Column: Adventures in Pop Music

Lou Kishfy of the Providence blog Salad Fork discusses his adventures in dance clubs and the interaction between pop and independent music.


Crazed dancer and ocean engineer Lou Kishfy of the Providence blog Salad Fork discusses his adventures in dance clubs and the interaction between pop and independent music.

Within the past few months I’ve started listening to a lot of pop music. It pretty much all started with Rihanna—I find her to be very seductive. After watching her music video for “We Found Love,” I fell in love with the Trainspotting-esque video, her eyes, and the song. Most pop songs I take with a grain of salt. Lyrically they tend to be unimaginative and very literal. Production-wise they are excellent for dancing; occasionally I will hear songs that sound like they were made for clubs to play.

If you read my tweets, you might have been able to deduce that I spend my weekends at the top 40 clubs in Rhode Island. While my fascination with pop music began with Rihanna, my experiences at the club served as a catalyst to my ultimate fixation with the genre.

Many of my friends say to me: “Lou, I am surprised you go to the clubs. I didn’t think that’d be your type of thing.” I then respond by explaining my passion for dancing. I like the concept of being able to go out, maybe have a couple Bud Lights, and then go hard on the dance floor until close—it’s good exercise. After I racked up a few weekends at the club, my radio station presets have changed from talk radio to HOT106 and 92PROFM. From now on, hearing Carly Rae Jepsen or Katy Perry on the radio would serve as a reminder of these intense, euphoric nights dancing with beautiful women.

Here is a photo of me dancing with a pretty cute girl at a club:

If you look closely you can see a raver next to me. I remember thinking it was weird that a raver was at this club. He seemed out of place. In fact, I believe he was the only person there that had LED accessories. After spending a couple of hours thinking about the existence of the raver at the club while drinking some French press coffee the next morning, it occurred to me that this is what makes the club so beautiful. Pop music is meant to be a universal experience, so really this raver symbolizes the reach that pop music can have on all types of people.

In addition, a benefit that comes with pop music is that we get to experience high-budget music videos, for example anything Kanye West puts out, most notably his 35-minute short film for “Runaway”:

Wow—what an excellent short film. To me, this music video is the pinnacle of music videos. If I were a director/producer for indie music videos, I would make ~10-minute short films out of all the tracks I’m making videos for. The closest indie music has gotten to this goal was the music video made for Best Coast’s track “Our Deal,” which was based on the epic musical titled West Side Story.

Britney Spears also tends to put out some very sharp looking music videos, such as this one for her track “Til The World Ends”:

As you can tell, this music video is very literal—it is about dancing until the world ends. In case you are wondering, the clubs I go to do not have a sewer/Matrix rave aesthetic. After watching this video, I have determined that Britney Spears is probably not someone I would want to hang out with. I like to hang out with people that shower, not dance with people surrounded by fecal matter.

It’s important to note that just because an artist has a lot of money does not mean that their fans will like it. For example, the video for Nicki Minaj’s track “Stupid Hoe” received many dislikes on YouTube:

Personally, I can’t help but disagree with these YouTube users. I think this video is art.

In general, as a music listener, I enjoy music that triggers emotions and memories—I am partial to music that will nestle within the respective parts of my cerebrum. While I appreciate songs that remind me of scenes from films I’ve watched or are simply creative and well executed, the feeling of sentiment that comes with nostalgia tends to trump all of that.

When I heard a Lightning Bolt record for the first time, I just didn’t get it. It wasn’t until I experienced a Lightning Bolt show at a warehouse in Providence that I understood their noisy, tribal sound. After revisiting the record, I couldn’t help but reminisce of being tossed around in a sea of bodies, witnessing people drop from the ceiling into the crowd as if they were raindrops colliding with the earth. While this is a completely different experience from that spent at the club, they both were experiences that allowed me to create an association to link music to.

I feel like there aren’t many like me who dabble between both warehouse shows at undisclosed locations and top 40 clubs, as these places bring out types of people that are usually polar opposites of each other. With that said, I believe a person’s choice of experiences should not be limited to what “scene” you think you fit in—as Drake says, “You only live once.”

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