Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Cameo are a Funk/R&B group from New York which formed in 1974 but enjoyed their greatest period of success throughout the 1980s.
During the 1980s there was a change in music genres as music reviewer Alex Henderson describes, “Having a killer horn section was something that a lot of 1970s funk outfits prided themselves on, and it was no fun when, in the 1980s, they were told that their horns sound dated and that urban contemporary audiences only wanted to hear synthesizers, sequencers, and drum machines.” Due to Cameo changing their sound in order to cater for this new type of music, they became pioneers of the genre, while still retaining aspects of popular music in previous decades. They released tracks which featured highly in the general charts as well as becoming dance hits such as word up, candy, she’s strange and back and forth. By becoming staples of the dance scene, Cameo represented the section of 1980s youth which wanted to go out and party every night.
Cameo were a very eccentric group, with their videos regularly featuring comedy elements, such as mad dancing, bizarre fashion and celebrity cameos. They also lightly mocked other popular music genres at the time such as rap. As a result the group seemed to have developed a “don’t care” attitude which was reflected in their songs,repeating points about doing what you want and not caring what anyone else thought. Cameo therefore relates to the youth culture of 1980s, where doing what you want and partying regularly was the goal, linking to the attitude of the characters in Less Than Zero.
The second video I’ve chosen to represent the contemporary is a moment like this by Kelly Clarkson which was her first single after winning the first season of American idol in 2002. I’ve chosen this video as it represents the growing trend of talent shows which are now hugely popular and now take place annually all over the world, looking for ranges of talent, music, dance etc. In regards to American music, there have been many programmes all featuring a similar format, with American Idol featuring a series every year since 2002 and new shows such as the Voice and American X Factor debuting in 2011. These types of shows have therefore dominated both the television schedule and news headlines of recent years and as a result define this period of America. It also represents the commercialism of present day American society, in which everything is done to make a profit, be it in several music contests every year in order to find that one big money making star, or in the financial markets which could lead to negative consequences such as the recent recession.