Ever since reading Cory Arcangel’s op-ed piece for the summer issue of Artforum, I have been thinking about his analysis of quoting and appropriation in pop music. Hasn’t this always been the case in both music and art? It is interesting and curious that various strains of trance musics have entered the vernacular of American mainsteam pop, but besides that, is this really anything that new? It’s interesting to hear this observation coming from him, seeing as Arcangel himself has been propelled into Art-Stardom over the past few years, basically for the same type of practice–appropriation of pop elements. In a way, the editorial draws a parallel between himself and Lady Gaga, Britney Spears and others. (Or at least the producers responsible for constructing their sound)

Some quotes from the article:
“Crucially, what we hear in many recent US singles is not an exact copy of Euro-trance but rather a distorted or Photoshopped 2011 version of what we remember Euro-trance to have been. History is not really advancing: It’s the act of upgrading to an iPhone 4 that gives us pleasure, not our having arrived anywhere useful. When we hear Britney making Euro-trance we are hearing the illusion of progress.”

“The cultural phenomenon that is Lady Gaga is easily decoded when explained by her emergence in tandem with the US market’s embrace of Euro-trance—which, to my mind, has come about for several reasons. Such music had little presence in the US mainstream for some twenty years (with the brief exception of Cher’s 1998 single “Believe”) and so sounds new to a large audience.”

“The most frequent criticism of Gaga is that her music sounds like everything else—often extraordinarily or eerily so. I would argue that this is exactly the point. We live in an age of quotation, appropriation, recycling, and repetition. Gaga’s music does sound like Ace of Base, Alice Deejay (whose “Better Off Alone” is in my opinion the high point of classic Euro-trance), Madonna, and countless others. After all, there is no reason pop music needs four beats to a measure, a verse and chorus, or any of the structures we associate with it: Taste is all that—however directionlessly—guides the eternal development of such structures, so each slight variation or recontextualization has the potential to be met with mass acclaim. If only everything could be, as Britney puts it in her newest single, “Till the World Ends,” “sicker than the remix.”