Next month,singer/violinist [and magical indie bishonen] Owen Pallett will release his fourth album, In Conflict. He's already released a couple of singles online, and he is currently on tour with Arcade Fire. But what has brought him the most buzz recently were a trio of articles appreciating mainstream pop music using the language of music theory. The reaction, Pallett explains in a new Exclaim! interview, has been divided.
"It's been interesting to kind of pick up on people's reading level. I think most musicians intuitively grasp that the pieces are absurd," he says of his articles, which tackled such subjects as Lady Gaga and Katy Perry. "Those pieces were meant to send up the notion that those pieces should exist."
"I have incredible frustrations with some of my oldest friends and musicians who are very close to me, where I'm like 'I can't believe you would immediately dismiss Sky Ferreira because she's done heroin,' for example. That makes my head explode. These people would certainly have no problem with their Elliott Smith records."
About Katy Perry's Teenage Dream, Owen swooned,
"there is no doubt: Katy’s voice is “home”; the rest of the song is oscillating around her", but
his own recent middle-aged dream of a video is a bit more somber.
"There were a lot of people who were like, 'Why's he using the word 'genius' to describe this music when obviously these musicians are not genius?' Then on the flipside, there were people saying, 'Finally, people are writing about music the way it should be written about.' My intention wasn't to create those responses, but those were the responses.
That's actually what I hear when I listen to those pop singles. I hear mechanical ingenuity. This is the result of dealing with music in written, scored form. It wasn't at all a sarcastic exercise, but it was meant to be an absurd one."
Pallett says he doesn't view "any music as being more or less valuable," though he admits he's taking "a bit of a devil's advocate stance" when he argues with friends that Lady Gaga is as much or more of a genius than Mozart was. He adds that "it boggles my mind that people still love music and hate music on the terms that they do."
When not making pop queens sound smart, Owen Pallett has a string of solo shows coming up, and you can find the Canadian dates here, or see a complete list at his incredibly irritating website. [You click the blob to move it to a different part of the page. Seriously Owen, is that shit supposed to be cute?]