Derailing the Teleology of Smooch

By: Mike Powell

Posted 01/30/2006 - 10:37:57 AM by bassman08:
 Crazy. While you guys have this article up, Pitchfork has one about the "nu-girl-group revival." You didn't plan this out or anything, did you?
Posted 01/30/2006 - 10:44:18 AM by ckramer:
 they call each other beforehand to cordinate their outfits and decide who can eat lunch at their table.
Posted 01/30/2006 - 12:53:57 PM by Finn__:
 "The central issue—again, whether the girl group era was more than just a crock of stamped out pap" -- To whom is this an issue? "Manufactured", "processed", "stamped-out" pop music has been a vast source of great music for decades now, and with no less concentration of quality than any outlying independents. Where are you people coming from. Music does not aspire to the condition of Antony & The Johnsons.
Posted 01/30/2006 - 12:59:42 PM by mikepowell:
 Finn__, totally agree with you - I love Antony and the girl groups equally - but I think that if you start just by sifting through the comments on Stylus of our "pop" reviews, you'd find that there are still a lot of people that are pretty hostile to the mere *idea* of "processed" music.
Posted 01/31/2006 - 09:11:43 AM by wmdavidson:
 "Derailing the Teleology of Smooch"? I've got a "theme week" for you-- "Articles Written in English."
Posted 02/01/2006 - 07:53:50 AM by vinegar:
 Long words are words too! Don't be hating on them. Look them up.
Posted 02/01/2006 - 09:44:43 AM by wmdavidson:
 Vinegar, it's not long words I object to; it's the obscure, windy phrasing. I know what teleology means, but what is "teleology of smooch" and what does it mean to "derail" that? It's the title of the article, it should be snappy, concise, and eye-catching. There's no reason to force people to pause to puzzle out multiple mixed metaphors in the article's *title*. Just my two cents.
Posted 02/01/2006 - 11:30:26 PM by Hone_Heke:
Posted 02/01/2006 - 11:41:19 PM by Hone_Heke:
 Weird dream I just had. I love these kinds of threads. I`m up with wmdavidson on this one. The title is just bloody awful innit? It`s sounds meaningless, it`s not poetry & it confabulates off the tongue like broken glass when you say it out loud. However, I rejoin - Stylus have a history of awful titles, that are now an integral & idiosyncratic part of their image. Check "Riding the Breadcrumb Trail to Glasnost" or "Two Punch-ins and a Touch of Froth". ??? Still, flying in the face of headline convention (short snappy) has to be applauded. It`s their idiosyncratic thing man. You gotta love it.
Posted 02/02/2006 - 12:07:34 AM by mikepowell:
 I really really sincerely hope that at least some of you didn't let the title totally stop you from reading the article...
Posted 02/02/2006 - 03:48:31 AM by vinegar:
 So what did you think of 'Fingerpaint the entire classroom'? :-S
Posted 02/02/2006 - 06:24:56 PM by pabanks46:
 I agree with Mike. Many of the people that (rightfully) bashed the Ten Worst... story last week as vapid should be behind articles like this. This article, along with the '50s rock history story, Stycasts, etc., is what keeps Stylus a must-read for me.

