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Monday, May 30, 2011 

How can someone so right also be so wrong?

Apologies in advance for this latest completely subjective moan about the ever dreadful state of modern popular music.

A top record executive has launched a damning attack on music industry attitudes, claiming the insistence on over-sexualising female artists has led to "boring, crass and unoriginal" music.

Well, to be slightly more accurate, it isn't just the over-sexualisation of recent years, it's the homogenisation of mainstream music in all its various sectors. We've been assaulted by auto-tune, inured by the direness of the Mark Ronson/Amy Winehouse faux-soul sound (such an innovation it's worth remembering that he got an award for it), and had our eyes scratched at by the legion of Lily Allen followers. In such circumstances it's no surprise that the likes of Lady Gaga, an exceptionally well-pulled off record company construct of everything supposedly transgressive has grabbed the front pages and notched up massive sales with more than a few thrusts of her unbearably tedious (not turgid, note) crotch.

"The whole message with [Adele] is that it's just music, it's just really good music," said Russell. "There is nothing else. There are no gimmicks, no selling of sexuality. I think in the American market, particularly, they have come to the conclusion that is what you have to do."

Here it all comes crashing down. Adele is not really good music: if anything, she's the female equivalent of Take That. Completely unchallenging, functional, tinged with just enough authenticity, she is the sound of bourgeois conformity. It's only because the alternative, be it Katy Perry, Rihannia or even Jessie J is so crass and depressing that her success has become so disproportionate.

Russell dismissed criticism that Adele is too mainstream, saying she was as radical as the Prodigy, who he worked with in the 1990s. "At the level it is at now, it is radical," he said. "It is clearly about the music and the talent and the things it is meant to be about. I think there has been a certain amount of confusion, and it's resulting in garbage being sold and marketing with little real value to it ... Adele is a good thing to be happening."

Hmm, Someone Like You or Firestarter: which getting to number one was more radical? It's also unlikely that Liam Howlett or Keith Flint have ever moaned about their tax bill in an interview. Adele can however be saved from herself, if only by Jamie XX:


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