the corporate spectacle of 'music' in a supposedly revolutionary magazine is wretched.