And I like the title. pwned
Posted 02/02/2006 - 07:29:25 PM by allison1:
 I have to ask where this groundswell of interest in girl groups comes from- was it the box set? What stirred this to the top (to share the spotlight with the No, We Like Metal For Serious trend)? "Be My Baby" sticks in my memory alongside "Home Alone," by which I mean it could have remained happily lodged in a goofy past. Questions ill-defined but vexing.
Posted 02/02/2006 - 07:29:57 PM by allison1:
 P.S. great article
Posted 02/02/2006 - 09:09:43 PM by :
 There`s a relatively new & interesting psychological phenomenon known as either "authority associating" or "authority masquerading" or some even say "disassociative masquerading", used to term the condition you often experience in online encounters for those who take on the anonymous personalities of others. And so, as much as I`d like to comment on this article, I can`t because I`m too conscious of the fact that the commenter known as "mikepowell" is not the same as the person who wrote the article, & I don`t wish to engage my thoughts with a phantom headcase. To illustrate, perhaps I could set up several Stylus login names for myself such as "michaelpowell", "mpowell" "MikeP" or any writer for that matter, & attempt to engage readers on the relevance of `my` articles.
Posted 02/03/2006 - 11:56:58 AM by allison1:
 actually, my name is allison
Posted 02/03/2006 - 12:54:30 PM by mikepowell:
 The-Disexists, this is getting kinda like a P.K. Dick novel; seriously, I'm Mike Powell, I wrote this article, I spent a lot of time and energy on it, and I really *do* want to stimulate discussion about it/find out what people thought. Is that really difficult to believe? Weird... allison, I've liked girl group stuff for a while, but as I sorta mention in passing, it was Cober-Lake's thing that reignited my thoughts, but the fact that it coincided with the release of the box set gave me a lot more to think about.
Posted 02/03/2006 - 02:50:12 PM by carlamudpie:
 i enjoyed the article, and how it was brought around to Love, and your knowledge of some individual songs. one thing i don't know... was phil spector always known as a madman (as in scary mad) or is it recent hindsight (murder info)? i felt like you were just getting into your discussion by the way, and suddenly there was a mix list. i guess i would have been interested in reading a couple more pages on the topic. i must admit, despite my fan-dom for your writing, the title is off-putting (and i do love my oed).
Posted 02/03/2006 - 02:53:21 PM by Amandalucia:
 I would like to post another vote for a title rewrite. I felt hostile before I even started reading the article, which was quite good, if not a little overlong. You don't want to lose readers before they even get into the website itself. Seriously.
Posted 02/04/2006 - 12:49:39 AM by Hone_Heke:
 Oh man all this talk about the title has built a high-speed bullet train bypass straight through my curiosity. And all I can do now is to raise a mindowner`s objection with placards of questioning analysis; a dreary project this fragile Saturday afternoon. Firstly I`m gonna entangle myself within what the title could mean, & then secondly, dream up some flawed allegory paralleling the title with the article. Part One. Confession: I have to check dictionary to get my head around `teleology`. Woah dudes! Two freakin` definitions. 1. the doctrine that the existence of phenomena may be explained with reference to the purpose they serve. 2. the doctrine that there is evidence of design and purpose in the natural world. The first is philosophical, the second theosophical. So looking through my windowy idea of the word `smooch` I find that it`s a way of referring to other people kissing & cuddling, perhaps with the tiniest touch of what… superciliousness? …envy? I`m not sure, but I feel vaguely aware that when you say people are smooching, there`s a sort of brush-off there. It`s a kinda out-of-date word that our parents probably used. Ok, so let`s see here…`Smooch` serves a purpose then to describe other people`s amour in bygone days. So when you mingle the broad nucleic definitions of teleology and smooch what the hell do you get? Sheezus, give us a minute. That other people`s amour is a phenomena only observable via looking at the purpose it serves…which is surely procreation? That smooch is the evidence of an extra-purpose designed to perpetuate the human species? Cool! Now let`s imagine that whole concept is like an apple cart hurtling down some train track and Powell is going to upset it for us; derailment. Sploosh, apples everywhere. __________. Part Two. The apple-cation of the title to the article. I can only assume `smooch` is the word chosen to represent `girl groups singing songs about love gone good or bad. 60s amour from the female voice if not always an entirely female perspective.` And therefore the Teleology of Smooch comes to represent a fairly generic notion of this whole phenomena of girl groups singing about love gone good or bad, which is the phenomena of a particular brand of pop, & what purpose that pop serves, which is surely to get us feeling good, leading inevitably to getting us laid. And how does Powell derail that? In all sorts of ways I guess. The simplest being “here`s an article that challenges what you always thought about girl groups.” A more complex one could be “it`s not all lovey dovey pap, but rather the opposite;the break-up, the missed opportunity for procreation, & thus the phenomena`s purpose failing.” Yuh, cool, the mashing up of strange words man. Here`s my own one. “Unwinching the Dichotomy of Ruse”.
Posted 02/04/2006 - 02:11:40 PM by ckramer:
 hey, that mixtape looks good. thanks for including the allmighty chantels. that's also an interesting song to think about in relation to what you say in your article, b/c arlene wrote that song. course her voice could make you feel anything. in the circles i run, as a 20yr. male, the girls groups are sincerely love by many if not most music fans. maybe it's a generational thing....
Posted 02/04/2006 - 11:53:34 PM by spikedcandy:
 thank you for this brilliant article, it hits the nail on the head about the appeal of this music. and i really appreciate your deconstruction of the typical attitudes to this music - being clouded by blind nostalgia, or the unfair notion that these women simply represent a subordinate past. those perpetuating the latter are guiltier of misogyny than (most of) the music - by ignoring the strength the vocalists emote or the intelligence of their interpretation (a part of the singer's role that's often underestimated), or by underplaying the input of the female songwriters.
Posted 02/04/2006 - 11:57:31 PM by spikedcandy:
 that pitchfork article is horrific, by the way...
Posted 02/23/2006 - 10:26:42 AM by RoqueStrew: